La Liga is all about Real Madrid vs Barcelona, and Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi. The rest are all sideshow.
Barcelona are on a rampage at the moment. They are unbeaten in 29 games and are all set to win the La Liga title again for the second season in a row.
Lionel Messi has been firing all cylinders for the Blaugrana, while Ronaldo in comparison to him has been just a shadowy figure.
However, Ronaldo’s position and stature at the club is such that sometimes it makes you wonder whether Real Madrid consider him bigger than the club. It is almost a crime at Madrid to admit that Ronaldo is second best to Messi.
It has become almost a routine for every Real Madrid manager to make this statement at least once in public that “Ronaldo is the best player in the world”, which should be read as “Ronaldo is better than Messi”.
But is he indispensable to the club? His record this season hasn’t been great, compared to his standards, which makes you think probably the time has come for Madrid to severe ties with their talisman.
Ronaldo has scored in 48.2% of matches he has played this season – his worst return since joining the club for a then record transfer fee from Manchester United.
It is for the first time since his arrival, he hasn’t scored in 50% of the games he has played. Although he has managed goals-per-game ration at above one-a-match, but most of his goals didn’t make any decisive contribution to the team’s victory.
He has failed to score in the matches that really count.
The Portuguese has scored 30 goals already this season in 29 matches, but has scored in only 14 of them. Out of his 30 goals, 5 were against Espanyol at Cornellá, 4 against Malmo, 3 against Shakhtar and Espanyol. He scored a brace on five occasions, but what has been frustrating for the fans is that he goes missing when the team need him most. He has failed to score in big games this season against teams like PSG, Barcelona, Atletico, Bilbao, Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia.
Real Madrid would be on the same points without his goals. It only shows that Madrid can now survive without Ronaldo’s goals.
Ronaldo, 31, is slowly approaching the twilight of his career, and Madrid should cash in on him next summer. They may not get another player of his calibre who can score 50-60 goals every season, but collectively Madrid can become a better team.
Eyebrows were raised when Sir Alex Ferguson sold Ruud van Nistelrooy, who back then was Manchester United’s leading goal scorer at the Old Trafford club. The legendary manager felt the squad was getting too dependant on the Dutchman, and took a bold decision of selling Nistelrooy. He forged a good squad around a bunch of young players and United became a better team, winning three consecutive league titles following Nistelrooy’s departure.
Zidane can easily take a leaf out of Fergie’s book here…