Lets make one thing clear from the outset. Real Madrid (ten times European Champions thank you very much), at this moment in time, cannot afford to sell Ronaldo (who has scored 51 goals this season for the sixth consecutive season) at any price.
The reason is slightly complicated but it mainly boils down to the fact that there is not a player on this planet (except for Messi) who can fill in the void that would be left at the club if Real Madrid (with one league title in eight years) end up selling Ronaldo (who will definitely win the next Ballon D’or if Real Madrid beat their city rivals Atletico Madrid in the finals of the Champions League on May 28) to PSG, Manchester United or anyone else in Europe (the center of world football) or USA (where Ronaldo thinks the level of football is atrociously bad.).
Here are the top ten reasons Real Madrid (with a Champions League final looming inside seven days and a transfer ban) need Ronaldo (who is definitely on the wrong side of 30 now) more than ever:
Ronaldo, even at 31 years old, is Still Strong Enough
There are very few defenders in the world who can knock him off the ball either when he is running with it or trying to bring it down from a long ball. Now, that in itself is a remarkable feet given the slender figure Ronaldo has had his entire life.
Even when he isn’t a hundred percent match fit, he can hold onto the ball relatively comfortably and that allows other attacking Real Madrid players (like Bale, Benzema, James and sometimes Isco and Marcelo) to move into their preferred positions to create danger and score goals (there is a reason why for all the Barcelona plaudits, Real Madrid have scored almost as many times as Barcelona have this season in La Liga).
We saw his strength against Manchester City(the only English team that made it into the quater finals of the tournament this season) in the semi finals of the Champions League this season in the return leg at Bernabeu where Ronaldo stood under the challenges of Manchester City’s central defenders rather well for a 31 year old striker.
And no one needs to count the number of times Real Madrid (who finished just one point behind the “mighty” Barcelona this season in La Liga) was able to completely by pass the opponent’s midfield in tough away games because Keylor Navas (Real Madrid’s new Casillas) was able to just lob the ball to Ronaldo (who even at 31 is as strong as a bull off the ball as well as on the ball)in the final third of the pitch where Ronaldo (into his seventh season at Real Madrid) would just deflect the ball into the path of an onrushing Gareth Bale (who is slowly but surely getting back to his Tottenham best) or Benzema (he won’t play for France this Euro season but as result, would come fresh for the next season with Real Madrid) in a more central and advanced position.
Ronaldo, even after 14 seasons of professional top level football, is fast
The goal against Espanyol clearly indicates what has been true for, at least, the past 10 years i.e Ronaldo is the quickest player in the world when it comes to outrunning defenders and then punishing them afterwards.
It is truly remarkable that a guy who has put so much stress on his body because of his style of play, for so long can continue to give top performances in the best league time after time again.
Ronaldo’s agent believes that Ronaldo (who has shown slight signs of slowing down this season. But even with that slowness, he is a step faster than the rest) can keep up this level till he is forty but we think that is because he wants to let other teams know that Ronaldo (despite his age) is an investment that will give high returns for years to come.
Realistically speaking, Ronaldo (also known as Cristiano Ronaldo but since he has surpassed his namesake in every department of the game, deserves to be called just Ronaldo) probably can keep up this level of player for another three years because after that, entropy will kick in and bring down one of the greatest players of all time if not the greatest of all time.
Still Scores Tons Of Goals
With 51 goals this season, it is no wonder that Ronaldo (three times Ballon D’or winner) considers himself the best player in the world.
Suarez (Barcelona forward who was unnecessarily assisted this particular season to score more than he should have) has scored over fifty goals for the first time this season.
Messi (five time Ballon D’or winner) does not even come close to the level of consistency that Ronaldo (now a legitimate Real Madrid legend) has shown since his move to Real Madrid from Manchester United.
And some of the self-proclaimed experts like Guillem Balague of Sky Sports predicted the ultimate demise of the football player we know as Ronaldo (over 300 goals scored for Real Madrid alone now.), he came back and proved them all wrong.
Ronaldo (with over 16 goals in the Champions League this season) scored away from goal, at home and against elite teams to further cement his place alongside the likes of his namesake Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Pele, Maradona, Messi and all the rest.
If Ronaldo keeps this form up, there is no reason for Real Madrid to sell him any time soon.
Still makes assists
Scoring goals and being effective on the wings isn’t all what Ronaldo does on the field for Real Madrid.
Just like Messi of Barcelona (and Suarez this season for Barcelona) Ronaldo can be effective on the field without scoring goals as well.
He can make assists when the situation demands it and has never shied away from passing to his teammate if that particular teammate is in a better position to score a goal.
