Super athletes who are getting older, like Virat Kohli and Cristiano Ronaldo. Are the garden’s proud peacocks, not the tense house sparrows? They can fail but cannot be dismissed. Virat Kohli has frequently stated that he and Cristiano Ronaldo, his ultimate sporting hero, share many similarities. He admits that neither is gifted naturally like Messi is. But only through hard work have they maintained their status as elite athletes.
Kohli has also mentioned that Ronaldo is “targeted on a daily basis, but has the mental strength. The will to work hard, and the desire to keep coming back.” This is something that Kohli has said about Ronaldo. Recently, more parallels have emerged. Anxious Kohli was replaced as India’s skipper at the T20 World Cup in Abu Dhabi last year by his long-time teammate Rohit Sharma.
Ronaldo had reluctantly given the captain’s armband to his old friend Pepe this week, along the same Arabian Peninsula in Qatar. The men, who made it fashionable to wear a heart on their sleeve, looked disappointed after the rejection. This was no accident. It is never pleasant to observe someone who is normally lively and enthusiastic adopt a melancholy expression and silently care for their amputated spirit.
Kohli, after the 2021 mishap, would regather himself. He would rest, admit to faking intensity, and play his most memorable T20 innings against Pakistan at the 2022 World Cup. Ronaldo does not have that luxury or the time, as he is 37 years older than Kohli. He is unable to unwind or take a break. This is the World Cup of Football.
Ronaldo may be playing his final game on the big stage days after being benched in Switzerland’s last-16 knockout match. Ronaldo shouldn’t start against Morocco in the quarterfinals either, according to footballing logic and Goncalo Ramos, his replacement and heir apparent. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner might end up wearing the yellow FIFA bib that hides the country’s colors for the second game in a row.
Being an “extra” is a terrible experience. Players who were not selected to play in XIs describe feeling anxious while waiting for the signal to begin warming up and trying to get the coach’s attention. All in pursuit of the ultimate goal, World Cup game time. Those who are confined beyond the boundary rope also describe how the mind begins to trick itself. You long, deep down, for your friends to stumble. It’s normal to be desperate for action on the field after working hard and dreaming of playing in a World Cup game.
It gets harder if you’re Kohli or Ronaldo. The unwavering camera gaze provides a close-up view of the spectator world outside the stadium. The frames serve as amateur psychoanalysis exhibits. Those who wish to add color to hastily written match reports or character sketches can benefit from the visuals. Just like when Ronaldo was in the dugout the other day.
When Ramos scored, he didn’t look pleased. He stood up and praised when Pepe headed the ball into the net. Stories were woven using these strands. Every player feels the pain of being pushed to the sidelines during the World Cup, but the pain is much worse for players like Ronaldo and Kohli. This is because two of their sport’s fittest players have sacrificed and sweated significantly more than the rest.
By spending those extra hours in the gym to achieve peak fitness, they have made extraordinarily difficult lifestyle changes. In order to maintain their fitness once they arrive, they exercise more, run a marathon, and run an additional mile. Ronaldo was told when he was 13 that he was talented but too skinny. He took it to heart and made himself into a sculpture of a Greek god.
Ronaldo and Kohli never miss a chance to talk about their “six-pack” commitments, neither of them being overly modest. Kohli has disclosed that in the early days of his diet control, he would want to chew up the bedsheet to alleviate acute hunger pangs at night. Due to the fact that sleep, the best recovery mechanism, could not be sacrificed, it was decided not to spend time with the boys either.
Ronaldo is in agreement.
He has stated that there are days when he wants to spend more time with his children and experience family life’s pleasures. However, he drags himself away to accumulate additional gym miles. To become faster and stronger, he invests a lot of money and goes through torture. Ronaldo goes to his £50,000 Cryotherapy chamber after every hard game. At a temperature of as low as minus 200 degrees Celsius, liquid nitrogen freezes him for three minutes.
Even though it hurts, professional sports are brutal. Fitness alone cannot be the shield that safeguards precious form. For every one of the cutting-edge thingamajigs and well-being systems, the late 30s stay the age while the ticking of the clock gets irritatingly clear. For the individuals who have honestly proliferated their wellness responsibility and peered down on the frail, it damages to understand that they also have a specified sell-by date. It’s a bitter pill to swallow that aging can be slowed down, not stopped.
There is yet another reason why elite athletes detest being on the bench alongside rookies and the unproven. Similar to Kohli, Ronaldo has displayed this personality since their youth. The captions for team photos that featured Kohli or Ronaldo included the phrase “ones with a halo” in brackets. On and off the field, their skills, athleticism, and brand make them stand out. For them, life away from the spotlight is impossible. They are not the anxious house sparrows; rather, they are the garden’s proud peacocks.