Euro 2016: Austrian fans chanted Lionel Messi's name every time Cristiano Ronaldo missed
The 31-year-old missed a crucial penalty late in the game as Portugal endured a frustrating game
The Austrian fans clearly know how to put the phrase ‘Rubbing salt into the wounds’ to good use. Cristiano Ronaldo had the worst possible start to last night’s match against Austria. His eyes lit up when the left back Guerreiro put it on a plate for one of signature side-foot finishes.
Usually, he would bury chances like that all day but this time to the shock of everyone he flashed it wide of the post. The Austrian fans must have sensed something and started chanting the name ‘Messi Messi’ at Ronaldo after that miss.
The Portuguese continued to miss chances and his usual accurate and power packed efforts were skewed wide and each time he missed, he had to endure the name of his arch rival bellowed by a thousand supporters while he walked back to his position on the field.
Ronaldo is very experienced and is used to all kinds of abuse from crowds so it surely must not have affected him as much but as the game wore on you couldn't help but notice his team’s desperation from their body language alone.
The forward two of Nani and Ronaldo continued to press forward as their teammates did their best to provide the quality service they needed. At some point, something had to give and in the 78th minute it finally did.
The Portuguese captain was fouled in the box and the referee pointed to the spot without any hesitation. Was this the moment the stadium, the staff and the players were waiting for? The crowd got up to their feet in anticipation.
The atmosphere smelled of victory as Cristiano stepped up to take it. But the script had already been ripped apart before the match had begun and Portugal’s evening of frustration got it’s sad ending as Ronaldo hit the base of the left post, and the crowd once again erupted in chants of ‘Messi Messi’.
Disbelief among the Portuguese was profound but understandable. They never thought that cometh the moment of truth one of the best players in the world would fail them. But Ronaldo is human after all despite his 100% record in penalties at major international tournaments until that point.
Now the world’s eyes will once again be on the man they expect so much off. But maybe this is exactly the kind of situation Ronaldo would thrive in. It’s a do or die game and who better than Cristiano Ronaldo to pull your team through!