In the win over Real Sociedad, Ronaldo scored two crucial goals which won the game for Real Madrid. One of them was probably his greatest goal ever scored in terms of difficulty of the shot. The technique that went into that shot was astronomical yet some pundits ranked Messi’s performance against Real Betis with 4 stars while Ronaldo’s with three.
The bias is rather clear. When Ronaldo scores, it’s because it was a tap-in goal or Ronaldo finished off a great team move. When Messi scores, it’s because he was the initiator, the creator, the assistor, the scorer and the finisher, everything combined together.
Can there be anything more laughably wrong?
Considering only last night performances, Ronaldo had two take-ons with a hundred percent success rate while Messi had 4 take-ons with seventy five percent success rate.
Ronaldo didn’t create any chances for his teammates (which should be read: none of Ronaldo’s passess led to a shot on goal) per say but his wonder dribble on the left side near the penalty box in the second half counted for nothing to people who record these statistics. His accurate cross to Danilo after that same dribble which lead to Benzema’s shot when Danilo passed it back to Benzema with his first touch also didn’t count for anything as far as Ronaldo’s performance is concerned.
And this is the problem with statistics. Most statistics tell lies while some tell half the story and even fewer are useful enough to count for anything that happened on the pitch.
Why Was Ronaldo’s Goal Great?
Well for starters, Real Madrid were stuck in a street fight with Real Sociedad who came to the Bernabeu with extreme confidence and didn’t show any respect to the Real Madrid players.
The crowd were booing the home team for most of the game because Real Madrid couldn’t put three good passes together without losing the ball first.
The score was 1-1 and Real Madrid players knew that they needed the win to stop Barcelona increase its lead over The Whites.
In that moment, it seems preposterous that Ronaldo would even attempt to score a goal like the one he did eventually score.
Ronaldo hit the ball off a corner.
Yes you read that right. Marcelo took the corner from the left hand side in the absence of Kroos and the ball was swinging away from Ronaldo.
Not to mention that the ball came down from some height and had spin on it.
Add to that the fact that Ronaldo was backing off as he was trying to adjust his position and balance, in order to hit the ball cleanly enough to beat the goalkeeper from a reasonable distance.
Volley shots are always difficult but they are super difficult when a player has to side volley it rather than the normal volley, the Scholes type, where you have to just lean in with your whole body and connect with your laces.
Hitting A Volley While Moving Is One Thing.
Hitting it with your wrong foot is quite another. The fact that Ronaldo didn’t even take a touch to bring down the ball in order to hit it properly with his weaker foot, only adds to the difficulty of the technique that was required to score from such a scenario.
Ronaldo’s technique in this case was remarkable.
Yes, he did take a decent amount of educated guess in presuming the position of the goalkeeper relative to the goal. It might be possible that Ronaldo didn’t even know where he was with relation to the goal.
But do professional player, who have spent tens of thousands of hours on the pitch practising with nothing but a ball at their feet day and night, need to know where the goal is in order to shoot with precision?
I invite you to ask any college player that question and you are more than likely to hear the same answer that no. You inherently know where the position of the goal is even when you haven’t had a look to see where exactly it is.
Ronaldo’s instincts were razor sharp.
Another fact that makes the goal even more remarkable is that Ronaldo was surrounded by Real Sociedad players.
Obviously, it was a corner so they had to defend in their own box but if you look at it from Ronaldo’s perspective, you are thinking only two things,
- I have to get this shot away as quickly as I can so there is no time to take a touch and set it up
- Someone must be closing me down quickly so I can’t take the risk of passing it to a teammate. One chance, one shot.
The Best Part Is Perhaps That Ronaldo’s Goal Came When Real Madrid Needed It Most
Now, even though the scoreline was 1-1, Real Madrid players knew deep down that were it not for some fortunate refereeing decisions in the first half, Real Madrid would not have been level on goals with Real Sociedad.
Ronaldo missed one penalty in the first half but was awarded with another a few minutes later which he authoritatively put away to draw the game and earn a point for Real Madrid as far as league totals were concerned.
With the team not playing to the level that was expected, someone had to stand up and be counted.
Ronaldo, once again, stood up and rocketed in a left foot volley. One only needs to look at the reaction of Modric and Nacho to realize how special a goal it was. On the other hand, Ronaldo’s celebration also didn’t hide the fact that it was indeed a brilliant brilliant strike.
What If Messi Had Scored That Goal
First of all, I doubt if Messi would have been able to score (even from his left foot) that kind of a goal even on one of his best days.
Messi is more of a dribbler than a finisher. He gets himself into these positions putting the ball past the keeper becomes a mere formality since the hard work of actually getting to the keeper without someone stealing the ball from you, is bread and butter for the majestical Messi.
But even then, there is little doubt that had Messi pulled off such a strike, the strong Barcelona social media brigade would have erupted with adulations for ‘greatest of all times’ Lionel Messi.
One can just imagine respected but now clearly Barcelona fanboys who are called (and are rather trained) as journalists having their eyes popped right out of their sockets on having witnessed such a goal.
I am talking about people like,
- Ben Hayward at Goal.com
- Guillem Balague for Sky sports.
- Gary Lineker
- A guy by the name of Benjamin Morris
And the interesting thing is that these reporters might all be nice people. But in their appreciation for Lionel Messi and his place in history, they have clearly overstepped the mark.
Ronaldo has single handedly won another three points for Real Madrid through the force of his sheer will and technical skill.
Is he still worth it for Real Madrid? Or should he be made to make way for a now fading Gareth Bale?