Home > Football > Cristiano Ronaldo: Back to his best or continuing top form?

Cristiano Ronaldo: Back to his best or continuing top form?

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Depending on whom you ask, Cristiano Ronaldo is the answer to the question of who is the world’s best footballer. Shooting ability, passing accuracy, vision, pace, aerial prowess, set-play wizardry; the Portuguese possesses it all. Over the last four years, Ronaldo has established himself as one of the world’s elite players, terrorising defences from Wigan to Rome to Bilbao and just about everywhere in between. His 42 goal season in 2007-08 helped Manchester United to a Premier League and Champions League double and netted him a whole host of individual awards including the prestigious Ballon d’Or and European Golden Shoe.

He was at this point the undisputed king of football, but there is a feeling amongst some that he has slipped somewhat since. Is this really the case? In short, the answer is no.

Following his record-breaking season, Ronaldo underwent ankle surgery and so did not return to first team action until September 2008. Once Ronaldo hit his stride following his time on the sidelines, he was back to his unplayable best. Whilst he was unable to emulate his 42 goal haul of the previous season, he was still Manchester United’s top goalscorer with 18 goals in the Premier League (second only to Nicolas Anelka) and 26 goals in all competitions. This meant that in his last three seasons at the English club, Ronaldo had scored an incredible 91 goals in all competitions and had contributed an impressive 36 assists. Not bad for a player who is not a striker in the true sense of the word. Furthermore, the 2008-09 season saw him win a third consecutive Premier League title and reach a second Champions League Final. On a personal level, he finished runner-up to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in voting for the Ballon d’Or. Not bad for a player supposedly struggling for form.

In the summer of 2009, the inevitable came to pass and Ronaldo got his dream move to football’s glamour club, Real Madrid. The transfer made headlines all over the world as it smashed the previous world record fee with Los Merengues shelling out £80 million for his services. Would Ronaldo be fazed by the price tag and expectations? Not at all.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been in imperious form this season (This Image is the property of AFP)

Despite injury problems, he formed a formidable strike partnership with Argentine Gonzalo Higuaín and continued his scintillating form, netting 33 goals in just 35 appearances in all competitions and added seven assists to boot. Although he failed to lead Real Madrid to the Spanish league title, there was no doubt that his first season at the Santiago Bernabéu had been a success as Real Madrid finished just three points behind Barcelona (as compared to a nine point difference the previous year).

The 2010-11 started after what had been a lacklustre World Cup for Ronaldo, Messi and many of the world’s leading players. The question was asked: were these poor performances a sign of things to come? In the case of Ronaldo, absolutely not.

His start to the season has been nothing short of sensational and his present form is arguably better than it was during the 2007-08 season. He is currently the top scorer in La Liga having found the net 14 times in just 12 games and has scored three times in five Champions League games. Throw in six assists and you have a picture of a player very much in form and very possibly the best in the world.

When Ronaldo is in the form that he currently is, he is simply unplayable. His two-footedness means that defenders do not have the option of forcing him on to his weak foot, very few can match his speed and his clean accurate shooting gives goalkeepers little chance. Ronaldo is clearly enjoying life in the Spanish capital and he seems to love playing under compatriot Jose Mourinho. With a fully fit Ronaldo firing on all cylinders, as well as a more than capable supporting cast, Real Madrid are serious contenders for a Champions League and La Liga double. The first real test of their credentials comes this Monday (29th November) as they take on defending champions Barcelona at the Camp Nou and they will certainly be looking to Ronaldo to lead them to victory against their great rivals.

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