Look, I'm not a bad person. I know that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players to have ever graced this Earth. But I am fully prepared to say that I can't stand him one bit.
His journey from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United is one I remember well. As a young 8 going on 9 year old kid I remember waking up to Match of the Day on Saturday morning and looking on at this curly haired, bronzed, unstylish looking fella. I remember scoffing as they said he would replace David Beckham as Manchester United's new number 7. DB wasn't necessarily my hero, but I just thought 'Who the hell is this kid?'. (YES, I WAS A SASSY 8 YEAR OLD)
Anyway, it's needless to say I was wrong to scoff. He was a tremendous player for United. Simply sublime. But I never caught the Ronaldo bug. Everything about him annoyed me. And still does to this day.
His constant asking for fouls, his constant moaning when a player never passed him the ball, his daft wee faces he pulled when he missed a shot, his stupid run up to the free-kick, the way he takes too many touches, his greediness, his over zealousness, HIS GENERAL GREETING WEE FACE.
I was fully aware that watching Ronaldo, was watching one of the best in the world. But he would never be in my good books.
Allow me to explain why.
Since I was young my Dad and I would watch snooker. We loved it! And still do. Daddy and daughter time consisted mostly of watching Ronnie 'the Rocket' O'Sullivan or the Wizard from Wishaw or Mark Williams The Welsh Wonder or The Golden Boy.
People don't ever really believe me when I say I love snooker. But I was raised on it.
As a treat my Dad would take me to his bus garage to play a couple of rounds. I was so small I could barely see over the table. But I loved it!
You are probably wondering what on earth Cristiano Ronaldo and snooker have in common. To be honest not a lot! However, that being said there is a distinct correlation between the stories my father told me as a child and my distinct dislike for the Portuguese power house.
I mentioned before a snooker player named 'The Golden Boy'.
This snooker player was incomparable. A Scotsman from Edinburgh who goes by the name of Stephen Hendry.
Hendry was the best in the game. The Ice Man; no one could match his nerves of steel. During the 90s, the decade in which I was born, Hendry won seven consecutive World Championships and was named World Number One in 8 years between 1990 - 1998. Hendry is the all-time record holder for the number of ranking titles won (36). He won six Masters (including five consecutively) and five UK Championship titles. His 18 Triple Crown tournament wins is the joint-highest of all time (equaled only by Ronnie O'Sullivan).
Yet the great Hendry was booed everywhere he played.
Hated. Despised. Loathed.
Hendry, like Ronaldo, craved success over everything else.
Hendry, like Ronaldo, was not the people's champion.
And before Hendry there was Steve Davis.
Steve Davis, otherwise known as the Romford Robot. Why was he known as the Romford Robot? Because that's exactly what he was.
Davis was famous for being boring. The only interest he brought to the game was his formidable play. He wasn't a character by any stretch; the man was dull as dishwater.
Davis was another one who won every tournament under the sun. His likeness to Stephen Hendry is uncanny. Or rather Stephen Hendry's likeness to Steve Davis was uncanny as Davis came before Hendry.
During the 80s Davis dominated the sport. He won the World Championship six times and was ranked World Number One for seven consecutive seasons (sound familiar). His career achievements include three Masters and a record six UK Championship titles. He won a total of 28 ranking events (fourth on the all-time list behind Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins and Stephen Hendry).
But just like Hendry and just like Ronaldo, he was booed everywhere he went. From Shanghai to Sheffield the crowds taunted and hissed.
Now, the important part isn't that these great performers were booed. But what is important is that they didn't care. As long as they won, as long as they took their prize money, as long as they got the sponsorship, as long as they lifted the title and claimed the fame then they didn't care a jot.
All three of these performers are mavericks of their sport. They are the best in their field; they can do things that others can't even dream of doing but they WIN EVERYTHING and that is why they will never be loved.
The sportsmen and sportswomen I love are perfectly flawed. They can hit the best shots, see the right pass, land the perfect dart, run the correct play and never win a thing. It is also likely that I will root for them because they have been somewhat deviant. They might have a weakness, or an impurity. They maybe a failure in life the minute they leave their stage.
But I will love them.
I won't love them regardless of their flaws, on the contrary I will love them for their flaws, weaknesses and failures. For me, its just relatable more so than the robotics of a Davis, or a Hendry, or a Ronaldo.
I understand how blessed I am, how blessed we all are, to watch Cristiano Ronaldo play football.
But it's in my nature to root for the people's champion, and he's just not it.
I have always championed the athlete who has failed in life; their name might be splashed all over the tabloids because they've been involved in a bust-up in a local pub, or they've taken drugs, or they've cheated on their significant other. I have respect, love and appreciation for the individual who can admit they have fucked up in life, and in sport, but are completely honest when they say that they are okay with it because they love the sport they do (did) and just to have played to the masses is enough for them.
Its enough for them to go out and entertain and show people what they can do, even if they never win a thing.
Jimmy White is the snooker player that always comes to mind when I think on this because he will always be remembered as the greatest snooker player to have ever lived who never won the World Championship. White was an alcoholic and a drug addict yet he will always be affectionately known as 'The People's Champion'. When the World Championship comes around everyone wants to hear Jimmy White's stories, everyone wants a picture with The Whirlwind and, put simply, he's the guy you want to see on the BBC when the big tournaments are on.
The athletes I adore played not for titles, or fame, or wealth but because there wasn't a single thing on this Earth that they were born to do other than their chosen sport.
And I suppose in a way, maybe Ronaldo was put on this Earth to play football but it almost feels like those external factors (the titles, the fame, the wealth) are so crucially important to him, and that is the exact reason why I can't align myself with this incredible footballer.
Ronaldo is not flawed; he's robotic. In many ways, he is perfect. And it just doesn't float my boat.
Supporter of Glasgow Celtic, member of United Glasgow FC and a keen writer.
"The day that I decided, you're the best team I ever seen"