The most amazing moment of last night’s Ballon d’Or ceremony came before the winner was announced or even before the play button was pressed and the big screen lit up with the brilliance of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Iniesta.
It came on twitter, when FIFA forwarded this quote from Ronaldo:
“FIFA is doing something huge for our population. I hope the Brazilian team performs well.” @ClaroRonaldo on the 2014 World Cup
Strangely, the tweet doesn’t show up in Ronaldo’s feed, which is run for him by the Claro cell phone company. That suggests it was either a direct tweet to FIFA, or that he took it down. (Unless FIFA made it up, which is highly unlikely.)
Now Ronaldo is one of the best known and most beloved people in Brazil. He’s one of the greatest football players of all time. And he leads Brazil’s 2014 World Cup preparation as a member of the Local Organising Committee.
But when he comes out with comments like that you have to ask if the big man has put his commitment to FIFA ahead of his loyalty to Brazil.
I can’t really think of anything that FIFA is doing for the Brazilian population that doesn’t come with a quid pro quo or a major down side.
In fact, it’s exactly the other way around. Brazilians are bending over backwards to help FIFA.
I could explain exactly why but I’ll leave it to Christopher Gaffney, who put it much more succinctly than I could in his always excellent Hunting White Elephants blog.
Take it away, Christopher…
“I would like to have a party at your house. This is a great opportunity for you. I won’t pay you anything, but really, your house is inadequate, unseemly even, so please reform it and beautify the streets. When I get there, no one else can come within two kilometers, a condition you will guarantee by force of arms. You are responsible for the music, drink, getting me and my friends there, telling others about it, and providing everything that I can think of, whether or not I have told you about it. Make sure there is a recycling bin because I am very concerned about sustainability. I would like you to close down all the roads so I can get there more quickly in the limousine that you will provide. If I break everything, too bad. If I decide not to show up, well, that’s up to me. Everything good that happens at this party, I will take credit for. In fact, I’ll sell the video and party favors around the globe to my exclusive profit, and you’ll get nothing in return but the world will see how pretty your house is. In the case that one of my friends urinates on your couch or puts a hole in the roof you can’t ask for compensation. Don’t even think about complaining, it’s not his fault that has a bit of a heavy wrist and loses control. Once you’ve prepared everything and gone into debt to do so, I guarantee, semi-absolutely, that it is going to be an amazing party but remember that we have different interests here. If you do everything I say and give me everything I want at your own expense, then I will tell people what a good host you were. I need to make enough money at this party to tide me over for years and it’s your obligation to make this happen. If things aren’t just right or if I am in any way inconvenienced by what I perceive to be a lack of preparation, or if the path between my five star hotel and your house is not plastered with my image, I will simply cancel without prior warning and leave you holding a very empty bag. Sound good? Sign here.”
Wake up, Ronaldo!