Kiss and tell on the Algarve

Horror, shock, Cristiano Ronaldo in porno video scandal. Must be true, as there it was on the front page of my newspaper. I was sitting having a Sagres beer at the time, on the terrace of Antonio's beach caff at Porto de Mós in the Algarve, whence I had taken myself for a few days as a treat. Can't quite remember the reason, but I am sure I deserved it. Oh yes, I had finished a book. How many is that, Hunt? How do I know? I'm not counting.

All week in the Portuguese papers Ronaldo was everywhere, even though he was injured and not playing in Portugal's vital game against Malta,
which they had to win to reach the World Cup play-offs. I had been telling the waiters for days that if they couldn't beat Malta, they were rubbish (Malta is about the size of the Porto de Mós beach), knowing that none had been to Malta.

Anyway, I said, the Portuguese team is a fiddle - having people like Deco, Pepo and Liédson, who were born in Brazil. England would not stoop that low, certainly not. We play fair, although if Almunia changes his mind, he'll be given citizenship in five minutes, and a peerage.

I watched the game with the sound off. Antonio's is a rather posh beach restaurant these days, not like it was 40 years ago when it had sand on the floor. The telly is silent, so as not to disturb the quality, but the waiters watch out of the corner of their eyes as they bustle back and forward.
Portugal won 4-0, and are into the play-offs against Bosnia-Herzegovina, so this time I took to winding up the waiters by comparing their boring players and crap manager with Brazil - now that is a team, now we're talking. Portugal has a strange relationship with Brazil, like England with the US: proud they speak our language; envious of their power and strength, but trying to remain superior, cool, detached, not like those colonial loudmouths and noisy flash gits.

There's a story the Portuguese like to tell against Brazilians. Some sort of incident has happened in the street and a large crowd of people has gathered. A Brazilian arrives, pushes his way through, elbows out, but still can't reach the front. “Let me through," he yells. "I'm a relative." The crowd parts - to reveal a dead donkey.

Ronaldo is not a typical Portuguese - being flash, arrogant - but then he is practically a colonial, coming from Madeira. His phizog is everywhere, as he appears in almost every Portuguese advert. He'd made it on to the front page of Correio da Manhã because of his personal life. Go on -
15 October - look it up on the net. I'm sure you speak excellent Portuguese.

Mine is a bit rusty these days. When I read the headline "Cristiano tem vídeos porno", naturally I turned at once to page 46 to get the full story. Was he starring in them? He has got a great body - which he is clearly very proud of - and nice smile, and could probably get a part in any sort of film these days, unlike one of his erstwhile Man U striking partners, who would probably fail the audition for a horror film.

The piece was by an ex-girlfriend, a rather flimsy kiss-and-tell. With a waiter's help, I got the revelation straight. He had not appeared in them - just watched them. "It is normal," said the waiter," shrugging his shoulders. "Everyone watches porno videos . . ."

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 26 October 2009 issue of the New Statesman, New York / London