Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FIFA Blind Spot Shows Ronaldo Only Wants to Focus on Himself

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FIFA Blind Spot Shows Ronaldo Only Wants to Focus on Himself

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

ON A SCALE of 'one' to 'get me out of the building by the nearest high window', how much do you care about FIFA? If you like football even a bit, I think it stands to reason that you should care quite a lot.

I do not say you must like or approve of FIFA. In any case, I doubt you do, unless you happen to be mad, blind, corrupt or Vladimir Putin. But if you love football, then you must surely have reasonably strong feelings about the body that purport to govern it on a global level.

They may be an institutional trainwreck but FIFA control and represent the game. They organise the World Cup. In a sense they set the moral character or not of the biggest sport on earth. In other words, FIFA matter, if only because their state of dysfunction ought to be a source of shame and anger to anyone who wishes the game well.

Having said that, I realise not everyone is free to go around caring about FIFA full-time. Money's tight. The Tube drivers are striking again. Cecil the Lion remains an ex-lion.

Even I will admit that there have been times in the last month where the state of FIFA has fallen briefly down my list of nagging concerns: relegated below things like "I can't believe I had a dream in which I killed and ate Justin Bieber" and "why have we run out of curly kale?" All of which brings us, somewhat indirectly, to Cristiano Ronaldo because the self-assessed best player in the world quite literally couldn't care less about FIFA. This week, when asked for his thoughts during an interview to promote a range of headphones he has launched, Real Madrid's part-man, part-Mattel doll got straight to the point.

"Speak about FIFA?" he said, with the incredulous air of someone who had turned up to discuss football boots but had instead been asked to smell the interviewer's worst fart, or explain the precise meaning of the final episode of the Sopranos. "This is bulls**t I don't care about FIFA. Qatar? I don't give a f**k" Now, it is fair to say that football has done alright by Ronaldo. He is one of the most celebrated sportsmen on earth. The last Forbes list made him the third-richest athlete behind Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao; reports suggest that he just bought his longtime agent Jorge Mendes a Greek island as a wedding present. …

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