Juventus found themselves behind after 25 minutes of their Serie A encounter with visitors Parma on Wednesday night, after a free-kick strike from the edge of the box by Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Brugman.
It was a side-footed finish into the bottom corner which left Juve ‘keeper Gianluigi Buffon rooted to the spot, but questions were immediately asked about Ronaldo’s defensive posture in the wall as the ball whizzed over his head.
Instead of jumping up in unison with his teammates to attempt to block the strike, Ronaldo remained grounded, covering his face with both arms and meekly dangling out a leg in front of him.
He then turned to watch the ball fly into the bottom corner before trudging off back to the center circle.
The moment was seized upon with glee on social media, with many joking that Ronaldo was more worried about protecting his Hollywood looks rather than carrying out his defensive duties.
“I’m being serious is this man scared of the ball?” chided one Lionel Messi fan.
“Scared of hurting his pretty face,” replied another.
Ronaldo typically has no trouble using his head at the other end of the pitch, but some observers noted that it wasn’t the first time Ronaldo has been culpable in defensive situations, with a similar occasion coming in Juve’s Champions League second leg against Porto.
On that occasion, the ball had gone through Ronaldo’s legs and into the corner as Juve were dumped out on away goals in the tie.
Ronaldo’s legion of fans also mobilized in his defense, however, claiming there was an ‘agenda’ against their man.
Others pointed out that Ronaldo’s perennial rival Messi doesn’t usually even line up in the wall due to his size.
Thankfully Ronaldo’s blushes were spared on Wednesday as Juventus came back to win 3-1 after a double from Alex Sandro and a header from Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt.
Ronaldo endured a frustrating night though, failing to add to his tally of 25 Serie A goals for the season and picking up a late yellow card for what looked like dissent.
Asked about whether Ronaldo should remain in the wall after his latest mistake, Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo said: “Unfortunately, these things happen, but we’ll evaluate it over the next few days.”