While I fully intend on talking about the Euro 2012 group stages in their entirety when they’ve run their course, I’ve just got to get in something on Cristiano Ronaldo.
On Sunday he showed us the brilliance that he is capable of. The brilliance that he usually reserves for just club-level play. He showed that he can not only dominate a game for his country, but that he can also do it in the clutch.
When Portugal needed a saviour, there he was.
The Portuguese already needed a positive result against the severely disappointing Netherlands. Then, when the Dutch went ahead on Rafael van der Vaart’s goal, the situation was looking even more dire. But instead of shrinking like many expected him to, CR7 blew us all away.
He was magnificent on the ball, looking every bit as good as his rival for world’s greatest player, Lionel Messi. He scored not one, but two outstanding goals. The first was on a beautiful run behind the Dutch line. The second with some of the amazing footwork that he has been known to dazzle with.
In just 90 minutes time, Cristiano Ronaldo silenced his doubters and stopped the crowds from chanting “Messi, Messi.” Now, he just has to show that this wasn’t a one-time deal. The first stage is over and he carried Portugal out of the Group of Death.
Now, he just has to contend with the pressure of carrying his countrymen through the knockout stages. Then, he would have something that even Messi can’t claim: Success on a huge international stage.
And, for the record, Ronaldo now has two more goals in Euro 2012 than Messi.
Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki