In recent weeks, Cristiano Ronaldo has been struggling to match the likes of Lionel Messi in terms of scoring in the Premier League. With just one goal in seven league games, the Portuguese international has made his worst start to a season since 2005-06 at Manchester United. Is his recent slump down to his lack of defensive work? Or is the Portuguese winger just fed up with Rafa Benitez’s defensive tactics?
Cristiano Ronaldo’s defensive work has nosedived
In recent years, Cristiano Ronaldo’s defensive work has taken a dive. With the team’s pressure on him, the Portugal striker has failed to press opponents as he did at the start of the season. This has prompted many to question whether Ronaldo should be given more responsibility for the team’s defensive shortcomings. It’s also not just the defensive work that has dropped, but the asymmetry in the team’s shape.
Real Madrid’s defensive work has taken a dive, but the reason is not hard to find. Real Madrid’s forwards rarely track back and defenders are often unable to close down attacking players. In their last La Liga game against Liverpool, Ronaldo’s defensive work was poor. But his performance against Liverpool last October proved that he has not mastered the defensive art. That left Manchester United open to counterattacks and a quick scorer is essential to a win.
It is hard to find an equilibrium for Real Madrid – the squad is too diverse – to effectively maximize Ronaldo’s strengths. In fact, the team’s strengths and weaknesses have gone into a nosedive, and they need to find a system that makes the most of this unique quality. Unless they are willing to lose one or two of their defensive players, the squad can’t survive another disappointing defeat.
Despite the fact that Ronaldo’s defensive work has declined this season, his offensive work has improved – he has netted six goals in eight games since his return to Old Trafford. The striker has also won the player of the month award for the second consecutive month, a testament to his incredible ability to score goals. A lack of defensive work has become normalised by the pressure placed on him by his critics. But the fact is that his team needs Ronaldo to score goals, and he is fulfilling that part of the bargain.
Despite his enormous star power, the Portuguese international’s lack of defensive work is damaging to the team. The lack of defensive work is detrimental to the team, and his presence has been a scapegoat for United’s inability to improve their performance. However, there are many reasons why Ronaldo’s defensive work has decreased. There are several factors at play here, including the lack of a defensive midfielder.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s athletic ability is the anti-Xabi Alonso
In the recent past, Cristiano Ronaldo’s incredible athletic ability has drawn comparisons to that of Xabi Alonso. Both players possess incredibly high speed, but Cristiano is much faster. He is able to run a hundred meters faster than Usain Bolt, but still maintains control of the ball. While speed is the bane of footballers, Cristiano’s athletic ability allows him to destroy his opponents and carry his team.
In a recent game against Sevilla, Cristiano Ronaldo had a chance to score a penalty, but he chose to shoot instead of receiving the ball. The decision was criticized by teammates Modric, Kroos, and James. The infamous penalty miss, however, was a costly one for Sevilla, as it cost them the game. While the team had a good chance of winning the game, Ronaldo’s decision to shoot was costly to the team.
Xabi Alonso had good athletic ability and a strong passing game. As a central striker, however, Xabi Alonso was immobile and ineffective. While Ronaldo’s athletic ability remains consistent throughout his career, Alonso’s game doesn’t evolve much with age. As a result, Rafa was able to gradually transition him to a central striker position.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s defensive work has nosedived since Ralf Rangnick’s arrival
Cristiano Ronaldo’s defensive work has taken a nosedive under Ralf Rangnick. He is not the only player to blame for the decline. At times, he has been a liability at the back, with little ability to track back. Against Liverpool in October, he was a scapegoat for the Red Devils’ lack of defence.
However, he has also said that he has been compromising his tactics because of Ronaldo’s lack of pressing. While it is hard to argue with Rangnick’s approach, he failed to impress the squad with his Gegenpressing. And if Ronaldo does play in a more aggressive style, it is likely he will be dropped to make way for the hard-working Cavani.
The Portuguese superstar has not been playing well at the back since his move from Real Madrid. He was in a starring role when Ralf Rangnick joined United and scored a brace against Newcastle, but his form has since deteriorated. The Portuguese striker has also been criticised for not scoring in his 10 attempts against Middlesbrough.
The Portuguese superstar has regressed under Rangnick and has not been able to recognise different tactical approaches. Rangnick has flitted between various systems during his time at Manchester United. Interestingly, the Portuguese’s defensive work has been so bad that he was told by Paul Scholes that he could cause problems. Despite being a superstar, however, talent requires hard work.
However, despite his 20 goals this season, Cristiano Ronaldo’s defensive work has dropped under Ralf Rangnick. Rangnick believes United have a massive problem with attacking and believes signing players like Edinson Cavani is a short-sighted and “sticking plaster” strategy. Rangnick would be better served with a striker with a more balanced style.
Cristiano Ronaldo is fed up with Benitez’s defensive tactics
In his recent interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed that the defensive methods he has witnessed at Real Madrid are making him frustrated. He said: “I’m fed up with Benitez’s defensive tactics and I’m going to leave this club.” The Portuguese star blasted Benitez for his ‘defensive tactics’ after being criticised for his defending.
The Real Madrid striker feels that his team’s defensive tactics are detrimental to their image and are not in the best interests of the club. In his own words, he is more comfortable coming in from the left and playing as a centre-forward. He could be the best centre-forward in the world. Benitez, however, must decide whether to keep Ronaldo at no 9 or try to find a way to give him more freedom to play in a more advanced role.
Although he has been playing better recently, the Portuguese has struggled to score in La Liga. He has scored just five goals in 11 games this season and has been unproductive in seven. He has struggled to score in Benitez’s scheme and has made more mistakes than good. Benitez has been a good coach for Cristiano Ronaldo but his defensive tactics have left him frustrated.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has also criticized the tactics of Rafael Benitez. While Real lost their last two games, the Spaniard had a relegation battle. Benzema was the only player to score in all four games, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored against Atletico. Moreover, he was substituted five times in six La Liga starts.
As a former Real Madrid player, Ronaldo is fed up with Benitez for his “defensive tactics”. The manager’s recent spats with Xabi Alonso have caused him to be less than supportive of the team. Although this is unfortunate, it does not excuse him from taking the blame for his performance. This is a classic example of a manager’s weakness.