It’s hard to feel sorry for Cristiano Ronaldo, but we should.
Lyon, a side who won’t even compete in the competition next season unless they win this one, managed to see off one of Europe’s heavyweights across two legs. Cristiano Ronaldo tried his best, but it wasn’t enough.
He scored two goals, one penalty and one thunderstrike from long range, but his dream of winning the Champions League for a third different side lays in tatters once more. For a man who was brought in to deliver this honour to Turn, that hurts.
Despite the fact that he’s 35-year-old, this man is still at the top of his game. With 31 Serie A goals this season and 130 in the Champions League, Ronaldo needed one more gong to write his name into the history books forever.
This is a player who has given everything in pursuit of his own personal glory. To be operating at such a high level for so long requires determination and a fanatical obsession with personal fitness. Whether you like him or hate him, Ronaldo’s personal attitude deserves praise and his story deserves success.
There are plenty of footballers who have had ability, but not many apply themselves like this former Sporting, Manchester United and Real Madrid legend does. He has 638 career goals, but his goal to win the Champions League with Juventus is yet unfulfilled.
It can be hard to feel sorry for Ronaldo. He comes across as aloof, arrogant. He’s a little bit too good looking to be universally liked, and he knows it. Lionel Messi, by contrast, looks like someone that could be your mate and that humanises him.
But to see someone fall so short, yet again, of one of their desperate aims means we must feel a little sorry for him. Ronaldo, like he has on so many occasions, was a singular force of nature that nearly dragged Juventus across the line by sheer force of will.
This doesn’t happen often, but eventually his will wasn’t enough.