There are two things constant in football at the highest stage: money and ego. And only one of the two is a matter of talent, the other being a test of how megalomaniacal the stardom and fame can make you. The biggest of ego clashes have given us insights in to the dirty underbelly of football at the grandest of stages, and when these ugly monsters rear their heads, only a few can survive their fury. Here’s a look at three of the most egotistical players to have graced our televisions today.
Ronaldo obviously tops the list. He earns a gazillion units of money in football and modelling. He is arguably the best player today, but he still manages to be ‘sad’. He outscored everyone but Lionel Messi last season, totalling 60 goals across competitions, and that is too less for the lad. We cannot doubt the player’s commitment and his skill is a feast for the eyes, but Ronaldo certainly needs to lay off the occasional tantrum.
His diving is hilarious and the intrepid wink at the World Cup was a disgrace to anyone who enjoys football. An attitude to boot, Ronaldo’s manicured nails look to be his topmost priority and everything else takes a backseat. A movie star at his worst, Cristiano Ronaldo puts Hollywood actresses to shame.
2. Nicklas Bendtner
The self-proclaimed ‘best striker in the world’ is anything but. The Dane may have finished a few, but certainly needs a friend or two to sit him down and explain the concept of superlatives. Back at Arsenal, the striker wanted top buck, start every game, play every minute and never leave the team sheet. He was promptly shipped off to Sunderland and then to Juventus who were apparently interested in an option to buy post the end of his loan tenure.
Word is, his £52,000 a week, that he also chose to adorn his shirt with came when Arsene Wenger was desperate to find a star striker. Far from a star striker, Nikki B managed a total of 8 goals in 40 matches across competitions from 2009 to 2011. Certainly not the best in the world, that.
Picking up right from where Ronaldo left off, inclusive of his tantrums and the horrendous play-acting diving maneuvers. A gifted winger, Nani keeps proving the critics right with his falls in the penalty area with no one in sight. His finger jabbing and card waving also isn’t a sight to enjoy. The occasional ‘I-think-I-got-shot’ fall does help bring a chuckle or two but that’s about it. A player with pace and almost as many tricks as Ronaldo can certainly do better than simply playing for a foul.
Even against the clearly harmless Galatasaray, where only Eboue seemed a threat to Manchester United, Nani quickly scrambled across to the ball when a penalty was awarded. A stumble or two in the run-up to the penalty didn’t really spook the goalkeeper, but the resulting low shot at the diving player was embarrassing, especially when they needed to add to the one goal. Van Persie could have netted it in a blink of an eye, being the designated taker, but Nani wanted to probably get on the scoreboard and probably eat a bit of footage.