In a sign of poor sportsmanship, Ronaldo told waiting reporters after the match, per Babara Jimenez of RealMadrid.com:
In a Real Madrid-Barcelona [game] you have to have a referee who is up to the game. I don't want to look for excuses but if you look at the 90 minutes the referee made a lot of mistakes. Really bad. In my opinion he was not up to a match of this stature.
I looked at him and he was pale, that's because he was so nervous and he was unable to make the right decisions. A referee has to be relaxed in order to do as well as possible. It makes me think that matches are not only won on the pitch, but also with a little help off of it.
Maybe they don't want Real Madrid to win this Liga. I've been here for five years, so I know how a lot of things are and I hope to win it regardless of this.
For a player of such stature in the modern game to use such condescending tones toward the match officials leaves a sour taste.
Real Madrid were beaten fairly and squarely, and you might even argue Ronaldo himself was the beneficiary of a decision by Undiano Mallenco when he was given a penalty for a foul that clearly took place outside of the box.
The Times chief football correspondent Oliver Kay certainly saw the funny side:
Cristiano Ronaldo: "I've never seen Real being favoured by referees", shortly after being awarded a penalty for this http://t.co/BFTAhDYhd6— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) March 24, 2014
Even Sky Sports' Spanish football correspondent Guillem Balague was moved to criticise Ronaldo via his column:
Ronaldo saying it looks like people don't want Real to win.
That is absolutely ridiculous and even the Real Madrid press have criticised that kind of talk.
I found that so unfair and a real 'loser' attitude.
In any event, Messi's influence on the game was clear from the beginning.
Where Ronaldo was peripheral for much of proceedings, aside from the occasional burst, Messi was pivotal for Barcelona.
WhoScored.com detail the difference in the two talismen on the night.
|Pass Accuracy||Touches||Fouls||Total shots||Dribbles Won||Tackles||Rating|
|Lionel Messi||88 percent||65||0||6||1||2||10|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||78 percent||42||2||3||5||0||8.1|
Ronaldo clearly had more dribbles than his contemporary, but they didn't really end up anywhere, Barcelona shepherding him quite nicely down the channels. Danger passed.
Messi had far more touches, his accuracy was better and he at least attempted to defend on a couple of occasions.
We should probably look into the psyche of the player to understand why he feels the need to blame officials at all for a performance that wasn't up to the usual standards Ronaldo sets for himself.
Perhaps it's also fair to suggest Ronaldo only appears to be at his happiest when he is is the star attraction. The player who everyone comes to see. "The Main Man."
The "calm down, I'm here" goal celebration is indicative of that attitude. It has to be all about him.
When someone else—usually Messi—steals his thunder, especially in the biggest games of the season, then Ronaldo's true face shows through.
It's fairly unpleasant and fans don't like it:
Wow... Calm down Ronaldo.— Maeeda. (@MaeedaItIs) March 23, 2014
It's also another layer in the argument of why people favour the Argentine ahead of the Portuguese.
Contrast his attitude with that of Messi's: Have you ever heard him blame an official for a loss in El Clasico or elsewhere for that matter?
Is Cristiano Ronaldo right to criticise the performance of the referee?
No, of course not.
Whether Ronaldo really is the "pantomime villain" to Messi's good little trooper is probably over-egging the comparisons just a little, but the truth is the footballing public like their sporting heroes to be gracious in defeat.
It's how it has always been since football began. You shake hands at the end and accept you lost to the better side.
In Ronaldo's case that means accepting, for once, that you're not the main event.