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In defence of Cristiano Ronaldo

Andy Mukolo
ANALYST
Feature
2.52K   //    05 Sep 2018, 17:01 IST

He is the Napoleon of goals. The high priest of poaching. The definition of an all-time great and the yardstick against which a thousand and one forwards are measured and consistently found wanting. He is Cristiano Ronaldo, the most prolific goalscorer alive.

Football is a low-scoring game, which more than triples the euphoria when the famous round object hits the target and the net bulges. It is the cherry on the icing of skill, technique, high-level show booting, heroic defending, dark arts, meticulous planning and tactical genius.

Yet, it is the scarcity, abundance and ability to create goals with staggering consistency, that often characterizes the reputation of a 21st-century centre-forward. As such, it is no coincidence that the mention of Cristiano Ronaldo conjures but one image - goals

Parma Calcio v Juventus - Serie A
Cristiano Ronaldo is the Napoleon of Goals, write him off at your own peril

Lazio's open goal beckoned, it was supposed to be the easiest of tap-ins. Joao Cancelo rolled the ball brilliantly across the box, where both Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic eagerly waited to pounce. Soon Juventus celebrated their second goal, Mandzukic had volleyed the ball in the back of the net after Ronaldo missed a glorious opportunity to register his first goal on the peninsula.

Against Chievo Verona, Cristiano Ronaldo's Serie A debut - in which Federico Bernadeschi snatched it late for il Bianconeri - the Portuguese, deployed as a number 9, came very close with a shot from the edge of the area in the first half.

When Fabrizio Pasqua brought the game to a close, Allegri's men had secured a hard-fought 3-2 win, Cristiano Ronaldo had eight shots on goal, but his name was conspicuously missing from the scoresheet.

After three match days and three impressive performances, Ronaldo has yet to open his Serie A account, but if you think the greatest goal-scorer of all-time is struggling, think again -he's probably just settling, as Massimiliano Allegri fashions out what methods work best for the Old Lady's marquee signing.

In his ninth and final season with Real Madrid, the Portuguese ace appeared to struggle in the early months of Real's title-defending campaign, managing just four La Liga goals mid-way through the season, but when he exploded in January 2018, as he certainly always does, we realised Ronaldo was merely conserving his energy for the business end of the season.

The Blancos legend even failed to score with his first 23 shots of the campaign and had to wait 360 minutes for his first La Liga goal of the season. The exact same script is unfolding at Juventus, but caution and logic suggest we don't repeat the same mistakes.

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Last season, even when millions wrote him off too early, Cristiano bowed out with 44 goals in 44 appearances. In the UEFA Champions League, he remained head and shoulders ahead of the rest. Is it because goals come cheaply to Real Madrid players? We remember he set a 42-goal record in 2007/08 as a Manchester United player, in the most competitive league on the planet.

Yet, it's not about the league or the climate or the numbers, it is about Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and the ridiculous standards they've set for themselves and the rest of the universe.

Premier League, La Liga, International stage or Serie A, CR7 scores goals. He is inextricably attached to the art of goalscoring, it is what he does for a living and even neutrals will agree it's only a matter of time before the "Napoleon of goals" explodes in Juve's white and black.

When the international break is over, the quartet of Frosinone, Sassuolo, Bologna and Napoli will come at Juventus like a swarm of hungry bees, but while the World awaits Ronaldo's first Serie A goal, logic suggests we sit back, enjoy the ride, and allow CR7 to do what he does best.

Perhaps, at the end of the season, we can revisit the subject again and look at the numbers over a chilled bottle of Australian wine.

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