Former Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano has hit out at the Spanish giants by admitting they are a one-man team.
Valdano, who also played for Los Blancos, told Cadena Ser that Madrid are “heavily reliant” on Ronaldo, and fail to perform at their best when the Portuguese isn’t on form.
Ronaldo scored Madrid’s opening goal in their 2-0 win over Roma in Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 clash, his 33rd goal of the season, as Zinedine Zidane’s team look to win their second European title in three years.
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As reported by FourFourTwo, Valdano said: “Real Madrid are heavily reliant on Cristiano and this is not helpful for the balance in the team.
“Madrid are only at their best when Cristiano is at his best. It has been like this for the past five years or so.
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“Madrid are a team with a lot of talent, but there are too many players who want the ball at their feet.”
Stats tell a story
The stats seem to suggest there is some logic to Valdano’s thoughts.
Madrid haven’t emerged victorious in nine of the 15 games Ronaldo has failed to score in, and Zidane’s team have won all 16 games in which the 31-year-old has found the back of the net.
In the league, Ronaldo has a two-goal advantage over his teammate Karim Benzema, which is a slim lead and suggests the Frenchman has kept up with the winger this season.
But Ronaldo has scored 12 Champions League goals to Benzema’s four, a clear sign that the former Manchester United man is the leading figure at the Bernabeu.
In Wednesday’s tie, Madrid were unable to breach Roma’s defence until Ronaldo’s stunning strike in the 51st minute, which served as a gut-punching blow to the Italian side.
Bale injury woes
Los Blancos thought Gareth Bale would be the man to share Ronaldo’s workload but the winger, an £86 million signing from Tottenham in 2013, has spent much of his time in Spain on the injury table.
Sky Sports found that the Welshman has played just 1,164 minutes out of a possible 2,160 in the league this season, and 102 minutes of a possible 540 in Europe.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is a reported target for Madrid but the fact that he has scored just one goal for the Blues - a penalty against MK Dons in the FA Cup - doesn’t give much hope that the Belgian can rival Ronaldo’s feats.
The former Sporting Lisbon player set a record by scoring 17 goals en route to Madrid’s European success in 2014, and he’s on course to create history again this campaign. Should Madrid reach the final, Ronaldo will play in six more games and, although the opposition will only get tougher, he’s more than capable of scoring one goal per game to reach 18 goals in total.
Valdano, like many others, realises that Ronaldo is the star of the show. But the Madrid man wouldn’t have it any other way.