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Why Can't Real Madrid's Ronaldo Score Against Barcelona?

by Paul Giblin
13 December 2011 13 Comments

He's already scored 17 goals for Real Madrid this season, but why does Christiano Ronaldo struggled to score in el Clasico?

He’s been the hero all season with more appearances on the front pages than a contestant in the X-factor. The papers have fawned over his goals, over his pace and his style and over his ability to fins a team-mate with a pass now and then. But from one day to the next Cristiano Ronaldo has gone from being top dog to the goat.

There is nothing like a game against FC Barcelona to give you a reality check and that’s exactly what happened to Real Madrid on Saturday night.

It had been billed as a duel between two of the three candidates for the Balon D’Or as Ronaldo went head to head against Leo Messi once again, but after 90 minutes when the pitchside reporter asked Xavi Hernandez (the third candidate) if he thought he had a chance of winning the converted award, Xavi’s modest answer said it all…there’s only one candidate and his name is Leo.

Ronaldo has had an outstanding season: so far he has scored 17 goals in the BBVA Primera Liga and if six of those have come from the penalty spot, we should also add that this season his number of assists has also improved. He has looked less self-obsessed, less likely to let fly from 35 yards and more likely to lift his gaze to look for other companions.

Except, of course all of that went out of the window in el Clasico. With Madrid leading 1-0, he blazed high and wide with Angel Di Maria posed to supply what would have been a simple finish. With Barca leading 2-1, he planted the sort of header past the post that he would normally bury with ease. Barcelona duly went down to the other end and Cesc (what had a relatively quiet game) put the game out of reach.

In the bi-polar world of La Liga emotions and reactions are exaggerated: it’s either heaven or hell, which doesn’t held given that Real Madrid fans are not the most forgiving of supporters, nor are they shy of letting their feelings known.

An online poll in pro-Real Madrid newspaper, Marca, singled Ronaldo out as the worst player in the Real Madrid side, which is a bit harsh considering that Fabio Coentrao (€30 million Euros!!! €30 million!!) was also involved in the game.

Ronaldo only scores against Barcelona every 301 minutes while playing for Real Madrid. Is it because he is so obsessed with scoring against Barca? Or is he just intimidated by Leo Messi?

Diario AS points out that while he averages over a goal a game against other teams, Ronaldo only scores against Barcelona every 301 minutes while playing for Real Madrid. Why? Is it because he is so obsessed with scoring against Barca? It is because he is consumed by pride and it gets the better of him? Is it because he’s football’s equivalent of a flat-track bully – great against Betis, but not able to do it when the chips are down? Or is he just intimidated by Leo Messi?

Well it’s good to know that the sports psychologists are able to make money in these troubled times. Patricia Ramirez, who works for Betis (she’s had her work cut out of late given Betis’ recent form) reckons that a player of his ambition will bounce back as soon as possible. (just by chance Madrid’s next league game is against Betis’ hated neighbours, Sevilla). But she admits that there are some sides that you simply feel inferior to (anyone who has watched Atletico Madrid play Real Madrid over the last 10 years will have seen that happen as Atletico are beaten before the game ever kicks off).

But do Madrid feel inferior to Barcelona? Or to put it another way, Do Barca feel superior to Real Madrid? Barca fans certainly do at the moment, but it’s hard to imagine that Madrid’s players feel they are underdogs, despite recent results. After all they did win the Copa del Rey last season AND they won it with a Ronaldo goal: They then pushed Barca hard in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final as Mourinho at last played a positive line up and went on the attack.

Mourinho was again brave on Saturday: none of that ‘lets put Pepe in midfield to splatter em’ mentality from last season, and after that early goal, Madrid were on top until Barca recovered their composure.

And here’s the rub: you need two sides to play football, your destiny is not just in your hands. Pep Guardiola moved his pieces and moved Dani Alves forward 30 yards. Puyol provided cover and Iniesta moved closer to Xavi in the middle with Cesc going wide. Barca got more of the ball and they kept it better, especially after Benzema began to tire and couldn’t track back to keep such close tabs on Xavi. Oh and Barca have someone called Leo Messi, who is quite good as well.

The spaces were constricted on Ronaldo’s side with Marcelo, who usually gets forward so well, unable to do so and Ronaldo was left isolated, especially as Ozil was crowded out. With Benzema sacrificing himself for the team, Ronaldo found himself isolated and as a result opted to go it along rather than to look for companions.

In short, Barcelona did a magnificent job, but to do the job they needed magnificent players and an exceptional coach. As for Madrid, they could still win the league even if they lose again in the Camp Nou, but until then, they will have to remember the Copa del Rey…

More stories about el Clasico…

El Gran Clasico: Why Real Madrid v Barcelona Is More Than Just A Game

5 Things We Learnt From Real Madrid vs Barcelona

Real Madrid Greatest XI vs Barcelona Greatest XI: Who Wins?

