Few players in the world can claim to be anywhere near as prolific as Cristiano Ronaldo has been these past few years for Real Madrid; he has scored an incredible 374 goals in 361 appearances, at the rate of 1.036 goals per game.
But that hasn’t stopped Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane, from coming out and stating that the Portugal international may not keep the center forward spot in the future, that too coming after Ronaldo was dominant, scoring a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the derby that saw the Los Blancos cement the top spot in the league.
"It's not definitive. He was comfortable, we know that, but we'll see how things are for every match," he said at a post-match conference after Real’s victory.
"It was a huge game from the beginning against a tough opponent. We interpreted the game very well and we started strong.
"I'm happy with what we did. It's not easy; there are few teams who will win 3-0 here.
"The first 45 minutes were phenomenal, then we suffered a little, which is logical, but after those 10 minutes we carried on without losing the ball and with the necessary intensity against an opponent who are always difficult on this pitch.
"Maybe 3-0 is a bit hard on them, but we did very well. We have to keep doing what we're doing. We've won nothing yet."
He added, "I'm happy with the efforts of everyone, we defended together and we all had a great energy - even Sergio Ramos on the bench! He didn't look one hundred per cent and I'm not in favour of taking risks with the players."
Real Madrid triumphed 3-0 at the Vincente Calderon, thanks to 3 goals from the Portugal captain – a free kick, a penalty and a close-range goal. These goals also saw Ronaldo surpass another Real legend, Alfredo Di Stefano’s long-standing record of 17 goals to become the highest scorer in the history of the derby.
Real started the game with what was effectively a 4-4-2 in attacking phases and 4-5-1 during defensive phases which saw Ronaldo deployed in a number 9 role with Isco just behind him. He seemed to turn back the years to deliver what was definitely one of his best performances of the season, relentless and clinical in attack and tracking back furiously to win the ball back and helping implement Zidane’s pressing game in defence.
Similar sentiments were previously echoed by former coach Carlo Ancelotti who also claimed that the Portugal international wasn’t a ‘striker’ by trade.
Ancelotti had expressed his opinion that Ronaldo should be offered more freedom, saying “There is one position which isn't the best one for Cristiano Ronaldo - the centre-forward role. Cristiano doesn't like playing with his back to goal.”
“He prefers to find space out wide on the wings and face the rival goal head on. Cristiano is always able to find his place, because he has a special talent in being able to move into spaces out on the pitch.”
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