As Hamlet said upon first casting his rheumatic eyes on Ophelia: ‘Legs, legs, legs.’ Civilisationally, much has been made of ladies’ legs. If the hosannas sung by the English trio Right Said Fred in their 1992 hit ‘Deeply Dippy’ — “Deeply dippy about your Spanish eyes/ Sierra smile/ legs that go on for miles and miles” — don’t cut much ice for you, then there’s always the more real estate value given to feminine limbs through the empirical notion of leg insurance. It all started when the studio 20th Century Fox insured the legs of Hollywood 1940s starlet Betty Grable for $ 1 million. As publicity stunts go, it started a legs race (as opposed to an arms race) that led to celebs like Marilyn Monroe, Brooke Shields and Tina Turner getting their arguably most precious assets insured against ‘damage and destruction’.
But what girls can do, boys can do better. So just when we thought that the metrosexual free-kicker David Beckham would be the only one waxing and then insuring his legs — for £ 70 million — we now have news that Real Madrid has insured its star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘thigh and calves’ for a truly knobbly £90 million. (Does it include hamstring injuries, we haven’t yet been told.) Ronaldo, getting too much knocked about in too many matches (or at least seeming to get hurt before tumbling and miraculously getting back after a free kick’s awarded against his opponent) seems to have resulted in the striker’s club getting worried.
Being fouled 34 times in three matches may not necessarily mean that Ronaldo’s legs are in terrible danger. But who cares? When was Jennifer Lopez’s derriere, insured for $ 13.5 million a cheek, ever under threat?