The Portuguese midfielder, who was a world record transfer signing by Real in the off-season, was the centre of attention in an unbelievable 10 minutes towards the end of Saturday’s contest.
First, Ronaldo controversially won Real a penalty with scores locked two-all, before failing to convert the kick only for teammate Karim Benzema to score from the rebound.
But rather than celebrate with Benzema, Ronaldo trudged off petulantly in frustration at his missed chance, walking alone back past the halfway mark while his teammates enjoyed the moment with the Bernabeu crowd.
Minutes later, though, Ronaldo got on the scoresheet when he met Gonzalo Higuain’s cross to make it 4-2.
Ronaldo opted to celebrate this time but took it too far when he removed his shirt, which attracted the attention of the referee who brandished a yellow card to the former Manchester United man for the act.
And just moments later, a frustrated Ronaldo had a second yellow card and was off after a tussle and kick with Almeria’s Michel. The Portuguese man had been frustrated all day by shirt tugs and niggly tackles but reacted the wrong way, getting himself sent off.
And while Ronaldo has impressed the locals with his skills and goals since his arrival at the Bernabeu, this display was hardly one to remember.
Interestingly, Ronaldo’s time at Manchester United came to a slightly uneasy end with the midfielder frustrating fans at Old Trafford with some of his behaviour seen as selfish. More displays like this at the Bernabeu, could see him follow a similar path.
Nevertheless after the game, Ronaldo’s Madrid teammate Benzema defended his actions when he told reporters, “He told us he was really sorry in the changing room. It is the type of thing that can happen to anyone.
“Surely he was disappointed for missing the penalty, but he is a great professional and he wants the team to win.”
And Real boss Manuel Pellegrini also came to Ronaldo’s defence, stating, “It wasn’t bad sportsmanship and he doesn’t have a problem with anyone else nor is he selfish.”
But Real striker Higuain saw it differently and revealed, “I saw Cristiano was not celebrating Karim’s goal. It was a great comeback in the middle of a crazy game and we all should be celebrating.”
Ronaldo, himself, fronted the press to claim about his sending-off; “I am human and have my faults too. It was an instinctive reaction and I have apologized to my teammates.”
And he also commented on his non-celebration after Benzema’s goal, revealing, “I am a perfectionist but the good thing was Karim managed to score.”
Nevertheless, whatever way Real want to look at it, Ronaldo’s actions clearly speak louder than their words. It was a petulant and sulky display from Ronaldo which showed him as egocentric rather than a team player.
And Manchester United fans could tell Real Madrid a story or two from past experience and they’ll acknowledge Ronaldo’s attitude needs to be monitored.
For now, though, Ronaldo remains one of the world’s best players and Real are happy to stand by their man.
But have they let him off the hook too lightly and will this be the beginning of the end?