In the age of wall-to-wall soccer coverage, goal celebrations have become their own branch of performance art—a few moments in the spotlight to make a statement, soak in the cheers, and massage the ego. Think Peter Crouch's robot dance or Mario Balotelli's "Why Always Me?" message on an undershirt.
They are so elaborate and so varied, that the behavioral expert Desmond Morris once identified 18 different kinds of celebration, from the "embrace invitation" to the "gang-lift."
He could add a 19th: the non-celebration.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has promised to deliver a prime example on Wednesday night should he score against his former club, Manchester United, in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie. As he tells it, the gesture would be a mark of respect for the club that he called home for six years and turned him into the world's most expensive player.
But is the non-celebration really a mark of respect or is it just as self-indulgent as a backflip?