Cristiano Ronaldo has made a decision that could change the entire sport as we know it. And Liverpool’s referee ‘wrath’ could return soon.
It’s a kind of magic
The Sun‘s Neil Custis on Cristiano Ronaldo, February 13: ‘The problem, though, is that when the ball is at his feet, or on his head, there is no magic any more, it has all gone.’
The Sun’s Neil Custis on Cristiano Ronaldo, February 16: ‘There is still a sprinkling of magic left in those feet of Ronaldo’s as he completely changed the mood in Old Trafford with a goal six minutes after the restart.’
Reader, it had not ‘all gone’.
From ‘no magic’ to ‘a sprinkling’ in three days. Give it a couple of months and Ronaldo will be scoring hat-tricks every week again, while Custis flip-flops back to where he began.
Celebrate good times, come on
Ronaldo is, of course, the obvious talking point coming out of Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Brighton. No problems there. And this lot really have their finger on the pulse:
‘Cristiano Ronaldo ditches iconic ‘Siu’ celebration after breaking Man Utd goal drought with stunner against Brighton’ – The Sun website, who painstakingly explain how he ‘immediately sprinted over to the Manchester United fans in the corner, but instead of doing his trademark celebration he opted to slide on his knees. He then got back to his feet before punching the air.’
Thank you for describing a goal celebration.
‘Cristiano Ronaldo ditches SIU celebration as Man Utd star ends goal drought vs Brighton’ – Daily Express website, who go into similarly forensic detail on how ‘the former Real Madrid star sprinted towards the corner flag in celebration and uncharacteristically slid on his knees before getting to his feet and punching the air.’
They also add this flourish, perhaps the greatest line ever committed to journalism of any kind:
‘Ronaldo has become known for his SIU celebration where he spins in the air and throws his arms out to the side while shouting “SIU”.’
Stop saying SIU.
But back to business with the Daily Star website and their ‘Cristiano Ronaldo branded the ‘Portuguese Ade Akinbiyi’ after ditching Siu celebration’ headline, which takes inspiration from this viral tweet:
Ronaldo was under immense pressure that he forgot to do the ‘SIU’. Relief for the Portuguese Ade Akinbiyi.
— Don Abel (@zhorze) February 16, 2022
Look at those interactions. No wonder they couldn’t resist basing an entire story around it.
The MailOnline go for the snappy ‘Cristiano Ronaldo DITCHES customary ‘SIUU’ celebration after the Manchester United star finally ends his six-game goal drought with a stunning strike in the victory over Brighton’. Textbook.
Completing the set is the Daily Mirror website, whose top story on Wednesday morning, after two intriguing Champions League last-16 ties, was, ‘MOMENTS YOU MISSED! Ronaldo unveils new celebration and De Gea again proves vital’.
It would be nice if we were allowed to MISS such a crucial moment in peace.
There is a general reluctance to credit Manchester United too much for beating a Brighton side that held Liverpool and Chelsea to home draws this season. Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail says the Seagulls ‘simply imploded’ after ‘two quick acts of self-sabotage’ that ‘gave away the game’.
He does not mention that those ‘two quick acts of self-sabotage’ were a direct result of Manchester United’s effective counter-pressing. Brighton ‘simply imploded’, you see?
Ladyman goes on to write that ‘United are a poor side under Rangnick. They have no identity. The things the German said he would do when he arrived have proved beyond him’.
It’s almost as if eight years of mismanagement on and off the pitch cannot be undone in three interim months. Also, they were seventh on the morning of his first game in charge and are now fourth, while he has lost once in 14 matches. It’s hardly a catastrophe.
‘It is a game for the ages,’ begins David Maddock in the Daily Mirror, ‘a clash of two of the biggest footballing cultures down the generations, and two of the most iconic cities in the sport.
‘So who better to offer an expert assessment of the key areas where Inter Milan v Liverpool in the Champions League will be won and lost, than Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o?’
Loads of people. Literally loads of them. What a strange question.
Except no, because this is a man who ‘knows the strengths and weaknesses of Italian and English football inside out’, who enjoyed immense success with Inter Milan and ‘also played on Merseyside’. Not for Liverpool, which seems pertinent in this situation. But still.
His ‘expert assessment’ includes naming Virgil van Dijk as ‘one of the best defenders in the Champions League’, telling us that Sadio Mane is ‘hungry for more trophies’ and identifying that Edin Dzeko is ‘very strong in the air’.
Who better indeed.
What the ref?
‘STUART ATTWELL is to referee the Carabao Cup final,’ Charlie Wyett reveals in The Sun. ‘And Liverpool fans will not exactly be celebrating.’
Has any supporter of any club ever ‘celebrated’ the appointment of a particular referee?
‘The whistler from Nuneaton has been involved in controversy this season.’
Phenomenal second mention. And he is a referee – of course he ‘has been involved in controversy this season’.
But it is one particular instance which Wyett believes makes this newsworthy. Attwell ’caused disbelief at Anfield in December when he turned down THREE penalty shouts in the opening 45 minutes against Aston Villa’.
‘Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and assistant Pepijn Lijnders vented their frustrations on the touchline,’ he continues, as if that will be a factor in a different game in a different competition almost three months later.
‘And Liverpool defender Andy Robertson also made his feelings known.
‘Even Fabinho’s wife, Rebeca Tavares, wrote on social media: “Come on REF, are you here?”.’
All of this in a story with this headline on their website: ‘Stuart Attwell to referee Carabao Cup final despite feeling wrath of Liverpool boss, players and their Wags this season’.
That ‘despite’ is doing a lot of heavy carrying. And Mediawatch is aware it’s shouting into the void with this, but ‘Wags’ is an awful enough term already, let alone when describing literally one person.
‘Lionel Messi matches unwanted record after PSG failure in last-gasp Real Madrid win’ is an eye-catching Daily Mirror website headline about the Argentinean’s saved penalty against Real Madrid. As we are told…
‘That means he draws level with Thierry Henry for the most missed spot-kicks – a record that the mercurial superstar would not want on his mantle.’
First off, Lionel Messi is many, many things, but he might well be the opposite of ‘mercurial’. Secondly, he has also taken more penalties than any player in Champions League history, so is statistically more likely to have missed a few. Thirdly, Mediawatch sincerely doubts he either will or can put that non-existent shared record ‘on his mantle’.