As he walked past, inevitably wearing the type of cologne-billboard gray suit that makes you look like you've just climbed out of a helicopter, which for all I know he had, the crowd stretched out its hands.It was as if Christ had returned, wearing Tom Ford.Work harder, try more, strain the sinews in your neck when you smile.
Twelve years ago, when the world was new and he and Messi were young, it started to become clear what the next era of soccer was going to look like, and you had two choices about how you were going to live in it. If you are one of the six people on earth who chose option (1), congratulations: Please teach me to be a better person. Because I saw him that way, and most people I knew saw him that way, and Anglophone soccer Twitter overwhelmingly saw him that way, I sort of missed the part where hundreds of millions of people developed a passionate connection with him and came to view the world as a fable in which he was good. After Ronaldo's 0 million transferpalooza from Real Madrid to Juventus in July, throngs of fans swarmed his medical evaluation in Turin. The crowd surged forward, everyone desperate for a spot at the front where they might see him, plead for an autograph, catch his eye.
I mean all the stuff we read as egocentrism or vanity -- the clothes, the cars, the yachts, the logo slathered on all he surveys.
Couldn't you see those things as the anxious compensations of someone who can't help trying too hard because he only feels secure when he's the best, is perfect, in everything?
So when Ronaldo moves to your club, you have the normal ecstasy of gaining a new star to root for, yes, but you also have something more. He's not the insouciantly fauxhawked Ferrari-crasher of years past; these days, I'm guessing he spends more time driving his million-euro supercars the speed limit.
You have the sense of a vast and epochal significance settling over your stadium. If you watched him last season, you could almost start to let yourself think he'd lost, not a step, nothing as serious as that, but a fraction of a step, an infinitesimal quasi-step.