What’s eating CR7?

What’s eating CR7?

Something is not quite right in the world of Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid’s Portuguese superstar walked out of a press conference on Tuesday after questions directed at his poor recent scoring form away from the Bernabeu. We say ‘poor,’ this accusation actually encompassed a run of four matches dating back to November – a veritable drought in the career of this metronomic goal machine but hardly a crisis by any standards. And indeed, this particularly statistic was laid to rest with a goal that helped the Galacticos from Madrid to a comfortable 2-0 victory in Rome on Wednesday night, a win that should see Los Blancos secure a place in the last eight. But the questions still remains, what is really eating CR7?

Form

Would it be fair to say that 2015-16 has not been a stellar year in the otherwise phenomenal career that has been that of Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro? It is a widely-held view that Ronaldo has been somewhat below par so far this season, but a look at the statistics tell a rather different story.

Season La Liga App. La Liga goals Champions League App. Champions League goals Goals/App Ratio
2015/16 24 21 7 12 1.06
2014/15 35 48 12 10 1.23
2013/14 30 31 11 17 1.17
2012/13 30 (4) 34 12 12 1.00
2011/12 37 (1) 46 10 10 1.17
2010/11 32 (2) 40 12 6 1.00
2009/10 28 (1) 26 5 (1) 7 0.94

 

Although his La Liga goals record may be slightly less than a goal a game for the first time since 2009/10, his sensational record-breaking return of 11 goals in the Champions League group stages brings his overall tally up above a goal a game once more, and indeed, better than his record in 2012/13. Hardly a slump by even his own astronomical standards, and justification for his prickly response.

“Who else has scored more goals away from home than me since I arrived in Spain?” said Ronaldo, the all-time top scorer in the Champions League.

“Name one player who has scored more than me. No answer? OK. Thank you.”

Real Madrid relationships

Scrutiny has been placed on the relationships between The Galacticos at Real Madrid, particularly on the friendships, or apparent lack of, that exists between the striking line-up of Ronaldo, France’s Karim Benzema and Wales’ Gareth Bale. Indeed, this was a matter raised by the press in the now infamous press conference, and Ronaldo’s response was to question the importance of a social relationship between teammates, relating back to his Manchester United days in giving his answer;

“When I was at Manchester United, winning the Champions League, with some players such as Giggs, Ferdinand and Scholes, our discussions were limited to ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good night’.

However, Cristiano’s missives about an apparent lack of chumminess with his United colleagues may well be revisionist history, as Rio Ferdinand remembers slightly differently;

“He’s gone off me! He used to live next door to me. Unbelievable! He didn’t like my cooking.

“I actually used to take the mick out of him in the changing rooms, I think he’s got the hump.

And while the harmony between the Real Madrid forward line is being questioned, surely the sense of union at the Camp Nou cannot be helping matters. Lionel Messi’s act of generosity in passing a penalty to Luis Suarez in order to allow his teammate to claim the match ball in a recent game against Celta Vigo is a gesture it is difficult to imagine being made in the Spanish capital.

FIFA Awards

Lionel Messi, it couldn’t fail to be noticed, racked up his fifth World Player of the Year award in January, reclaiming the title Ronaldo had held for the previous two campaigns, thus bringing the head-to-head score between the two giants of the game to 5-3 in the Argentine’s favour. Ronaldo has never hid his desire to be the world’s best player, and the fact that he has had to give up his mantle once more to the Argentine wizard must surely sit uneasily.

The League Position (and the Copa del Rey)

Perhaps the source of much of Ronaldo’s frustration is his side’s current positioning in the domestic and European game. Real Madrid sit in third position in La Liga, a point behind City rivals Atletico and seven adrift of Barcelona, who are pushing for their second consecutive title. Indeed, Real have not won the title since back in 2011-12, so far Ronaldo’s only taste of La Liga success. Then of course, Barcelona are pushing for a domestic double in the Copa del Rey that Real cannot achieve thanks to their elimination at the hands of the Spanish football authorities, who kicked out Los Blancos for fielding an ineligible player. Add to the fact Barcelona are defending Champions League winners, and the root cause of Cristiano’s frustration might well be apparent. A few more goals on Sunday against Malaga may just appease the Portuguese slightly, but is his relentless quest for silverware, both individual and team, that is lighting the fires deep inside Cristiano Ronaldo.

Prognosis

Poor old CR7 is suffering from an acute dose of ‘Lionel Messi and Barcelona-itis.’

La Liga Betting

Malaga V Real Madrid, Sunday 21/02/16 at 15.00 GMT

Malaga 4.75, Draw 3.80, Real Madrid 1.72

 

Champions League Betting

Real Madrid V Roma, Tuesday 08/03/16 at 19.45 GMT

Real Madrid 1.40, Draw 4.75, Roma 7.00

 

To win the Champions League outright

Barcelona – 3.00

Bayern Munich – 4.00

Real Madrid – 5.50

 

Champions League Top Goalscorer

Cristiano Ronaldo – 1.11

Robert Lewandowski – 8.00

Thomas Muller – 21.00

Luis Suarez – 26.00

Lionel Messi – 34.00

 

All odds courtesy of Bet365 and correct as of 17.00 GMT on Friday 19/02/16

By: Steve Paget

 

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