Portugal’s exceptional performance in last night’s Euro 2016 championship game with Hungary was only slightly marred by an outburst of pique by its captain and star Cristiano Ronaldo hours earlier when he threw a journalist’s microphone into a lake.
The split-second incident that could so easily have been missed by many of the crowds watching the Portuguese team as it took an early morning walk before the game was beamed across the world – depicting Ronaldo as truly in the doldrums over Portugal’s (up until then) ‘lack-lustre’ performance.
The paper whose journalist lost his €292 cordless microphone has suggested Ronaldo’s reaction was to an innocent question: “Was the team ready for the match?”
But it was much more than that. Ronaldo has had a long-running ‘feud’ with national tabloid Correio da Manhã – in a way that many VIPs, politicians and personalities have had, or still have – and its TV channel reporter’s question came hours after media references to the footballer’s late father’s alcoholism.
Thus many who saw the 31-year-old athlete grab the microphone and hurl it into the lake beside which the team was walking will feel he had due cause.
This is just as well as this morning CM seems to be saying that the star who scored two of yesterday’s qualifying goals – bringing Portugal spectacularly ‘back from the brink’ – “will have to explain his attitude before a court”.
According to Henrique Pires Teixeira, president of Portugal’s journalists’ union, Ronaldo’s perfunctory dispatch of CMTV’s microphone was “a crime against the liberty of information”.
Whether any court of law will think the same is debatable. The “crime” took place on French soil, and with everything else that is going on, a complaint lodged by a Portuguese media station against a fellow countryman who is battling to save national pride may not be taken very seriously.