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Editorials, Sports

Andy Murray and Cristiano Ronaldo: Embattled Sports Icons Find Joy Once Again

The two sportsmen should be commended for advancing their professions further than most people would have anticipated.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 6th February 2023

It’s a thing of rarity to see veterans in sports compete professionally up until their late 30s and still make headlines. Andy Murray and Cristiano Ronaldo, two seasoned athletes of note, are two years apart. Cristiano Ronaldo who is a 37-year-old football great made a triumphant debut at his new club in Saudi Arabia. Andy Murray, 35, on the other hand battled his way through the first two rounds of the Australian open which four years earlier attempted to end his career.


Murray and Ronaldo supposedly have few things in common. Murray’s tale is representative of his bittersweet career. Given the discomfort he had been playing through, the time he spent away from the sport, and most impressively, his hip resurfacing surgery, his return to top-level tennis is almost fairytalish.That kind of performance is often only performed by youngsters, but Murray has defied what many thought his body was capable of. It was already a victory for him to finish his five hours and 45 minute encounter with Thanasi Kokkinakis. It was impressive that he was able to win it.


Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo made his debut in Saudi Arabia but it was not for Al-Nassr who signed him very early in the year. Confoundingly, it was as a member of a Saudi Select XI that included the top players from his new team and Al Hilal, their bitter rivals. In Manchester, Madrid, Turin, or Lisbon, you wouldn’t find that.


Ronaldo captained the side against a star studded Paris Saint-Germain team. The match which ended in a 5-4 loss, had Lionel Messi in it. Ronaldo grabbed a brace while his eternal rival got just one, making fans chant the iconic Ronaldo celebration “Siuuuu” and tweet about his greatness. There it was. The jump, the spin, the landing, the noise echoing around a stadium.


Andy Murray


It was nice to see two of football’s greatest-ever players share a smile and hug before kick-off. CR7 also had a friendly chat with former Real Madrid team-mate Sergio Ramos, the duo were pictured laughing in the tunnel, same with Kylian Mbappe, who idolized him.


The fact that Murray and Ronaldo appeared content in their own ways was crucial for both of them. Particularly this season, Ronaldo’s smile was wider than it has ever been while donning the Manchester United jersey. In a match that ended around 4 a.m., Murray yelled to the umpire about the absurd regulations barring him from having a comfort break. You can tell that this is his happy spot.


It was unbelievable that I managed to turn that around. Thanassi was serving unbelievable, hitting his forehead huge. I don’t know how I managed to get through that. I did start playing better as the match went on … and … yeah. I have a big heart.


“Remember the other day you mentioned a stat, after my match the other day, but I think now, I have the most matches coming back from two sets to love down. I have done it before. I have experience of it. Yeah, I just rely on that experience, and that drive, and that fight.


“My love of the game, and competing, and my respect for this event, and the competition. That’s why I kept going.


“I’m aware I don’t look particularly happy when I’m playing a lot of the time … but that’s when I’m happiest on the inside … I’ve always loved competing, I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, and shown my emotions when I played. I’ve been criticized a lot for it over the years. But that’s who I am.” Murray told John Fitzgerald 


The two sportsmen should be commended for advancing their professions further than most people would have anticipated.

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