Though we are certainly used to hearing bland answers from disinterested athletes in press conferences, the Chinese apparently are not. So when Cristiano Ronaldo put in a pretty normal performance in front of the media in Guangzhou ahead of Wednesday's friendly, the local press and fans took offense.
From the AFP:
"He always seems selfish and arrogant," said Yan Qiang, vice-president of Titan Media, one of China's leading sports publishers, noting the flying winger is one of the most popular players in China, along with Kaka and Lionel Messi.
"His behaviour won't help his cause in China," Yan told AFP, suggesting that the negative reaction to his appearance on the eve of a friendly with Guangzhou Evergrande might also hurt the prospects in China of his backers Nike.
Asked at the press briefing about the condition of his injury-prone teammate Kaka, Ronaldo, who became the world's most expensive player when he left Manchester United for Real in 2009 for £80 million, answered: "Perfecto."
In an attempt to lift the mood, another Chinese journalist asked Ronaldo, who last year became a father, whether he changed his son's nappy.
"Of course, as a father it is normal to change the baby's nappies," an unamused Ronaldo replied in English.
And asked by AFP if he might ever return to United or English football, he said: "Maybe, why not? You never know."
He was also quizzed about his interest in table tennis and whether he knew any of the Chinese players. Asked later about his impressions of Guangzhou, he said that it was very hot.
"The questions he was asked didn't have much to do with football. Chinese fans are different from European fans. Chinese are more into the personal lives of their icons," Yan said.
In Ronaldo's defense, those were all either horribly boring or ones he's answered 9 million times before or both. But the fact that the images of both Cristiano and Nike could be damaged in the all-important Chinese market because he didn't go into enough detail about cleaning up baby poop is pretty funny.
If the personal lives of icons are that important in China, maybe they should just do a better job of inquiring about them. Also, they might want to send a massive herd of paparazzi out to stalk their every move. After all, we've proven that to be quite effective in both Europe and the U.S.
- Cristiano Ronaldo