It started badly for Ronaldo on the pitch, and ended even worse when he left it.
Wednesday night proved one of Ronaldo’s most uncomfortable evenings arguably since the striker returned to football when Corinthians. The forward fluffed several guilt-edged opportunities during his side’s 1-nil home defeat to Paulista in the Sao Paulo state championship, before getting himself in trouble when he tried to exit the stadium as he clashed with local supporters.
El Fenomeno was anything but during the match with Paulista. Looking physically round, and lacking any of his killer instinct in front of goal, Ronaldo had a horror-show of a match. Put simply, everything went wrong for the World Cup’s leading goalscorer of all-time as his touch, shooting and control deserted him completely.
So poor was his performance, that after the match a large gathering of Corinthians supporters made sure to wait for Ronaldo to leave the stadium so that they could give him a piece of their mind. The fevered atmosphere boiled over in the stadium car park and, with the cameras rolling, Ronaldo reacted badly to the criticism when he flipped them the middle finger.
According to reports, the furious protesters then tried to get close to Ronaldo but military police acted swiftly to prevent the situation turning into a riot.
Looking to snuff out the story, Ronaldo has since gone on television to explain his behaviour, arguing that the gesture was made to someone who offended him morally and personally at the stadium’s parking lot.
Ronaldo: “I would never make a gesture like that to Corinthians fans, who have adopted me and supported me since my arrival. I want to apologise if any Corinthians fans felt offended and I want to reiterate my admiration for them.”