To Follow The Team or the Player

by Joe Sesso on July 24, 2018

I have been a huge fan of the Real Madrid soccer team since 2013. I’ve watched every game and have cheered the team all the way to their fourth Champions League title in five years. So when it was reported that their best player, Cristiano Ronaldo, had left the team to play for another, I was more than shocked. Cristiano was the reason that I began to follow the team in the first place. So now my loyalty will be put to the test. Will I continue to be a die-hard Real Madrid fan? Or will I be more of a Cristiano Ronaldo fan? Or is it possible to be both?

I used to work with a guy that was a huge LeBron James fan. He was from Arizona but loved the Cavaliers. I assumed that he was a Cavs fan first and a LeBron fan second, until LeBron left for the Miami Heat. He then became a huge Heat fan and the Cavaliers were forgotten in his memory. I called him was a fair-weathered fan. He didn’t seem to mind. He told me that he was a LeBron James fan and liked whatever team he played for. I didn’t understand his rationale – until now.

In 2013 I decided that I wanted to follow a European soccer team for a year to see if I could gain an understanding and appreciation for the sport. The question was, which team would I follow? I started with AS Roma because Rome is one of my favorite cities and I because I knew who their star player, Francesco Totti, was.  Watching their games was fun but during the halftime show I kept seeing highlights of Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid. They were an exciting team and he was scoring 50 goals per season, so I couldn’t help but watch them. I soon became hooked on both soccer and Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo image Do I Support Cristiano Ronaldo or Real Madrid?

As luck would have it, Real Madrid went all the way that season and won the Super Bowl equivalent of European Soccer, The Champions League. Ronaldo also won the Balon D’or award, the equivalent of the Most Valuable Player award.  For my first year of following a team, it couldn’t have been better. I was now a loyal follower, and I even joined Real Madrid’s fan club.

2013-14 was only the beginning for Real Madrid and Ronaldo. The last five years have been nothing short of a dynasty for the club, as they won four of the last five Champions League titles and have been the most exciting team to watch in Europe. Ronaldo was a major reason for that. So now the dilemma for me: Am I really a Real Madrid fan, or am I a Cristiano Ronaldo fan? I can tell you this, my loyalty will be tested.

I’m going to begin the season following Madrid as closely as I have the past five seasons. I hope that my enthusiasm remains the same as it has been, but only time will tell. As for Ronaldo, I will always be a fan of his, but I cannot be a fan of his new team Juventus. Why you ask? Because Juventus is a rival of AS Roma, my other team, so I cannot support them. I don’t think my loyalty for Roma will change, because they have lost their top players for the past few years to bigger clubs but yet have continued to find ways to contend. I love a good underdog, and that’s what Roma is. But I won’t cheer against Ronaldo, since he was the main reason for me to follow Real Madrid in the first place. As sad as it will be to see him in another uniform, I wish him the best. When Juventus plays Roma I hope Ronaldo scores five goals. I just want Roma to score six!

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