Cristiano Ronaldo Goes from American Villain to Hero

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a goal scoring opportunity during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against Ghana at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jorge Silva (BRAZIL - Tags: SOCCER SPORT WORLD CUP)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, America’s hero.
REUTERS

Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo has gone from zero to hero in America’s eyes, thanks to a gut-punch goal against Ghana that solidified the United States’ advancement in the World Cup.

Ronaldo became enemy to the entire US of A on Sunday, when he assisted on a stellar late goal for Portugal that kept the US from clinching. Because of that goal, the US had to battle Germany, while Ghana loomed just behind, ready to pounce. And on Thursday, with the States down 1-0 to Germany, and Portugal-Ghana tied 1-1 midway through the second half, a goal from Ghana could have knocked the US out.

But Ronaldo came through just when the US needed. In the 80th minute, Ronaldo buried a loose ball into the back of the net, giving Portugal a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

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The US would have gone through to the next round with a Ghana-Portugal tie, but Ronaldo’s goal gave the US some breathing room. “Cristiano Ronaldo saves the United States,” USA Today wrote. Slate declared him an “Honorary American Citizen.” And the LA Times played it coy, calling Ronaldo a “frenemy.”

In any case, US fans were quick to praise their former rival for solidifying America’s newfound soccer prowess.

From all of America to you, Mr. Ronaldo, thank you.