Getting To The Bottom Of Cristiano Ronaldo's Loss Of Form At Real Madrid

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Lucas Navarrete Twitter:   @LucasNavarreteM

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s usual level of excellence isn’t something easy to keep up with. Just like Real Madrid as a whole, the Portuguese player is going through a dip in form that has everybody wondering what’s going wrong. After scoring 12 goals and delivering eight assists over the last ten games of 2014, Cristiano has notched up just four goals while assisting in two through the first eight games of the year. 

Those numbers aren’t bad per se, and they are certainly related to Real Madrid’s mediocre start to 2015 but reports suggesting that he is bothered by his knee again, personal issues on the back back of a much publicized break up with his girlfriend, plus a controversial 30th birthday party hours after the 4-0 loss to Atlético, are getting the fans worried.

Nonetheless, there are some precedents which indicate that Cristiano isn’t declining as a footballer just yet. Last year, he also experienced these same problems after winning the 2013 Ballon D’Or. It seems that Cristiano takes things easier the month after raising that award, or maybe it all has to do with how many games the Spanish clubs play through January. In fact, the red card he saw against Córdoba was due to a similar reaction to what cost him yet another sending off in January 2014 against Athletic Bilbao.

It’s not easy to identify the main reason behind Cristiano’s recent form, but it probably has to do with both the physical and mental part of the game. Those two factors cannot be dissociated, as a player could easily become frustrated and try to do things on the pitch he otherwise wouldn’t even think of if his body isn’t at its best.

The 30-year-old will not be able to feature in every Madrid game for much longer, given his age and some worrying reports about a potentially chronic knee injury. It’s certainly true that Cristiano should be more cautious with his left knee.

He played the 2014 World Cup and the last games of the 2013-2014 season through this injury, risking his future as a player, which Cristiano admitted months later. That’s why, entering the 2014-2015 season, the Portuguese star was expected to rotate more often and give his knee some rest. However, Cristiano hasn’t been on the bench much, something that could be making things physically tougher for him. 

While Cristiano’s goals and assists will ultimately come back, his pace on and off the ball and his overall contribution to Madrid’s play have not been great lately. Cristiano is focusing on a much-more centered role in Madrid’s offensive line as a consequence, meaning that he will likely have to be deployed as a center-striker in the upcoming months.

That should not affect his goal scoring records, as most of the goals Cristiano has scored this season have come from that position anyway, but it will be interesting to see how he passes the playmaking torch to Gareth Bale or Isco, as Cristiano becomes more of a pure poacher. 

One way or another, there’s no reason to push the panic button just yet. As soon as Madrid improve - something that should happen when Pepe and Modric come back from their injuries - so will Cristiano's performances.

In the meantime, it would be worth noting that professional football players also have private issues which can affect their performances. If the bad form goes on for more than just one month, and if there are more signs of physical problems with his left knee, then Madrid will have every right to question what’s happening with their star player.

Until then, Cristiano Ronaldo has done enough for the club in the past and also in this season to earn the coaches, board and fans’ trust.


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