Two days ago I watched Cristiano Ronaldo in an interview with FIFA Futbol Mundial. It was one of those where his face was put in extreme close-up and a translator's voice overlaid his vocals [CRon was speaking in Portuguese]. As I looked at him, my mind was drawn to the back page of a recent edition of the Bombay Times, in which readers are breathlessly told about the serious breach in the relationship of John Abraham and Bipasha Basu caused in July last year. Interested readers will, as a function of memory and desire, or Google, be obliged to recall that this was when Bipasha was in Lisbon for a presentation of the Seven Wonders Of The World list and ended up being photographed making out with Cristiano Ronaldo. The black humour at the heart of this is that Bipasha would probably have had difficulty recognising the man were it not for the fact that John, her boyfriend, is that rare specimen of Bombay manhood, a passionate football fan, thanks to whom Bipasha herself has cultivated a love and understanding of the EPL.
Cough. Anyway, John and Bipasha are back together and doing well [no doubt bound together by the thought that John, had he been in Lisbon that night, would probably have taken a chance on snogging CRon himself] and CRon was on my telly being interviewed about elements of his sporting career [on Sporting Lisbon: 'I think a lot of the young guys there look up to me now'; on Man United: 'The team has certainly changed. We're younger and faster now. This is important in football.']. He was smooth, confident and apparently articulate.
The one moment he truly stumbled was upon being asked, "Who are your sporting idols?" and he had a moment of utter blankness, before he recovered and you could see the brains working behind his shining black eyes. "I would say..." he said, and you could see the words Okay wait, there's that guy? The short dumpy one, the one that everyone likes? What's his name? hover about his head before he said, in quiet, satisfied triumph, "...Diego Maradona. I, er, watched a lot of his videos as a child."
He walks in no man's shadow. He can steal Bollywood beauties away from their devoted households, carry off tomato red boots, score rashes of goals, and keep the frosting on his hair intact all the while. There is no equivalent force to CRon in this world. You couldn't put him on a list of the world's 100 most influential people. Like Helen of Troy, he breeds worshipful despair, not inspiration.