Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers of all time and he has produced numerous match-winning performances for both club and country. However, there are instances that prove that he too is human.
#1. Portugal vs Greece – Euro 2004 final
In 2004, Portugal hosted the Euro and the team that represented the host country included the likes of Luis Figo, Deco, Ricardo Carvalho, Rui Costa, Simao, Maniche and a 19-year-old prodigy named Cristiano Ronaldo. This team is considered the Golden Generation of Portuguese football.
Portugal started their Euro campaign with a defeat to minnows Greece in the first group stage game in which Ronaldo scored a consolation goal. However, with the support of the home crowd, they marched to the final by seeing off Spain, Russia, England and the Netherlands.
In the final, they were up against the tournament’s underdogs, Greece. Ronaldo was played clean through in the final but because of a poor first touch and a lack of composure, Portugal’s best chance of the game went begging. Portugal’s Golden Generation would go on to lose the game 1-0.
4th July 2004
Portugal’s golden generation reach their first ever major final – against minnows Greece. At home.
Ronaldo is played clean through on goal but fluffs his lines. They go onto lose 1-0.
12 years later they win a final against France. Away. Without him. pic.twitter.com/e11Qj9ltyL
— Dominic (@MessiClass10i) January 12, 2019
#2. Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich – UEFA Champions League semifinal, 2012
After winning the Champions League in 2002, Real Madrid went ten years without reaching the final and they could have ended this poor run in 2012 by beating Bayern Munich in the semifinal.
The Bavarian club won the first leg in Germany 2-1 thanks to a 90th-minute goal from Mario Gomez and in the return leg, Ronaldo turned the tie around by scoring a brace within 14 minutes. However, an Arjen Robben penalty in the 27th minute levelled the score on aggregate and the tie eventually went to the shootout.
Ronaldo had already beaten Manuel Neuer in the sixth minute of the game from the spot and he had to deliver again in the shootout. However, the Portuguese, who took Real’s first effort in front of the Bernabeu crowd, saw his effort saved by Neuer.
After seeing their best penalty taker miss, Real Madrid never recovered despite Casillas’ best efforts. They eventually lost the shootout 3-1.
25th April 2012
Having already missed a penalty in the 2007/08 Champions League final shootout, Ronaldo repeats the feat with a tame effort vs Bayern Munich in the 2011/12 Semi Finals.
This time his team mates couldn’t bail him out and Real Madrid crashed out. pic.twitter.com/sJdwKjLf4e
— Dominic (@MessiClass10i) January 12, 2019
#3. Portugal vs Spain – Euro 2012 semi-final
After the gaffe in the semifinal of the Champions League, Ronaldo’s woes in the penalty shootout of a major tournament continued at the UEFA European Championship in 2012.
Portugal advanced from a tough group with Germany, Netherlands and Denmark before seeing out the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal. In the semifinal, they were up against the defending Champions but the game ended 0-0 after extra time.
In the ensuing penalty shootout, both teams missed their first spot kick and scored from their second and third attempts. Spain then took a 3-2 lead in the shoot out through Sergio Ramos with their fourth attempt.
Ronaldo was yet to take his spot kick but instead of taking the fourth kick, he waited for the fifth attempt and centre-back, Bruno Alves, was sent to take the fourth one which he subsequently missed. Cesc Fabregas scored from the spot for Spain and the Portuguese captain watched his team crash out while he did not even get a chance to step up.
In any shootout, only the first three players from each team are guaranteed to take a penalty. Ronaldo should have and could have stepped up earlier and dispatched his penalty.
#4. Real Madrid vs Valencia – 36th La Liga game of 2014/15
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored numerous goals from the penalty spot in his career but he has also made a habit of missing crucial spot kicks. However, none of the penalties he missed were as costly as this one.
Real Madrid and Barcelona were involved in a tight race to the La Liga title. After 35 games, Real Madrid had 85 points and Barcelona had 87 points. Real Madrid only needed to be level with Barcelona to win the title as they beat Barcelona on aggregate in head to head matches. The fact that Barcelona had to travel away to Atletico Madrid enhanced Real Madrid’s chances.
In the 36th league game, Real Madrid played at home to Valencia and the visitors took a 2-0 lead. Later in the game, the home side was awarded a penalty which Ronaldo stepped up to take but his effort was saved by Diego Alves.
Real salvaged a draw through goals from Pepe and Isco but Ronaldo’s penalty miss would prove to be costly at the end of the season. If Real picked up all three points against Valencia, then they would have amassed 94 points which was the same as Barcelona’s tally for the season and enough to give Real the league title.
In addition, Real’s failure to win any trophies that season also cost Carlo Ancelotti his job.
#5. Portugal vs Iran – 2018 FIFA World Cup Group Stage
Cristiano Ronaldo started the 2018 FIFA World Cup on a high with a spectacular hat-trick against Spain in a 3-3 draw. He also scored the only goal of the game against Morocco.
In the final game of the group stage, Portugal played Iran and the European side led through a spectacular goal from Ricardo Quaresma. Portugal had the opportunity to double their lead after winning the penalty but Ronaldo missed from the spot and it would prove to be a costly miss.
Iran scored from the spot in the third minute of added time in the second half to level the game which meant that Portugal would only qualify for the knockout stage as the second placed team in the group.
As a result, they were drawn into the tough side of the draw and faced Uruguay. If Portugal topped their group, they would have played Russia.