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from Left field:

Cristiano Ronaldo and why art, not the artist, is what matters

SOCCER-ENGLAND/RONALDOCristiano Ronaldo's obsession with scoring an unforgettable goal in the Champions League final makes perfect sense now the world knows he always intended to leave Manchester United afterwards for Real Madrid.

Reaction in England to his departure was captured in a Guardian headline: "United fans will miss outrageous talent but not a charmless man". Ronaldo, it was said, possessed sumptuous talent coupled with obnoxious self-regard.

What, in the end, will Ronaldo be remembered for? His artistry as a footballer or his perceived failings as a man?

John Updike, who died this year aged 76, gives a clue.

A prodigiously prolific novelist, short story writer, playwright, literary critic, art critic and poet, Updike also produced one classic piece of sports writing entitled "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu". It is a wonderful account of Ted Williams's last game at Fenway Park in 1960, which turned out to be the great slugger's last game anywhere.

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