Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup Haircut Has A Heartwarming Story Behind It

Cristiano Ronaldo has long been criticized as arrogant and a bit aloof, but the Portuguese soccer star has made a heartwarming gesture in the 2014 World Cup —- and he’s doing it with his haircut.

Ronaldo has been sporting a zig-zag design shaved into the side of his head, and it turns out the fashion statement is a tribute to a young boy named Erik Ortiz Cruz, who just underwent brain surgery. The surgery — which cost more than $83,000 — was paid for by Ronaldo himself.

Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t advertise the gesture, which the UK’s Sun caught wind of it and published a story this week.

The move goes against the “selfish” label many have placed on the world’s best soccer player.

“There has never been a football player so disgusting as Cristiano Ronaldo,” Brazilian journalist Mário Magalhães wrote in a recent blog post. “He subverts the noble idea of football as a collective agreement. He represents the climax of our narcissistic times.”

Critics note that Ronaldo is never one to shy away from boasting of his abilities, including a recent interview.

“I don’t think I have to show anyone anything,” he said before Portugal’s opening match last week against Germany. “Look at my statistics and my CV—I have nothing to prove. My career has been great so far, and I just want that to continue.”

Ironically, one of the knocks against Cristiano Ronaldo was that he was overly concerned with his appearance. From the Wall Street Journal:

Nor is Ronaldo the first star footballer to be labeled with the dreaded M word, “metrosexual,” a term that was practically coined to describe England poster boy David Beckham. The difference, perhaps, is that Becks was clever enough not to take his ever-changing hairstyles and fashion mutations too seriously. In the British tradition of great pop chameleons, he tried on new identities and mix-matched personas with a wink and a rib nudge that made even skeptical sportswriters smile occasionally.

Ronaldo, on the other hand, seems frozen into a rigidly impeccable self-image, right down to his manicured eyebrows. That dovetails with the impression, fair or unfair, that he’s not a true team player, but rather a pampered loner.

Maybe Cristiano Ronaldo’s new haircut and the tribute to the young patient will help change a few minds.

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