La Liga: Ronaldo greets Bale at Real, but what's behind the smile?

When stars collide, sparks fly.

But when Gareth Bale showed up for his first day of work at Real Madrid, there was nothing but smiles from Cristiano Ronaldo, whose standing as the world's most expensive footballer had been shattered by his new teammate recently.

On Wednesday, they appeared to meet by chance at the club carpark.

There was the "buddy handshake" and a thumbsup gesture.

Ronaldo even patted Bale on his waist.

It all looked fine and dandy.

But was Ronaldo's affection real?

The New Paper asked Christian Chua, one of Singapore's leading body language experts, to study the video clip of the meeting.

Chua said he saw nothing to suggest that Ronaldo felt any sense of animosity towards the Welshman.

"They did the 'buddy handshake', which was quite natural," said Chua.

"Then Ronaldo moved in very close to Bale. If he was feeling repulsive, he would have stretched his arm out more and put some distance between them."

Ronaldo then proceeded to pat Bale on the waist as they exchanged greetings, all the while maintaining his smile.

Chua said: "Ronaldo touched Bale. If there was immense hatred, he wouldn't have done that.

"Ronaldo also seemed to be sporting a genuine smile. And he looked Bale in his eyes throughout.

"This is all good news (for the club)."

Chua also pointed out the positioning of Ronaldo's Gucci washbag, clutched under his left arm, as another positive sign.

He said: "You'll notice that Ronaldo had his bag under his left arm as he approached Bale.

"When they started to walk side by side, Ronaldo didn't switch the bag to his right arm, the side Bale is nearer to.

"He would have done that if he didn't like Bale, because it would have served as some form of protection. "Instead, he left himself unprotected."

But following that, the signals are not so clear any more, according to Chua.

Ronaldo, who was with another man, began to walk ahead of Bale, who was also accompanied by an unknown man.

He entered the building first, and did not hold the door open for Bale.

Chua said: "We can see Ronaldo taking off, not walking with Bale any more.

"But we can't conclude that there's tension just because of this.

"Ronaldo had a man walking with him, and so did Bale. That could be why they were not walking together."

What about Bale, who moved on transfer deadline day for a reported world record fee of £85.3 million (S$171.1m), surpassing the £80 million Real Madrid paid Manchester United for Ronaldo in 2009?

Was there anything in the greeting to suggest his feelings about Ronaldo and the move to Real?

Said Chua: "Bale appeared humble, and there appeared to be respect for Ronaldo. He wasn't at all arrogant in his actions.

"In one photo of Bale being faced by television reporters, he had his lips tightly shut. It tells you that he is not much of a media guy.

"Ronaldo was the one who seemed to want to show that he has got something up his sleeve."

But what's for certain is that two of the world's top footballers are now at the same club.

One hill, two tigers.

When that happens, there's usually drama.

You can bet the scrutiny will be relentless. Stay tuned.

 


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