Wednesday 29 March 2017

The stats that show Manchester City should be terrified of Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, works out with teammates during a training session
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, works out with teammates during a training session

Tom Sheen

Cristiano Ronaldo is the superman of modern football, the perfect prototype if you were to build a superstar in a lab.

Not only does he have almost unrivalled technique, he is, at 6ft 1in, dominant in the air and at 12.5 stone of pure muscle a powerful and strong customer; quite simply, he has everything.

The Portuguese former Ballon d'Or winner was missing at the Etihad last weekend and it showed, with Real Madrid looking largely toothless against a Manchester City side that perhaps should have tried to take more advantage of Zinedine Zidane's weakened team rather than settling for a draw.

Ronaldo is expected to return to the starting line-up at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night and startling stats have revealed just how much better Real Madrid are with the 31-year-old in the side.

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The first noticeable stat is just how few matches Ronaldo actually sits out of. In the six and three quarter seasons since he moved to Spain for a world record fee, the Portuguese has missed only seven of a possible 80 Champions League matches for Los Blancos.

Granted, Real Madrid have only won the trophy and been to the final once in his time, La Decima in 2013-14, Ronaldo and Real have been remarkably consistent in Europe. They have reached the semi-final in five of the seven seasons, with the only early exit in the last-16 in his first season at the club.

Real Madrid may have only missed Ronaldo for seven of those matches but the results are stark. They average 0.39 fewer goals per game and concede 0.20 more. More striking is the fact they've only win 42.8 per cent of those seven matches, three out of 7, compared to 71 per cent of the 73 matches Real Madrid have played with Ronaldo.

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However, it has to be noted that Ronaldo have played in all of the matches in which Real Madrid have been eliminated from the competition - the draws and defeats haven't had a direct impact on Real crashing out of the competition.

Still, Ronaldo has proved he is one of the deadliest strikers in European Cup/Champions League history. He is the highest scoring player ever in European competition, with a record of 93 goals in 125 matches, 10 more than his rival Lionel Messi.

Although the Barcelona superstar has scored at a better ratio overall, Ronaldo has only become more prolific since joining Real Madrid. His 78 goals in 73 matches (1.06 goals per game) would be the best ratio of all time, while the 17 goals he scored in the victorious

2013-14 campaign is a record for an individual season.

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Yes, it is fair to argue that Ronaldo has scored in bunches against weaker competition (six of his goals this season came in two games against Swedish minnows Malmo) but Ronaldo has also proved he is a performer on the biggest stage.

He scored a much-needed second leg hat-trick in the quarter-final against Wolfsburg and has seven goals in 10 semi-final ties, as well as scoring a late goal in the 2013-14 final. The only blemish on his European Cup record is an inability to reach more than the one final.

Manchester City have a massive cause for concern.

This season has told a similar story for Ronaldo. He has missed only four of 48 matches in 2015-16, and while Real have won three of those, they a scoring more than a goal per game less, although their defensive record is slightly better.

In his most recent three-match absence, Real Madrid have won two and picked up that draw in Manchester, but none of the performances were convincing. Gareth Bale scored an 81st minute winner to beat Rayo Vallecano 3-2 and then an 80th minute winner to beat Real Sociedad on Saturday.

Critics complain about the selfish style of his game, but Ronaldo has 47 goals and 19 assists in 44 matches this season. No wonder they are desperate for him back.

(© Independent News Service)

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