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Opinion: How much does Real Madrid miss Cristiano Ronaldo?

ANALYST
Feature
3.02K   //    04 Dec 2018, 19:52 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Julen Lopetegui’s reign as a Real Madrid manager kicked off in a mundane fashion by registering the lowest attendance in the La Liga over the last decade. Just 48,466 fans came through the turnstiles to Santiago Bernabeu for the first League game against Getafe. That was mainly down to the absence of one man – Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese International decided to move to Italian outfit Juventus in the summer transfer window for a fee of 100 million. The 33-year-old’s name was on everybody’s lips at the Los Blancos where he won 4 Champions Leagues and two La Liga during his joy-filled career at Santiago Bernabeu.

His personal record did not take a toil by bailing out the Spanish club on countless occasions during his nine-year stint. He has not given any chance for other footballers to get their hands on the Ballon d'Or during the last four years. He has been consistent ever since he moved to Real Madrid in 2009 by amassing 450 goals in just 438 appearances for the club. Moreover, he contributed 46% of the Los Blancos’ goals during his time at Santiago Bernabeu.

However, the former Spanish national manager Julen Lopetegui decided to gamble by not purchasing a replacement for the Portuguese International. It has cost him the job and club president Florentino Perez decided to promote the Real Castilla coach Santiago Solari aftermath the sacking of Lopetegui. It is a gamble which did not pay off for the Spanish outfit who have struggled for goals since Ronaldo’s departure.

Any team which loses Cristiano Ronaldo would lose several characteristics in the offensive part of the game.


Goal scoring

Haply, Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest goalscorer in modern football. He possesses tremendous skillset inside the six-yard box and from long range by having a nack of a goal to find the back of the net. The former Real Madrid forward has scored more than 650 goals for his club and country in his inordinate career till date.

Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid

After netting 33 goals during his first campaign, the Portuguese International promised a premium of 40 goals per season for rest of his Los Blancos reign. His highest season tally with Real Madrid was 61 goals during the 2014/15 season.

Bar Cristiano Ronaldo, the most number of goals scored by a Real Madrid player during one particular campaign between 2009 and 2018 is Karim Benzema with 32 goals during the 2011/12 season, followed by Gonzalo Higuain with 29 goals a year before. There is a gigantic bridge which is left unbuilt by the Spanish giants.

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The shots attempted in the final third by any other player is nearly two times lesser than what Ronaldo used to do. The 33-year-old had an average of 6.62 shots per game during his time at Real Madrid. Whereas, Gareth Bale is the highest in the current crop of Real Madrid players with 3.68 shots per game.

It is fair to say that the current Juventus forward was the main source of goals for various Real Madrid managers including Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez and Zinedine Zidane.


Creation in the final third

There has been much controversion about the lack of cutting edge from Cristiano Ronaldo in the final third. It is unerring that the former Real Madrid forward is primarily a goalscorer, but his chances creation has always been overlooked.

Ronaldo has assisted his teammates on 131 occasions during his time at Santiago Bernabeu. It accounts for more than 14 assists per season. He has always been in the mix with Mesut Ozil, Kaka, Angel Di Maria, Toni Kroos and Xabi Alonso by creating tons of chances. On the other hand, Recent playmakers James Rodriguez and Isco have struggled to find consistency with the Los Blancos. 

He averages 2.3 key passes per game during his term with Real Madrid, which is the fourth best in the last decade. His vision to spot the runs of the other forwards makes him one of the complete forwards to have graced the game. 


Aerial Prowess

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Aerial prowess is one of the biggest strengths of the Portuguese International. Ronaldo has netted 65 header goals at Real Madrid, which accounts to 15% of his total goal tally with the Los Blancos and thus making the opponent’s life really tougher with his capability to head the ball sweetly.

Even though Ronaldo is just 6-foot-1, he once leapt up to 1.5 inches from a standing start to win a header. This special adroitness makes him a huge threat from corners and free kicks.

Cristiano Ronaldo is a mastery of these attributes and Real Madrid will surely miss a player of his calibre. It will be difficult for Florentino Perez to find a replacement for the 33-year-old. Experienced duo Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema need to step up their gear to fill a giant loophole left by Ronaldo until a new player is bought when the transfer window opens.

Howbeit, the end product Ronaldo possesses does not come close to the likes of Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe who are touted as the potential replacements of the former Real Madrid forward. 


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ANALYST
Avid football follower, writer, LFC Supporter, Chennaiyin FC Assistant Media Manager.
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