“Messi, Messi, Messi”, Why Does Cristiano Ronaldo Hear What He'd Rather Not?

Friday, July 18, 2014: 12:00 AM
Room: 412
Oral Presentation
João Afonso BIVAR , Sociology, New University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Luiz Guilherme BURLAMAQUI SOARES , História Social, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It’s not unusual for Cristiano Ronaldo to hear Messi’s spontaneous calling when he goes to play away. But bringing up Messi’s name to tease him has indeed happened in his own backyard. Just recently, while preparing to play an international game for Portugal in the northern town of Guimarães, a Portuguese fan annoyed him maliciously again gigging and crying softly for Messi. Cristiano Ronaldo, wisely, just walked away, skipping any kind of confrontation. Why is this so? What, concerning common thoughtfulness, separates both players? Why do fans feast on Ronaldo’s celebrity figuration while leaving Messi to enjoy impressive widespread praise and cult?

The reason for this, we shall argue, has to do less with the icons they personify, or, in other words, the continual permeation of sport by entertainment coding, where “delay of gratification” is unwelcome, that shapes sports social worlds nowadays, or even a frantic dispute gathering diverse social categories about who’s the best football player in the present day, than with a sharp opposition that divides the field of sporting (possible) grandeur. We refer to the antagonism between professionalism and amateurship, measured or assessed both through the sense of competence versus (self-)interest and by the sense of talent and vocation versus offstage hard work and training outcome. We’ll be doing a sociology of football’s recognition that shapes itself in a sociology of football’s values and normative senses, or, in other words, a sociology of orders of worth, that piece together an unique hierarchy of social esteem. In doing so, we’ll be probing expert and non-expert contrast representations of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as we believe worth-yet-not-fully-fulfilled-sport’s-greatness, as all identity “loci”, is always congealed (or at least harden) through comparative procedure and judgment.