5 managers who successfully stopped Cristiano Ronaldo
With their spot in the Champions League final now confirmed and a top-four place in the Premier League all but secured, Liverpool’s attentions are likely turning towards their opponents in the final – Real Madrid.
The Spanish giants have won the last two Champions League titles, and if Jurgen Klopp wants to be the man to stop them making that three in a row, he needs to do one thing above all else – find a way to stop Cristiano Ronaldo.
CR7 is a force of nature when it comes to the Champions League – even in what’s been considered a weaker season by his standards, he’s still delivered in an insane way – scoring 15 goals in 12 appearances. He isn’t completely unstoppable, though – and if Klopp wants to prevent him doing damage against Liverpool, he could take a leaf from the books of these 5 bosses.
#1 Pep Guardiola
Given how ubiquitous both men are with Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, it’s quite hard to believe that Ronaldo only faced a Guardiola-managed Barca six times in La Liga action (although the two faced off in other competitions on other occasions). And in terms of league success against Ronaldo, no other manager can boast so much as Guardiola. His Barcelona team defeated Ronaldo’s Madrid in four of their six league meetings, with only one victory going Ronaldo’s way.
More impressively, Ronaldo only scored twice – once from the spot – against Pep’s men in La Liga action. So how exactly did Guardiola stop the Portuguese phenomenon? Well, having probably the best club side in the history of the game obviously helped – but so did Guardiola’s style of play at times.
Ronaldo’s first Clasico saw him largely stopped by a strong performance from Barca keeper Victor Valdes while Barca went on to win the game 1-0, while his second – a 2-0 defeat – saw him starved of service due to the midfield dominance of Xavi.
It was Barca’s thumping 5-0 win over Ronaldo’s Madrid in 2010 that really suggested that Pep had the Indian sign over CR7, though. On this occasion, Ronaldo was simply marked out of the game by defender Eric Abidal – who had clearly been told to stop the Portuguese at any cost – and was reduced to being a bit-part player in the game.
While Ronaldo finally managed to get one over Pep in what was Guardiola’s final Clasico – he scored the winner over a jaded-looking Barca side in 2012 to help Madrid to capture the league title – it’s hard to deny the success Guardiola had over him.