La Liga 2016/17: Cristiano Ronaldo's final challenge at Real Madrid is to maintain consistency
What's the story?
Throughout his illustrious career, Cristiano Ronaldo has overcome many hurdles in order to establish himself as one of the best players ever to grace the beautiful game. He recently turned 32 last Sunday and will play his first game after his birthday this weekend.
The Portuguese superstar is the highest goal scorer for Real Madrid in their rich history but now faces a daunting task to continue his supreme form in front of goal in the years to come. History has not been kind to Real Madrid strikers turning 32 as their goalscoring abilities have diminished drastically. Ronaldo faces a race against time as he looks to maintain his consistency and continue playing at the level he has for the last decade.
In case you didn't know...
Ronaldo beat Raul Gonzalez to become Real Madrid's highest ever goal scorer with 384 goals to his name, after joining Los Blancos in 2009 in a world record deal at that time. He is also the highest scorer in UEFA Champions League history with 80 goals and has the unique feat of scoring 50+ goals in his last six seasons for the Spanish giants.
The heart of the matter
Alfredo di Stefano, one of Real's best ever players, saw his average goal tally drop to 24 goals per season after his 32nd birthday. He went on to retire at the age of 38. What is interesting to note is that he averaged 31 goals per season before turning 32.
Also read: 5 best ever dribbles by Cristiano Ronaldo
Raul Gonzalez went from scoring 14 goals a season to a mere five goals a season whereas Ruud van Nistelrooy dropped from 26.5 per season to 5.5 after turning 32. Amancio Amaro scored 13 on an average before turning 32 but saw that figure drop to 6.5. Hugo Sanchez’s goalscoring return dropped from 37 goals a season to just 11 after he turned 32.
It is clear that only Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas have not fared too badly after reaching the milestone as other Madrid strikers have failed miserably.
As Ronaldo reaches the dreaded age of 32, keeping in mind the above-mentioned stats, the four-time Ballon d'Or winner might have to do something unique in order to maintain his high goalscoring return. The Portuguese has scored just 20 goals in the ongoing season and must focus on improving his consistency.
Despite the challenges that he has faced throughout his career, Ronaldo has always found a way of overcoming them and silencing his critics. He looks after his body really well and may play at the highest level for at least six more seasons.
However, maintaining consistency after a certain age has proven to be quite difficult for many legends of the game and Ronaldo might go the same way as Raul and the others. Hopefully, that does not happen and he goes on to cement his place in history as one of the greatest footballers of all time.