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

Stinker 12:16 pm, 13-Dec-2011

He never shows up against big teams, never has, never will.

brian 4:13 pm, 13-Dec-2011

If you look at Ronaldo's goal scoring records..you will find they are oustanding..but if you look more closer..you will see 99 % are scored against lowly opponent...Simple truth is Ronaldo FLOPS in big matches..He cant perform against a decent defenders/decent opponents..If they neutralise his pace..HE IS FINISHED !!!

John 4:26 pm, 13-Dec-2011

Pretty sure as mentioned in the article he scored against Barca in the Copa del Rey final and has scored in a Champions League final and been top scorer in the Champions League before. Besides that though you are absolutely correct he will never show up against a big team...

chayanne 8:24 pm, 13-Dec-2011

cistiano ronaldo is the best player in marida. why dont you guys understand. they just have to work harded to beat barcelona even tho there really good but marid can win i know they. Cristiano is the best player there they wont do nothing without him .

slime 11:01 pm, 13-Dec-2011

He's vain, he's petulant, Has no big-match temperament, Ronaldo, Ronaldo

iyciycc 11:24 pm, 13-Dec-2011

i don't think it is about scoring. while watching the game, it was clear that the only player not tracking back and applying pressure to the ball was ronaldo, although that could have been tactically, what mourinho wanted. if it was, then so be it, but if it wasn't, then as your team's best player, you are obligated to play the hardest, and he certainly did not do so in this last classico

Kabir Chohan 12:19 am, 14-Dec-2011

"He never shows up against big teams, never has, never will" Champions league final V Chelsea scored for United, Copa Del Rey final scored for Madrid...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vd8I4bvWGNY&feature=related

Junior 4:13 am, 14-Dec-2011

I have saying for years, finally the truth is coming out about this guy. I have noticed it before that this guy has no heart. And to that guy above me with the copa de rey goal....please that all was Di Maria's dribbling in order to shake of Puyol, then shot a hail mary in the penalty area and this overhyped transvestite headed it in with that hideous long neck of his.

eltricolor2014 8:11 pm, 14-Dec-2011

If Ronaldo is so awful why is it that only Leo can keep with him? Where are all the other great La Liga players scoring better than he...guess what, there isn't. Ronaldo and many other teams struggle with Barca due to the tik-tak system they employ. If a team is uncomfortable or out of pace without the ball, that team will falter against Barca. Teams, even regular teams not giants, who have beaten Barca play to their style, that is crowd the middle and the goal and wait, and wait for the counter or the set piece rather than throw all their energy to score from open play. Easy-peasy.

MAMMUARSENAL MANIAC 1:58 am, 15-Dec-2011

Ronaldo emerged in a very bad time in soccer time,the legend fantastic,talented player,lovely and God fearing player has emerged in his time, that is LEO MESSI...ronaldo is feeling inferio not to bacelona but to Leo, the amazing and wonderful football at present, Ronaldo has only one tactic, is using much energy than mind,On my side Rc 7 is not a very good player media is the one which lifting him up ! u cant even compare to Van Goals of my Arsenal team........Van is up am wondering why his name is not included in balon de or...Now christian is becoming old and his little fotbal is now dropping down......Second point is bc barca is playing as a team but madrid as an individual ! how can u make it the...............Cr 7 is agaisnt all other madrid players how can they make him shine ? mess is hand to hand with his fellow team mates why shouldnt he be a good player..........people do makes people.................forever and ever barca will dominate spain soccer...madrid will never do it until they love,accept,agree one onether and be a one thing........third they have no permanent playing formular like bacelona, they playing depends upon the team they are playing with.........MESS FOR BALON DE OR FOLLOWED BY XAVI...vAN GOALS SHOULD TAKE THE PLACE CR 7........WOW....

MAMMUARSENAL MANIAC 2:00 am, 15-Dec-2011

COMPARING,COMPARING MESS AND RONALDO IS LIKE COMPARING SLEEP WITH DEATH RESPECTIVELY........MESS IS UP AND SHALL FOREVER BE..........

ManUnited 7 4:42 am, 3-Jan-2012

he is the best one the planet if he can't score why Ikar eat 3 goals.......tht's the reason. what happen with barca vs sevillia .....seilla down to 9 man but barsa didn't score messi misses the spot kick but no one smashing messi. the big difference between real madrid fans......they don't deserve CR7.....Come home Ronaldo

shaun 2:11 pm, 8-Mar-2012

Messi is pure football, Ronaldo is more interested in himself!!

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