The more you see Cristiano Ronaldo in his pomp here the more you are reminded of the young Muhammad Ali.
There is the preening and the pouting but then when you think of how he looks, and the sheer athletic beauty of how he plays, you have to pardon – at least to some degree – the scale of his narcissism.
If Ronaldo wasn't pleased with himself, whoever would be?
However, there is a certain shortfall in his arrogance. It lacks the full-blown authority Ali displayed right from the start. In training once at Madison Square Garden, he told the assembled ringsiders that his sparring partner, and former world champion Jimmy Ellis, had admitted to dreaming he put the great man on the floor. "When he came to work this morning, though," Ali said with satisfaction "the first thing he did was apologise."
Ali also claimed to be so fast that when he switched off the light he was in bed before it was dark.
There has been no such verbal splendour yet from the man who is so riveting at the European Championship, but perhaps we should give him a little time. Ali also said "a rooster crows when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he'll never crow. I've seen the light and I'm crowing." Maybe we should give Ronaldo another week or so.
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