8 Ways Sweden Could Have Stopped Cristiano Ronaldo
Alas, it is too late for Sweden now.
Just when we all thought Portugal might get "Zlataned" in Stockholm, the Scandinavian hosts were well and truly "Ronaldo'd" with a hat-trick from the relentless Real Madrid star.
C-Ron was so magnificent in Tuesday's game that the media are practically writing his name on the Ballon d'Or trophy, with the hyperbole reaching such heights that they might just stop football altogether and declare Cristiano Ronaldo the winner of life.
However, it didn't have to be like this.
Sweden tried plenty of ways to halt Ronaldo in his tracks—they opened the roof at the not-very-intimidating-sounding Friends Arena to let in the sub-zero temperatures and a multi-platinum selling popstar gave the team a rude awakening at their hotel—but there were so many more tactics they could have employed.
Here are some of them...
Line the Field with Mirrors
In a recent poll of Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo was found to be the most beautiful man alive.
Instead of lining the field with advertising hoardings promoting non-distracting goods and services, the Swedes should have simply put mirrors all around the field. Fans behind the goal could also have held up reflective surfaces whenever he approached, too.
C-Ron would have been so distracted by the way his hair looked that he wouldn't have been able to concentrate on actually kicking a ball.
Fill the First Five Rows with Ridiculously Attractive Swedish Women
As anyone who has watched a sporting event involving Sweden can testify, their people are beautiful looking—regardless of gender.
The TV cameras always manage to pick out aesthetically pleasing Blagult fans and Cristiano Ronaldo is well-known for his penchant for good-looking ladies.
Sweden should have used this to their advantage by putting rows of Nordic beauties behind the goals. Ronaldo would have been too busy recruiting for the after-party to worry about anything on the field.
Build an IKEA Obstacle Course
It may ever-so-slightly contravene FIFA rules, but Sweden should have littered the pitch with IKEA furniture.
Imagine the strife Ronaldo would have experienced on the way to the goal if he had to vault a Hemnes chest of drawers, weave through some Borje chairs, squeeze through a Malm bed frame and avoid tripping over on a sea of meatballs?
Make Sepp Blatter the Referee
FIFA president Sepp Blatter may have tried to win Cristiano's good graces with a post-match tweet on Tuesday evening, but he made his feelings clear about the Portuguese megastar during his recent trip to the Oxford Union.
Perhaps Sweden should have insisted that the moronic 77-year-old was made referee for the second leg in Stockholm. He surely would have found some way to disallow each of Ronaldo's three goals.
Have the Entire Sweden Team Wear Leo Messi Masks
Ronaldo would have at least a couple of Ballon d'Or trophies adorning his mantlepiece were it not for the incredible efforts of one man: his Barcelona nemesis Lionel Messi.
Fans at the Friends Arena attempted to intimidate the star forward with chants of "Messi! Messi!" whenever he touched the ball, but the Swedish team could have taken things a step further by all donning rubber Messi masks for the duration of the game.
It would be like a real-life version of the night terrors Ronaldo suffers before every Clasico match and award ceremony.
Switch His Isotonic Drink for Vodka
During the winter, the sun may rise in Sweden at 9am and set again by 2.45pm. To deal with the perennial darkness, Scandinavians like to drink—even if it is cripplingly expensive.
Before and during the match, the Swedes should have switched his Lucozade with some vodka, meaning he would be drunk on alcohol, rather than just his own sense of self-worth.
Use a "Golden Ball"
Sweden may be obliged to provide FIFA's official World Cup ball for qualifier games, but who says they couldn't paint them gold?
This would have served as an painful reminder of the second Ballon d'Or trophy that has thus far eluded him.
Clone Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic surely begrudges the fact that he has to share a team with 10 mortal humans, none of whom are capable of his fire-breathing heroics or acrobatic kicks that hold more power than a thousand suns.
If only the Swedish Football Association were able to clone the talismanic striker. Then the Blagult would win every match from here until eternity.