As Cristiano Ronaldo was picking up his second Ballon d’Or award, there would have been a crop of physios in Madrid just as delighted as the phenomenal Portuguese forward.
Of course, they would have been pleased for a member of their playing staff. But they would be forgiven for having something a little more materialistic at the forefront of their thinking.
That’s because according to Metro, Ronaldo made a vow to purchase a brand new car for every member of the physio team if he was to be crowned as the world’s best player. The piece states that reports in Spain claim Ronaldo will buy the physios a new set of wheels each after their sterling efforts to keep him fit throughout the course of the campaign.
Other physios are starting to promote similar ideas to their clients!:
To all the elite athletes I treat... I'm just mentioning this! http://t.co/EA7snNgCsS I like Aston martins.— Michael Brownlow (@advance_physio) January 18, 2014
Of course, Ronaldo has stayed fit and blown us all away with some stunning showings over the past 12 months, and whilst the medical team will be desperate to get behind the wheel of their brand new rides, this gesture is an indicator of a burgeoning togetherness that currently festers within the club.
And given the performances of the 2013 Ballon d’Or winner, would anyone begrudge the members of this medical team their rewards? Ronaldo has gotten better and better over the previous 12 months, and his time on the sidelines due to injury and fitness woes has been kept to an absolute minimum.
Going into the 2013-14 campaign, you would have been hard-pushed to pick a Ballon d’Or winner from the shortlist of Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery. But whilst Messi—who has won the previous four Ballon d’Or trophies—has been struck down with injury in the latter part of the calendar year, Ronaldo has pushed on to new heights.
To keep Ronaldo in such peak physical condition throughout the course of a calendar year can’t be an easy task. The former Manchester United man played 56 competitive games in 2013, scoring 66 goals in the process, surpassing both Messi and Ribery in both categories per Andy Brassell of BBC Sport.
Playing that many games at a level of intensity befitting of Ronaldo must take its toll. And such is the undoubted quality and stylistic nature of the Portuguese flyer, there are some games where opposition defenders can target him with a bit of a rough treatment—either bourn out of frustration or managerial instruction.
But this story is one that raises a smile and certainly something you see little of in the modern game. Footballers are often chastised for their greed and branded as mercenaries, and whilst this particular outlay will leave little dent in Ronaldo’s overall fortune, it's a brilliant gesture nonetheless.
And perhaps it’s an indication of a newfound togetherness at Real Madrid? The club has something of a reputation for disharmony and a lack of team spirit, but Ronaldo has shown a massive deal of respect and gratitude to his physios with this gesture. It can only be a good thing for the morale of all of those who play a part in the Los Blancos setup.
Carlo Ancelotti is obviously keen to preserve what is a harmonious dynamic at the club too. He has already made it clear that no players will be coming in or out during this midseason window, per The Guardian. Instead he looks to be giving his full backing to a group of players who are now just three points behind Atletico Madrid and Barcelona atop of La Liga.
With Ronaldo showing no signs of halting his marvellous form, Real Madrid have a wonderful opportunity to challenge on a host of different fronts during the season run-in. Who knows what gifts will be dished out if Madrid can pick up the La Liga or Champions League title?!