Cristiano Ronaldo is the face of Real Madrid and has been for quite a while now. It’s actually kind of hard to believe he’s only been there since the 2009/10 season and already scored 318 goals for the club. Even when his team hasn’t been winning trophies, Ronaldo has been able to keep his scoring records as spectacular and sometimes, even more, spectacular than the year before.
So, this is why people are starting to ask questions this season about the man. It’s not that anyone doubts his position up there alongside Lionel Messi, but it’s just can he keep up the goal-scoring form from the previous years. It’s all a matter of time before one starts to get into that sort of age where the goal tallies disappear in bunches and then they start to think about hanging up their boots. Madrid fans gloom over that day when they have to see their dear Cristiano hang up his, and so will the entire football world, I suspect, regardless of what you think of him as a person.
Anyways, Ronaldo has, so far, roamed free of that burden and kept his goals coming. This is generally due to, what I understand, can be described as an ‘evolution’ in his playing position as well as style. If you noticed him the last two seasons, he wasn’t trying as much to beat his defender as he did during the previous campaigns. Not that he got rid of his showmanship, no, he still had aplenty, but, he was more about shooting when he gets that half a yard on his man, or even better, making a caressed pass to a teammate. The main point is, if I was to say in FIFA terms, he was and still is more of a ‘Finisher’, rather than a ‘Dribbler’ (his stats were still ridiculous in this, though).
This season with Real, Ronaldo hasn’t been equal to his best in terms of goal-scoring, and not even surpassing his best, like he used to do. If, however, with Ronaldo’s evolution in the game we still judge him by the same old measurements, such as goals scored, then we are making a big mistake. Ronaldo’s game now is more about being more influential to the team, and being the centre of every attack that Real Madrid launch. You can see it with his, though somewhat unhappy looking, assists this year to his teammates, and he’s already got 10 by his name this season in all competitions.
It’s true that he hasn’t scored against any of the big teams yet in La Liga, but let’s give him a break for his age. Even blaming Benitez seems relevant in this case.
Anyhow, Ronaldo is 31-years old and he is not getting any younger. It’s true that he hasn’t scored that many goals this season for Madrid, but maybe his game isn’t just about scoring goals anymore. He still is a ginormous threat to the opposition regardless and is still the most important piece in this Real Madrid puzzle.
The thing with Ronaldo is, whenever people criticize him, he silences them with superficial performances. Let’s hope that, in that sense, we still see the old Cristiano effect.