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01.08.2019 » The Cristiano effect — Has football become reality TV?

Cristiano Ronaldo and TV cameras

Some may argue that modern football has turned into reality TV in recent years and superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo are the perfect example of this phenomenon. The Portuguese star already has more fans than most of the top European clubs combined...

Football can be a polarising subject. On the one hand, some are indifferent and can't understand why there is so much fuss about 22 men chasing a ball on a field. But many others live and breathe football, and if any evidence were needed about the extent of this fanaticism, you only need to consider the statistics. The World Cup final in 2018 was watched by an estimated 1.12 billion people. Elite players like Cristiano Ronaldo have accumulated a dizzying amount of transfer fees. Add supermodel girlfriends, top-of-the-range cars and yachts into the equation, and the ordinary fan is often left wondering: has this sport become reality TV?

Cristiano Ronaldo - CR7 impact on social media

Football: serious drama
or soap opera?

The parallels between football and reality TV are quite striking. The prime component of reality TV are its stars – household names who are often offered a prize at the end of it all. Although a lot of these programs are scripted to an extent, the public love watching their heroes and heroines in ‘live' situations, coping with real-life drama or pitting their wits against one another. If you weren't aware of what was being described in that summary, you might well have assumed the subject being discussed was football – particularly encounters involving "celebrity" players, such as Portugal's star player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Obviously, there are multiple tiers of football, and even within Ronaldo's current club, Italian giants Juventus, there will be other fan favorites, as well as players who methodically get on with the job, week-in week-out, and who tend to slip under the radar. Footballers further down the pecking order, right down to amateur level, will be less likely to gain attention, unnoticed by all bar fanatical supporters of their respective clubs.

Ronaldo not only dazzles his fans on the field of play, but he also keeps them enthralled as they read about his off-field antics. When he signed for Manchester United in 2003, he was then the most expensive teenage player to grace the English game. But fans were also horrified when he managed to prang his brand new Ferrari sports car while driving through a tunnel, thankfully emerging unscathed. He has gone on to accumulate a personal collection of cars which many an oil sheik would be envious of. As well as an Austin Martin – the iconic British car favored by James Bond – he has not just one but three Ferraris.

Cristiano Ronaldo staring at the cameras after scoring

Can fans ever emulate their icons?

Why are celebrity footballers like Ronaldo or his great Argentinian rival Lionel Messi revered just as much as film stars or pop stars? Because they excel at their chosen sport, they entertain thousands of paying fans every week, and they perform their service to their clubs exceptionally well. But they also give their fans something to aspire to.

Not many are deluded enough to assume they'll be able to match one of Ronaldo's millimeter-perfect free-kicks, subtly bent around a wall of stunned defenders, but they can certainly have a lot of fun trying to emulate their hero. They might not ever be able to afford three Ferraris, but they can dream of earning a flashier car one day. As for Ronaldo's success with the ladies? Everything is relative. Your average Juventus fan might not rub shoulders with supermodels, but they can sign up to a dating site like this. And such is the universal appeal of these outlets, for all we know, Ronaldo well be averse to browsing through dating profiles should he ever find himself single again. Whether you're a rich footballer or not, it sure is a convenient way to ‘score!'.

Cristiano Ronaldo virtual reality

Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Juventus is a pre-season friendly for the International Champions Cup on August 10 of 2019, against Atletico Madrid. You can watch Juventus vs Atletico, PSG vs Rennes, Atletico San Luis vs Atletico Madrid, Manchester United vs AC Milan, Borussia Monchengladbach vs Chelsea, and Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich, all matches provided from our live football game pages.

Juventus next game:
Juventus vs Atletico Madrid
kick-off time (10-08-2019):

Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 00:00
| UTC/GMT+7: 23:00
India (New Delhi) |
UTC/GMT+5.30: 21:30
Italy (Turin) |
UTC/GMT+2: 18:00
(Madrid) | UTC/GMT+2: 18:00
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+1: 17:00
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 13:00
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-4: 12:00
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-7: 09:00

Sources: / /

Cristiano Ronaldo walking off the courts with journalists behind him

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