Real Madrid Star & 5 Time Ballon Dor Winner Cristiano Ronaldo is still prolific but his role has changed at Real Madrid FC.
Los Blancos Forward Ronaldo is still one of the finest goalscorers around the world but the stats highlight his changing role. Guillem Balague takes a look at what’s different for Real Madrid’s main man now…
2016 was a special year for Cristiano Ronaldo at Real madrid. He won the Champions League with Real Madrid and the 2016 European Championships with Portugal.
There was also a bumper new contract at the Bernabeu in November 2016, he won his fourth Ballon d’Or award in December, and he capped the year off with a hat-trick in Real Madrid’s Club World Cup final win.
Cristiano Ronaldo has his work cut out to match those achievements in 2017, but Real Madrid sit one point clear at the top of La Liga with two games in hand. They are also chasing a second consecutive Champions League trophy.
Cristiano Ronaldo turned 32 on Sunday this month, but his scoring record over the last three years shows he is still vital to Madrid. With 96 La Liga goals since the start of the 2014/15 season, he has scored 11 more than anyone else in top Leagues over the world.
This season, he is just behind Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi with 13 La Liga goals to their 16, but he is still averaging roughly one for every game played, and his phenomenal record highlights his status as one of the world’s most consistent goalscorers.
The goals keep coming, but a deeper look at the stats shows how his role has changed.
Ronaldo Age has diminished his physical capabilities. Take his dribbling, for example. From averaging 6.5 dribbles per 90 minutes in his first season at Real Madrid, he now averages just two in match. It has been a steady decline.
Ronaldo’s ability to beat a man was one of his standout qualities when he arrived at Real Madrid from Manchester United. But these days, rather than being a wide player, he is more of a typical number nine.
this means he spends less time on the ball. Like his dribbling totals, his passing stats have steadily fallen. He made 40 passes per 90 minutes in his first season at the Bernabeu. Now, he makes less than 30 in game.
While It’s not surprising, because he having averaged over two chances created per 90 minutes in five of his previous seasons at the Bernabeu, he is now averaging just 0.9.
This stats show he is not the all-action player he was, and some Real Madrid fans even booed him after he missed chances in recent games against Malaga and Real Sociedad.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a victim of his own success having set such high standards, and, for context, it’s worth comparing his recent record to the other top scoring forwards from around Europe leagues.
As you can see in this, only 4 of them – PSG Edinson Cavani, Lyon Alexandre Lacazette, Dortmund Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Barcelona Lionel Messi – have averaged more goals per game than Ronaldo this season 2016/17.
Cristiano Ronaldo is not the dominant player he once was, but he has become a specialist in one or two-touch finishes, and as Real Madrid aim for another triumphant year in 2017, he remains one of the most influential players around.