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November 17, 2022

WALKING, talking (or, perhaps more appropriately) running, squeaking footballers in Qatar along with Mark Drakeford and Vaughan Gething will report back on human rights abuses, political transgressions against trans people and gays, and slave labour at the 2022 World Cup in a Muslim Sharia law state.

So, we will have to rely on Christiano Ronaldo, a barely human self-awareness free zone so far up his own probably professionally pampered anus that he can no longer smell, and Gareth Bale, a giggly, girly, permanently protected and promoted physical prize specimen who appears to think and speak mainly with his feet offering verbally nothing more profound than witless whispers, to inform and educate us.

God help us and God protect us from the new Prince of Wales and Portugal’s Primadonna prince enthroned in royal courts safely surrounded by always approving sycophants, serfs and fawning flunkeys while drowning in cash.

Ronaldo lashed out at Manchester United, who currently pay for his extravagantly gilded hideously obscene lifestyle, in a “no-holds barred” interview with Piers Moron seeming to be actively aiding and abetting him (all sporting media interactions are now mere personal aiding and cosmetic grooming for them often by them, dangerously facilitated and enabled by the fact that too many of the journos are now themselves old sporting stars) to try to make viewers feel sorry for him. His wife or girlfriend lost a baby and the club, he claimed, didn’t do enough to support them. How many people living in grim and getting grimmer Newport – with an NHS which can no longer treat you for accidents and emergencies – will be able to empathise and sympathise with this brainless idiot?

This was the sporting version of Prince Andrew’s car crash interview with Emily Maitlis but without any journalistic rigour, meaningful interaction and forensic professional approach or note taking, leaving Portugal’s most famous ambassador like an unguided nuclear missile aimed at himself to delightedly, wholeheartedly with glee and vindictive vigour smash that country’s reputation to smithereens in one devastatingly stupid and brain-dead contribution. Who would want to visit Portugal if it is peopled by others like him?

It was a master class in self destruction from someone too self-obsessed and dim to even know when it is happening.

Tone deaf, hopelessly self-pitiful, inured against grim reality or even any reality at all, manically minted, ringed by a warrior-like guard of fearful dependent sycophants, muted, insecure and frightened journalists now actively ostracised professionally and socially for asking anything even approaching probing questions, odious dodgy agents and image rights people taking their cut, and football coaches who very clearly now no longer actually “manage” the players and seem, to me, to live in fear of these wildly powerful oafs in love with money and the mirror.

“I’m charismatic,” he said at one point and others holding different opinions are “jealous of me” or “liars”. Was he looking at Moron or at a mirror? If I got on a bus with him sitting on it, I would get off pronto and wait for the next one.

Both Ronaldo and Bale are limited in linguistic clarity, rhetorical flow and the ability to properly communicate – Ronaldo in English, which he still doesn’t seem to instinctively understand or properly use despite his wealth and Bale in Spanish and Welsh, neither of which he has properly mastered.

I suspect that they have in common a school education where far more time was spent outdoors exercising on fields and in gyms than in libraries or at computer screens so they send the dangerous message to our kids that study is for fools while also confirming the view that intellectual depth, insight and a profound philosophical grasp are not entirely analogous with sporting prowess and a winning mentality.

I suspect they also tend to measure progress entirely quantitatively and never qualitatively (how many goals scored, how many pounds/dollars earned, how many new businesses started) so, in many ways, appear to fit perfectly in offensive Qatar, where surface gloss and cosmetic sheen will cover up everything in a capitalist wet dream of excess, indulgence and “superstar” gazing overseen by a royal family luxuriating in absolute power (not dissimilar, in fact, to our current crop of professional footballers).

Asking those two to report back on misdemeanors and injustices they might spot in the oil and gas rich state of Qatar, (so rich that they were able to effectively buy the tournament with bribes and bungs) is a bit like asking Reggie and Ronnie Kray to report back from a conference on knuckledusters in Canning Town.

Add to that the paranoid preparation of professional sports people by press and media types who now live in fear of negativity (for that think congruence and authenticity) so surround them with fearful and approving “yes people” and cynically train them to smile and say nothing in interviews in a pleasing way to camera (as they all now specialise in doing to keep their ratings up, though Ronaldo abandoned that completely in his spiteful outburst to Moron) and you have the perfect recipe for one of those classic meaningless utterances designed carefully to avoid committing to an opinion which drips off their tongue like ketchup at McDonald’s.

“Well Reg, there were some knuckledusters you liked and some others you didn’t. Some could do the job really well, others maybe not so well. You take your pick with knuckledusters.”

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