Within the space of 12 months, Cristiano Ronaldo has lost two cup finals, a bad record that has not been known in his illustrious 18 years professional football career. This unprecedented record has forced people to start wondering whether the 35-year-old Portuguese football icon has gotten to the beginning of the end of his football career.
Unlike Lionel Messi, the perceived career rival of Ronaldo, the Portuguese football legend has played in the best three football leagues in the world and in three among the best clubs in Europe. While in the Premier League with Manchester United, he played his best and literally conquered the league and Europe as a whole.
The fast-paced winger decided to cross to Spanish La Liga where his rival was already ruling. He joined Real Madrid and he held his own against Messi and other top-class football stars in the league. It was either him or Messi throughout his 9 years stay at the club.
Ronaldo and his dwindling stats
Just like his days at Manchester United, Ronaldo won everything club football has to offer at Madrid including four Ballon d’Or to bring it to a total of 5 as he won his first at United. But since he decided to move to the Italian Serie A, the story has not been as rosy as it used to be. He struggles to score and win games with the club both locally and in European competitions.
Though he has won the Italian Serie A title with Juventus in his first season at the club and he is also at the verge of winning the second this season, the level of his game has dropped to a large extent since he left Madrid.
For instance, in his last season at Real Madrid (2017-2018), Ronaldo scored 44 goals and made 8 assists in 44 appearances and won the UEFA Champions League. But in his first season at Juventus (2018-2019), Ronaldo scored 27 goals and made 8 assists in 40 appearances.
Also, this season, the Portuguese has scored 25 goals and has made 4 assists in 34 appearances so far. His club is leading second-placed Lazio on the Italian Serie A table with just a point and with 12 matches left to play.
If he does not score more goals in the remaining 12 matches left to play in the league, it means that Ronaldo is consistently regressing in his standard.
A testament to the fact that Ronaldo game is dropping is that he is not the current highest goal scorer in the Italian Serie A. He is in the second spot with 21 goals behind Lazio striker Ciro Immobile with 27 goals.
Besides, his struggle in the domestic league, Ronaldo and Juventus are also struggling in the continent. Before the coronavirus pandemic halted football, Ronaldo could not help Juventus to salvage a point in the first leg of the round of 16 against Lyon. The French Ligue 1 club won the first leg 1-0. Juventus is expected to win the second leg with two un-replied goals to scale through to the quarter-finals.
Ronaldo and Ballon d’Or
More so, his reckoning in the prestigious Ballon d’Or is dropping as he has failed to win the award twice in a roll. He lost it in 2018 to his former teammate at Madrid Luka Modrić. He garnered 478 votes to finish second as against Modrić’s 753 votes. While in 2019, he lost the award to his old-time rival Lionel Messi. This time around, he came third behind Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.
“He (Ronaldo) is in the same shape as the others, like Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa, he is lacking the sharpness to do what works best for him,” Maurizio Sarri, his manager at Juventus said after Coppa Italia lost to Napoli on Wednesday. This could imply that Ronaldo doesn’t have that special touch he used to have in his prime.
So, with all these coupled with the fact that he lost the Coppa Italia final and also lost the Supercoppa Italiana to Lazio last year, we could probably be witnessing the end of Ronaldo’s dominance in world football.
However, his dwindling fortunes might be connected to the fact that he is playing at Juventus under a coach who is not too famous in doing great things with club consistently like the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Zinedine Zidane, and in recent times, Jurgen Klopp. Maybe, it is high time Ronaldo tried to keep reigning with another club.