talkSPORT’s Jason Cundy says he feels sorry for Cristiano Ronaldo and urged the critics to make more of an effort to see things from the player’s perspective.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has enjoyed a phenomenal career and is the greatest to ever grace a football pitch in the eyes of many.
But recent months have been very unfamiliar territory for Ronaldo, who struggled for game time at Manchester United.
Since his explosive interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, Ronaldo’s departure from Old Trafford has been announced, meaning he’s without a club while trying to win his native Portugal a first ever World Cup.
Ronaldo was widely criticised for the bombshell comments he made in the interview and has also been slammed for disciplinary issues this season, the standout moment seeing him walking down the tunnel before Man United’s win over Tottenham in October ended.
He was also seen making a swift exit down the tunnel after Portugal’s emphatic win over Switzerland – a match that saw him make a cameo appearance – and also trained with the starting XI the following day instead of with the substitutes.
Few will have sympathy with Ronaldo for his words and actions in recent times, however, Cundy is urging those passing judgment on the 37-year-old to think deeper when analysing what’s looking like the decline of an iconic player.
“There’s a lot that gets said about Ronaldo lately and I think the guy needs a little bit of a break,” Cundy told talkSPORT.
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“In the last eight or nine months this guy has gone through some personal tragedy. He lost his son and I think we need to bear in mind that there’s been a huge amount of change in his life.
“In 49 games for club and country last season he scored 31 goals. They are high numbers.
“Bearing in mind what he’s gone through on a personal level, then on a professional level he’s seen a new manager come into Manchester United in Erik ten Hag, who clearly doesn’t fancy him.
“Ronaldo tried to force a move to a Champions League club in the summer, it didn’t happen and clearly his career is going down a different path now.
“He sees himself differently to the way we see him… he is almost super-human. He’s become the greatest goalscorer ever, no other man has scored in five World Cups, he continues to break records at 37 years of age.
“His body is in pristine condition. He is super-human, he is like Superman finding out that he can’t fly anymore but he believes he can.
“Rightly or wrongly, he sees himself – that’s how he got to the levels he has – as still the top footballer at the highest level. The goals he scored last season is a very good argument for him wondering why he’s not in the team.
“Now he’s starting to see the demise and he can’t recognise it and he’s slightly deluded because he can’t see himself as Ronaldo… he sees himself as the superstar and he still produces those levels.
“We don’t know what it’s like to be Cristiano Ronaldo.”
“Things have changed in his life, he’s never had to deal with this,” Cundy added.
“I think we have to try to understand what he’s going through. He doesn’t see the demise he’s going through.
“I feel sorry for him… I have a lot of sympathy for him.
“I’ve only just come round to this, I genuinely feel this guy still sees himself as the Ronaldo when he was 25, he’s still got the body. It’s like Superman whose lost his cape.
“Everyone’s talking about the demise of Ronaldo. We know that, we can see it with our own eyes but he can’t face it.”
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