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Ronaldo's Vanity costs him dearly.

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Who could this crying baby be?

Failure to take spot kick will haunt Ronaldo for life.

Surely the best player on show at these Euro 2012 Championships Ronaldo is a show pony who must learn to put the team first if he is ever going to decorate himself in glory.

Could you imagine Lionel Messi putting himself down to take the fifth penalty?

Of course not.

Messi is too much of a team player and has too much humility to even think it.

Character traits that have deserted Ronaldo in his hour of need.

Taking the crowd's adulation was the plan. Gloriously putting away the fifth spot kick to send his team through to the final and sending the crowd and country into raptures of delight was the objective.

But it backfired spectacularly and Ronaldo has learnt a painful lesson.

When Patricio saved the first penalty from Alonso everything was looking good for Portugal and it indeed looked like the gods were smiling on them.

But just like England before them Portugal managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by missing their first penalty.

That first penalty should have been taken by Ronaldo. He is the best dead ball specialist by a country mile in the Portuguese team and it will haunt him for the rest of his life that he never got the opportunity to take a spot kick.

Standing impotent and watching aghast as his dream slipped away Ronaldo must come to terms with the team ethic.

It is frustrating to be blessed with incredible talent and see those around you toiling to come anywhere your standard of ability but this is what separates the truly greats from the not so great.

Having the mental fortitude to accept your team mates fallibilities and make the best of what you have got is what truly great sportsmen and women are able to do.

Unless Ronaldo learns to accept that he needs other people to help him achieve his goals, then he is destined to be remembered as a nearly man.

Someone who had all the talent and ability but not the common sense to put the team first and forsake personal glory for the teams benefit as a whole.

In addition to that thought what must the rest of the Portuguese players be thinking? If Ronaldo had stepped up and taken the first penalty Portugal could well be in the final. Vanity breeds discontent.

Ronaldo is an incredible player with god given athletic ability and talent but his strutting and preening ways mean that he will always cut a joke figure for most football fans and this latest show pony act will only add fuel to the fire.

It is not too late for redemption.

At the World Cup in 1998 a young 23 year old David Beckham was playing right back for England and after scoring a fantastic free kick against Colombia in the group stage, he was included in the starting line-up for the second round game against Colombia.

Beckham was cynically fouled by Diego Simeone and whilst lying prostrate face down on the turf managed to aim a sly kick at the Argentina player and was promptly sent off leaving England to play with ten men and eventually lose the game in a penalty shootout.

Subsequently Beckham was made the prime target for the English media's fury and the Daily Mirror even made a dartboard of Beckham for fans to vent their spleen at his stupidity.

The media over reacted as they often do and Beckham was vilified throughout the land.

When the football season began again in August that year he was roundly booed and was one of the most unpopular figures in the country.

Of course Ronaldo's faux pas is not in the same category as Beckham's but what is interesting is that Beckham then went on to put in one fantastic performance after another for United and by 2000 he was England captain and we all know how successful he has become since that sending off.

Will this be the defining moment in Ronaldo's career? Only he knows how he will react to the disappointment of going out of the competition but if the man has any mettle about him it will only serve to strengthen his character.

If we see less strutting and cockatiel preening from Ronaldo in the future and more team work ethic it will be because of this career defining moment.

And so to tonights game:

Italy are 13/2 outsiders to beat Germany tonight at Skybet.

If you ever wanted to take advantage of a completely free £10 bet then this is the time to use it.

 

 

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