And he doesn’t just make assists for the sake of racking up his assists count for the season. Ronaldo makes assists in situation where any other action would result in an opportunity lost.
Just to make sure we’re all on the same page. This assist (video below) is known as a thief’s assist, meaning it’s made for the sake of artificially increasing one’s assists count or, against the ethics of football, helping one’s teammate to score goals just so that teammate can climb the rankings in goals scored count.
While the video below shows an assist which lead to a legitimate goal without any ulterior motive.
While Messi and Suarez of Barcelona continue to help each other out in any way they can just so they can beat Ronaldo’s monster statistics for Real Madrid, Ronaldo keeps on performing for his team, Real Madrid, in whichever way he can without giving much thought to his goal tally or assist tally.
Ronaldo is a leader on the pitch
We saw a great example of leadership from the Real Madrid forward in the return leg against Wolfsburg this season in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Real Madrid were 0-2 down from the first away leg after some lackluster performances from the midfield and specially the fullbacks, but Ronaldo lead from the front in the return leg and score two massively important goals in the opening few minutes of the game to put Wolfsburg on the back foot.
From thereon end Wolfsburg were never able to settle on the ball and cause Real Madrid any meaningful trouble. Real Madrid progressed to the semifinals of the Champions League for the sixth straight season and it was all because of Ronaldo’s leadership on the field.
His will to win and survive under adverse conditions remains unmatched. Remember, Ronaldo is a player who at one point in his career, couldn’t score ten goals a season.
Opponents Have to Change Their Gameplan to Account For Ronaldo.
And that is such a massive advantage in itself regardless of the fact if Ronaldo contributes anything on the pitch or not.
The intimidation he wreaks onto his opponents is a direct result of his quick speed and powerful shots.
Opponents line up more defensively when they notice Ronaldo’s name on the teamsheet and that in turn allows Real Madrid to play further up the pitch with more confidence and hence results in matches that are majorly dominated by Real Madrid without putting in any extra work.
Not to mention the calming effect he has on his own teammates. It doesn’t take a genius to observe that whenever Ronaldo is on the pitch, all other players look for him as soon as they receive the ball.
If Ronaldo isn’t in a suitable position then they pass to someone else but their first instinct is to always look for Ronaldo no matter what. Older readers might have noticed similar effect that Zidane had on his teammates where he was a leader on the pitch for most of his career.
Ronaldo Brings Publicity To Real Madrid
And not that Real Madrid is in need of more publicity but it is players like Ronaldo (and Bale) that keep Real Madrid ahead of clubs like Barcelona and Manchester United in terms of its global appeal and shirt sales.
Real Madrid have topped the football money league for years now and the major factor has been the signing of Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2009.
Ronaldo’s arrival heralded Real Madrid’s serious intentions to take back the European mantle from the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich and to some extent Real Madrid have succeeded in that objective primarily because of Ronaldo, both, on the pitch and off the pitch.
Can be Dangerous From Free Kicks
Who needs another lesson 101 on Ronaldo’s prowess in the free kicks department?
No one hopefully because Ronaldo has scored goals like this just in the past season alone:
While Messi has scored a good share of free kicks himself this season, this post isn’t really about Ronaldo vs Messi.
Indirect free kicks header
But here is where Ronaldo leaves everyone including Messi, Suarez and Neymar a country mile behind.
Ronaldo is an absolute beast on indirect free kicks and corners not because he can push and bit his way past opponents to strike the ball into the back of the net, but because he can jump several inches higher than everyone else.
If the delivery is accurate, Ronaldo scores more often than not and that gives Real Madrid a huge advantage in matches where the pace of play has been bogged down due to fouls, low energy levels or whatever.
And though Bale is picking up the pace in this department, Ronaldo even at 31 and past his absolute peak, can jump higher and command the respect of his fellow defenders.
It might seem like the easiest position to score a goal from, but as I am sure the likes of Messi, Terry, Rooney and Beckham would attest to, is not.
Taking an accurate penalty under pressure situations is a skill not many football players have or don’t like to have since if it goes in people say it was a penalty goals and if it doesn’t people give you a stick for missing from 12 yards out. Sort of a catch 22 situation if you like.
But with all that said, this is what happens when you don’t have a penalty expert in your team,
That’s right. You miss an easy goal in a big match which could potentially put your team through to the finals of a big tournament like Champions League.
Here is what happens when your opponents, also, don’t have a penalty specialist,
(from the same match),
So all of this points to one thing, it is better to have Ronaldo in your team than Messi if your season is riding on one simple penalty kick.
There are no two ways about it. Real Madrid needs Ronaldo more than ever because the next three best players in the world play for Barcelona and are likely to play for Barcelona for the rest of their careers.
Well, useful careers anyway.