In children’s football – down the park, rush goalie, jumpers for goalposts, isn’t it? Mmm, marvellous – it was a common occurrence for aggrieved players to threaten to go home mid-match, often taking their ball with them, prompting chaos.
But as footballers grow older, they mature. They realise that downing tools and having a tantrum at the first sign of perceived injustice is not a sustainable strategy in the adult world because it simply makes you look silly.
All footballers, that is, except Cristiano Ronaldo, who appears to be moving in the opposite direction and regressing further into childishness each day.
Having already threatened to leave Real Madrid once this summer, because he was unhappy at being accused of tax evasion, CR7 has reportedly thrown his toys out of the pram again – this time in response to being hit with a five-game suspension for pushing a referee.
It is in many ways a ridiculous claim, but then Ronaldo is in many ways a ridiculous man. And the fact this comes from bona fide newspaper El Pais – rather than, for instance, online fantasy factory Don Balon – lends it a certain extra gravitas.
Of course, there’s not much point reporting that Ronaldo might leave Real Madrid if you can’t engage in some meaningless speculation about who might buy him, and thankfully the Mirror are happy to oblige.
The paper adds that news of Cristiano’s unhappiness has put Manchester United “on red alert”. Thanks for that guys, too kind.
Not to be outdone, the Sun claims to have some “exclusive” news about Lionel Messi’s potential departure from Barcelona. According to some of the tabloid’s so-called “sources”, the Argentine’s dad Jorge has spoken to Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain about his son making a “sensational” move to the Etihad.
The transfer would probably have to happen next summer though, which is a bit boring. Although Barca will take any positive news they can get at the moment. The wobbly Catalan giants are still struggling to spend the £200m they received for Neymar, with the latest man linked with a move to the Nou Camp being Chelsea’s Willian.
The Times says the Blues are “braced for an approach” for their Brazilian midfielder, who is not officially for sale although he might be if Chelsea are offered the kind of silly money that has been bandied about for Barca’s other targets.
The Blues are also trying to sign Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for £35m (Telegraph) and Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater for £32m (Sun). So nothing new there, except a slight adjustment to the price tags.
Elsewhere, Liverpool face competition from Juventus in the race to sign Schalke’s German international defender Benedikt Howedes (Mirror), Paris Saint-Germain want to sign Napoli’s former Reds goalkeeper Pepe Reina (AS) and former Man City striker Stefan Jovetic has rejected the chance to join Brighton from Internazionale (Talksport). Doesn’t he know it’s the only town in Britain with a Grade I listed pier, the ignorant clown?