Saying that Real Madrid fans owe a lot to Cristiano Ronaldo would be the mother of all understatements.
After all, this is the man who has racked up 368 goals in 356 appearances for Los Blancos and led them to two Champions League victories in as many years. He’s the small matter of their greatest ever goal scorer and has three Ballon d’Ors to back it up with.
All that considered, Real fans booing the Portuguese striker is simply unfathomable, right? Wrong.
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By Ronaldo’s astonishing standards, the start he’s made to this season has proven somewhat underwhelming. Since Euro 2016, the 31-year-old’s finishing has lacked its usual sharpness and goals have been hard to come by.
While most strikers would be reasonably satisfied with four goals in nine appearances, for Ronaldo, it’s practically a crisis.
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After all, 20-year-old Marco Asensio has scored the same amount of goals in an equal amount of appearances. It’s unlikely this will last, but it’s a nugget of information the Spaniard will, obviously, be proud of.
However, Ronaldo’s penalty area struggles came to an uncomfortable climax in Real’s home tie with Athletic Bilbao.
When the ex-Manchester United man missed a seemingly simple one-on-one opportunity, the Los Blancos faithful berated their talisman. What made this all the more incredible was the fact that Real were leading 2-1 at the time.
It may have been a horrendous finish, but such a response was both unexpected and alarming. A video of the incident can be seen below:
In light of this, Zinedine Zidane has voiced his opinion on the incident.
Despite the seemingly out of order actions of the fans, the Frenchman has refused to criticise his own supporters. In fact, the 44-year-old has drawn on his own experiences as a Real player himself to understand the situation.
According to the Mirror, Zidane explained: "I don't understand them but at the same time but at the same time I do because it happened to me too. This can happen.
"The fans expect the best from the players, that's why the Bernabeu is special.
"Cristiano is used to that and it doesn't worry him. Even if there are whistles... the important thing is just to keep on going. We know how important our fans are."
Equally though, the ex-Ballon d’Or winner was keen to back his star man by stating: "I would prefer him to score two or three goals a game but I'm not worried about what's coming.
"He's not finishing chances at the moment but the important thing is to have them. It won't be long till he puts one in."
While Ronaldo may have the backing of Zidane, it’s clear that, on current form, he doesn’t share similar support from the stands.
It serves to show just how ruthlessly unforgiving Spanish football supporters can be. No matter who you are or what you’ve achieved in the past, one dry spell and you’ve got to win the crowds over once again.
Do you think Real Madrid fans were right to boo Cristiano Ronaldo? Have YOUR say in the comment box below