Rough reception for Ronaldo

Two points of interest:The stepover

 i) were the boos last night really pan-national? I was wondering aloud to my wife who the last big international football villain was – she suggested Maradona but I said no. For one thing I get the feeling Maradona was hugely appreciated everywhere that wasn’t England, for another the proper villain needs (I think) to be talented enough to be a top player but not one of the absolute greats. Does top-level international football have “heels”? Individuals known and hated outside their own support, but who seem to thrive on it?

 ii) of interest to fannydangle monitors: McNulty writes “there is a potentially stunning talent attempting to escape from the variety of feints, step-overs and dives that are a blot on his landscape”. Notice how the feints and step-overs – precisely the tricks that won him such praise when he first came to British notice – are now bracketed with the dives. This is massively unfair on Ronaldo: the TMFD case against stepovers has – surely – never been that they are somehow dishonest or tricksy, but that they are generally ineffective. Or is McNulty’s judgement just part of a general defensiveness after England’s performance – suggesting that silky skills are just the first step(over) on a low and beastly road?