Josh Challies of VivaFootballCalcio laments the decline of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in recent weeks.
Josh Challies of VivaFootballCalcio laments the decline of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in recent weeks.
In the past few months, seemingly everything about Cristiano Ronaldo has changed. In the back end of the year he went on a ridiculous goalscoring run, shattering records and putting Real Madrid at the pinnacle of European football and their own domestic league.
Those performances, deservedly, won him the Ballon D’Or for the second consecutive year but since then, we have witnessed a different Ronaldo. A Ronaldo that has struggled to find the net and has been so out of touch that many fans want to see him dropped.
The issues were highlighted last weekend in the 2-0 victory over Levante, where Gareth Bale scored both to end a poor run for the Welshman. Any other player would be delighted for his team-mate, for his friend- but Ronaldo seemingly wasn’t, as pictures showed the Portuguese ace angry that the ball wasn’t steered his way.
Real Madrid in recent years have done all they can to keep Ronaldo happy, they even refused to disclose that the fee paid for Gareth Bale was a new transfer record- as they didn’t want to harm the players ego.
That was all well and good whilst Ronaldo was in good form but now he has the media and fans on his back, he’s not performing and he’s throwing his toys out of the pram. He is a media playboy, who thrives on his image- and right now, that’s the problem.
Across Spain, Lionel Messi has gone back to what he does best- scoring goals, embarrassing defenders and shattering records. He is leaving Ronaldo in his wake- and there’s every suggestion that Messi is indeed the best ever and Ronaldo isn’t actually a match for him.
The question with Ronaldo is a rather simple one: is this the Ronaldo we will now have to get used to? Or is it a short blip of form. I sincerely hope it’s the latter for footballing reasons and off the field.
Ronaldo’s image is a real issue, as he needs to be the central figure in everything. If he’s not performing, then that cannot be the case- and his relationship with the team and Real Madrid’s hierarchy could turn toxic.
There’s even more evidence for this by the fact that other stars, like James Rodriguez and Bale, are far less maintenance than Ronaldo. Real are finding their form again without their big man- and he won’t like that at all.
With the El Clasico this weekend, it’s the perfect opportunity for Los Blancos’ diva to thrust himself into the limelight again. If he does score this weekend, expect an over exuberant celebration- an ‘I am the man’ statement.
Is he though? Right now it’s too soon to tell but with him getting older, and other stars emerging, this could be the beginning of the end of Cristiano Ronaldo. At already 30-years-old, he needs to ensure he doesn’t upset the apple cart.
It may seem like a bold statement- but Ronaldo’s performances in the next few games, particularly in El Clasico, could decide whether Ronaldo really could leave the Santiago Bernabeu this summer.
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