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The curious case of Cristiano Ronaldo as Real Madrid superstar suffers supposed decline

Lee Gormley | 29 October 2016

The curious case of Cristiano Ronaldo

Being a three-time Ballon d’Or winner, triple Champions League victor and one of the most clinical finishers in world football clearly comes at a price.

Cristiano Ronaldo, a once in a lifetime player that has claimed every club and personal accolade there is to win in football, has set such a remarkably high standard that the slightest blip in form sees him come under scrutiny.

Despite a supposed Cristiano Ronaldo form decline, Real Madrid La Liga odds look promising for this season.

Despite a supposed Cristiano Ronaldo form decline, Real Madrid La Liga odds look promising for this season.

The Portuguese superstar is currently enduring such a scenario, with the recent Euro 2016 winning captain having come under fire for his supposed decline in form for Zinedine Zidane’s Los Blancos this current campaign.

Ronaldo is on a poor run of goalscoring form for Real, who are 6/4 with Coral to win La Liga, causing reactionary Bernabeu fans to swiftly turn on him, but is the misfiring Madrid marksman in decline or simply proving he’s just human?

Ronaldo suffering from lack of goals

Last term, Ronaldo bagged an incredible 54 goals in 57 outings for club and country in a season which he won all of the UEFA Best Player in Europe award, a third Champions League medal and capped it off with a Euro 2016 crown in the summer.

Despite such success, the 31-year-old saw his form bizarrely come under the spotlight last campaign, with fans showing early signs of turning on the Real and Portugal ace. Though the frustration of supporters has come to fruition this term after a lack of goals from the usually rampant forward.

The Madrid marksman has been suffering from a blip on home soil.

The Madrid marksman has been suffering from a blip on home soil.

So far this term Ronaldo has managed to dispatch nine times across 11 appearances on all fronts for club and country; hardly form which warrants immediate concern. Though on closer inspection, he has netted four times for Real in nine games, across 768 minutes of play in all competitions.

The former Manchester United attacker saw his recent performance in the win over Athletic Bilbao met with jeers from his own fans, and teammate Toni Kroos was visibly agitated with Ronaldo opting to shoot on goal rather than easily tee him or Alvaro Morata up for goal.

Following the Bilbao game, Ronaldo had subsequently gone four home games without scoring, his worst run since arriving at the club as the world’s most expensive player at the time in 2009. Zidane’s decision to take Isco off in that clash rather than a visibly struggling Ronaldo was also met with loud sneers, adding to the growing vexation surrounding the latter’s present run.

Critics spurring Ronaldo on

Despite Ronaldo having come under fire for his supposed underwhelming showings in white, the highly-driven all-time Galacticos goalscorer admitted he hasn’t let criticism affect him and is using such a backlash as motivation.

Ronaldo is confident of bouncing back to top form this campaign at the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo is confident of bouncing back to top form this campaign at the Bernabeu.

“You have to use negative people and experiences to motivate you,” he stated. “I actually need my haters, they have helped me achieve all I have achieved.”

With this being possibly the toughest period of his career, Ronaldo was also asked whether he looks up to any other past legends as motivation too, but gave a typically modest answer.

“When I was younger I looked at Portuguese players like Figo and Rui Costa, and saw how they were performing on the biggest stage – and I knew I wanted to reach that level,” he continued.

“My biggest inspiration has always been myself…”

“But my biggest inspiration has always been myself; nobody puts bigger demands on me than me. I said I admired Figo and Rui Costa, but I never wanted to emulate anybody – I have just always focused on being the best me I can. I have been the biggest influence on my own career.”

Ronaldo angered teammates and fans when failing to score against Bilbao, seeing his shot saved rather than square the ball for Kroos or Morata.

Ronaldo angered teammates and fans when failing to score against Bilbao, seeing his shot saved rather than square the ball for Kroos or Morata.

The Los Blancos hitman entered this current campaign on the back of six successive seasons in which he had sensationally struck 50 or more goals, setting himself a massively high standard to emulate each passing year.

If Ronaldo ultimately doesn’t reach a half-century of strikes this season, then maybe then it can be acknowledged that he is enduring some sort of a career decline. But until the end of the term, Portugal’s all-time marksman could yet bounce back to prove doubters wrong once again.

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