Many in the media have already rushed to judgement

By now, anyone who follows soccer is acutely aware of the comments Cristiano Ronaldo made after his two goal performance against Granada on Sunday. When asked after the game why he didn’t celebrate his goals, Ronaldo replied that he was ‘sad’ for ‘professional’ reasons.

Naturally, this sparked a media frenzy over the reason for his sadness. Rumors abounded ranging from the anniversary of the death of his father, or not winning Europe’s best player award, to the inevitable issues concerning money.

In response to the massive speculation over the matter, which he should have surely foreseen, Ronaldo released this statement on Twitter today to clarify:

That I am feeling sad and have expressed this sadness has created a huge stir. I am accused of wanting more money, but one day it will be shown that this is not the case. At this point, I just want to guarantee to the Real Madrid fans that my motivation, dedication, commitment and desire to win all competitions will not be affected. I have too much respect for myself and for Real Madrid to ever give less to the club than all I am capable of. Abrazos to all madridistas.

While there has been no shortage of opinions and interpretations on the matter, one of the most common reactions has been skepticism towards the Portuguese winger because of his incredibly successful career and the subsequent fortune he has earned.

But let us not forget that depression can befall anyone, regardless of their perceived success or financial position. In November last year, the soccer community lost one of its most vibrant and successful characters in Gary Speed to suicide because of his extended bout with depression. While Ronaldo’s ailments are probably not so serious, the tiny bit we know about the situation is not enough to allow cynicism from the media.

At a time where issues of depression and mental illness are becoming more prevalent, a greater degree of understanding and empathy is needed.

So instead of bushing the afflicted aside, let us use this as an opportunity to raise awareness of people who do suffer from real mental problems, providing some humanity to our perspective before we rush to judgement. While Ronaldo may seem larger than life, he is human after all.