Football

Cristiano Ronaldo is seemingly no longer as deadly in front of goal.

Statistics show Cristiano Ronaldo's decline [Infographic]

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He's had a difficult time of it recently and Cristiano Ronaldo's January will not be getting any better with the release of these statistics from ESPN.

Having lost out to Lionel Messi for last year's Ballon d'Or, Ronaldo's career seems to be rapidly approaching a crossroads. 

Rumours and indications of his decline have been widespread; however, these statistics do point towards the fact Ronaldo may finally be on the downhill slope.

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Goals have long been the centre of Ronaldo's game and ESPN's findings indicate the 30-year-old is no longer quite as deadly in front of goal.

For the first time since his arrival at the Bernabeu in 2009, Ronaldo's goals per minute ratio has exceeded 100. For mere mortals a goal every 118 minutes would be more than an acceptable - in contrast, Olivier Giroud is enjoying the best season of his Arsenal career with a goal every 126 minutes whilst Harry Kane's is up at 155 - however, Ronaldo has always been compared with the great, rather than good. 

Real Betis Balompie v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Last season with 35 goals in just 35 league games, the Portuguese forward managed a staggering goal every 65 minutes. Even during his transition season following his transfer from Manchester United, Ronaldo still managed to find the net every 95 minutes.

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This slowing in Ronaldo's scoring rate is certainly not down to lack of trying either. Ronaldo has had 135 shots in league games this season, of which only 52 have been on target. Thus with 16 league goals, only 11.85% of Ronaldo's shots have beaten the opposition keeper.

Whilst his goalscoring prowess appears to be on the wane, Ronaldo's ego is undiminished - Gareth Bale's leaked contract indicates Madrid concealed the Welshman's transfer fee so as to not offend Ronaldo - and the superior scoring rates of his teammates would prove particularly painful reading.

Despite the controversy concerning his international teammate Matthieu Valbuena, Karim Benzema has been in fine form since his return to Los Blancos' starting XI. The French striker has 17 league goals with a strike every 69 minutes, with 28.3% of his shots finding the net.

Similarly following a difficult second season in Madrid, Bale has begun to show his best form this year. Before a recent injury temporarily curtailed his season the Welsh winger had manged 13 goals, at a rate of one every 89 minutes with 26% of his shots beating the keeper.

Let's not forget

If Ronaldo is finally slowing down he is doing so from a fair speed. For the last decade, the former United star has lit up European football, smashing records and securing his place amongst the all-time greats of the game. 

As their record goalscorer in under seven seasons at the club, Madrid's £80 million investment in Ronaldo has proven to be worth every penny, as it is impossible to imagine them winning the 2011 La Liga or 'La Decima' in 2013 without him.

Regardless of what he does between now and the end of his career Ronaldo will be remembered as one of the greats of modern football; however, this greatness may be on show, less frequently from now on. 

Do you think we have seen the best of Cristiano Ronaldo? Give us your opinion in the comment box below!

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Topics:
Football
Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United

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