Okay, so there is little doubt about the fact that Ronaldo is aging. At 31 years old he is definitely on the wrong side of 30, let just end it at that.
But is he really losing his powers?
Many pundits, Barcelona ones specifically, have been predicting his sharp decline since anyone cares to remember. But the question remains, is Ronaldo really declining in terms of his performance?
Well, first we’ll have to define what is performance. The one thing critics will never give Ronaldo is his ability to be in the right situations at the right moments.
What does that do for him?
Easy tap-in goals that the likes of Benzema, Bale, Messi, Suarez or even Neymar would even dream of scoring. That isn’t to say that Messi doesn’t score his fair share of tap in goals either but it just goes on to say a lot about Ronaldo has a football player.
Sure, his speed is gone now. He can’t outrun his opponents like he used to. But that should have been expected, no one lives forever and there will come a time when Ronaldo too will say goodbye to the game along with Messi and Bale.
But coming back to the original point. Is Ronaldo declining? Perhaps a more pertinent question would be, is Ronaldo’s decline comparable to the decline of Messi, Bale, Benzema, Neymar and Suarez? Supposedly the top strikers in the world of football?
Statistics tells us that Ronaldo is still on par with any of the folks I just mentioned before. Ronaldo has scored more goals than Bale and Benzema combined in 2016 international season and 2016-2017 club season.
He has also scored more goals than Neymar and Luis Suarez if we combine international performances with club ones for this season.
Like always, it all comes down to Ronaldo vs Messi. The rest are just redundant, to say the least.
Well, if we compare Ronaldo’s worst (according to the likes of Guillem Balague and Sky Sports, not to mention ESPN) season in a Real Madrid shirt to Messi’s current, then we’ll find that Messi is leading Ronaldo by just a single goal.
Ronaldo has scored 11 goals so far for Real Madrid this season and in the year 2016 has scored 13 goals for his international side. Considering that he also played in the Euros and helped his team to win it, that is some achievement, unlike Messi who doesn’t have to do much in dispatching lowly South America sides time after time again.
Anyway, Messi has scored 16 goals for Barcelona this season and has scored a total of 8 goals for his country in the year 2016.
That leaves just one goal between the two. So where is the drastic Ronaldo decline?
As mentioned before, there is little doubt about the fact that Messi is adjusting to his reduced speed and reflexes better than Ronaldo because Ronaldo used to depend so much on speed and power while Messi depended only on speed.
Messi’s touch is likely to get better with age while Ronaldo won’t be able to make up for loss in speed, agility, and strength with his touch or any other skill.
He does have one skill though that no one has and is quite inexplicable in a sense, which is, Ronaldo’s ability to be at the right place, at the right time to score a goal.
That is what makes him such a great player. He is able to create simple goals for himself. This is the kind of ability that the likes of Benzema, Suarez, and Neymar have yet to develop and will probably never develop.
The only other player who makes for himself easy goals is Messi and we all know that he scored plenty of them.
And just for the record, here is how it currently stands between Ronaldo and the rest of the super strikers of Barcelona and Real Madrid in terms of club performance and international performance.
(format: Name – club goals 20916/2017 + international goals in 2016)
Messi – 16 + 8
Ronaldo – 10 + 13
Bale – 7 + 7
Benzema – 5 + 0 (banned from international football for a while)
Suarez – 11 + 3
Neymar – 6 + 4
Would love to hear your thoughts on Ronaldo withering away with time and not being able to compete at the highest level.
Hala Madrid !!!!