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Ronaldo must apologize

July 31,2019
The way world-class football player Cristiano Ronaldo behaved in Korea during and after a friendly match on Friday was disappointing. The Portuguese forward for Italian club Juventus FC, upset the tens of thousands fans gathered at the World Cup Stadium in Seoul to see him play. Juventus was given 3.5 billion won ($2.96 million) to play the K-League All Stars under the condition that Ronaldo play in the game for at least 45 minutes. Instead, he sat on the bench while watching his teammates play the game. The way Juventus reacted to the outrage of Korean football fans was more baffling, as it made excuses instead of apologizing for violating the contract.

Not one person in attendance could have expected that they would not have been able to see the football star play after paying more than 400,000 won ($339) a ticket. Even after the Italian team delayed the match by one hour due to its late arrival, over 60,000 spectators shouted “Ronaldo!” whenever he appeared on the scoreboard. But they felt a strong sense of betrayal after he left the stadium without even setting his foot on the field — and without making eye contact with his fans.

In a press conference shortly after the match, Maurizio Sarri, the manager of Juventus, said Ronaldo has not been able to play since July 25 — a day before the match — due to a muscle injury. But the organizer of the event said his name was on the roster Juventus submitted one hour before the game.

Ronaldo fueled Korean fans’ rage by posting footage of him running on a treadmill — along with the words “Nice to be back home” — on social media without making any personal apology to his Korean fans.

Ronaldo was consistently dismissive of his Korean fans and even skipped all his officially scheduled events, including a signing event, during his 10-hour stay in Korea. Juventus also reacted arrogantly by saying that it will be OK for the Serie A football club to pay over 800 million won ($677,000) in fines. The K League must demand an apology from both Juventus and Ronaldo.

Otherwise, Korea will become a country for renowned football clubs in Europe to make money easily on insincere matches.

JoongAng Ilbo, July 30, Page 30