Originally posted on Fox Soccer  |  Last updated 9/5/12
Cristiano Ronaldo is sad. So bereft is the Real Madrid hitman that he declined to celebrate scoring two goals this weekend - his 149th and 150th in a white jersey, no less - because of this heavy heart. Not the sadness that comes, say, from a lack of money. No, no - not that at all, he clarified on his Twitter account. "I am accused of wanting more money, but one day it will be shown that this is not the case," he tweeted. This instead is an existential sadness that he says is for "professional" reasons. Wouldn't you know that this "sadness" was swiftly echoed by the man's agent - a man who chimed in for reasons that have nothing to do with money? Jorge Mendes, who makes his living making deals for Cristiano Ronaldo, helpfully posted a statement on his website saying that he knew the reason for Ronaldo's ennui - but would graciously leave it to the Portuguese star to reveal it to the world, himself. Of course. "Grief dwells like a prisoner in a subterranean dungeon," wrote Soren Kierkegaard, a man who knew both about sadness and existentialism. What would the great Dane make of the kind of sadness of the professional footballer? Where is the love for a man so handsome and so handsomely compensated? This is an intriguing question. Fame is and fortune are by no means a tonic for life. Soccer players suffer from depression and anxiety as the rest of us do. And yet, the fact of the matter is that Cristiano Ronaldo keeps coming in second. He's not the European player of the year -- that went to Andres Iniesta -- and he's not even second-best. You will be as horrified as he to discover that he tied for second with his nemesis, Lionel Messi. Ronaldo's pay, an estimated $37 million-a-year -- is a great deal more than mine, but I will concede that here too, he comes second-best. Wouldn't you know it, that Messi guy comes ahead of him again as well as a certain underwear model who doesn't even play for Real Madrid any more. I know those of you eating your box lunches and working your third jobs might be wondering what a man whose net worth is $160 million might be complaining about. Yes, his jersey sales are tops across the world, and yes, he's one of the best players ever in the game - but is that really enough? As fate would have it, there are a number of people who would tell you, no, of course not! Ronaldo's salary after all isn't the biggest in the sport, though he is arguably the biggest face in the game. And boy, does this kid sell jerseys. Real Madrid apparently made back the entire fee they paid to Manchester United in a single year off those proceeds. And let's be frank, the man does look good in white. Yet for folks in Spain (unemployment rate: 24.1%) one suspects it's a bit too much to swallow. Ronaldo is doing what virtually every schoolboy in Madrid dreams of doing. Not only is he suiting up, he's starting, scoring goals, and oh, yes, is a worldwide icon. So it's a bit difficult to imagine that this sudden bout of the blues has anything to do with anything other than the color green. And besides, there are other wise men than Kierkegaard on the subject. For, as H.L. Mencken once notably said: Whenever someone says it's not about the money, it's about the money. It's rich, isn't it?
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