Real Madrid's European record changes so much without Cristiano Ronaldo's goals

  • Kobe Tong
Villarreal v Real Madrid - La Liga

When you have a player as good as Cristiano Ronaldo in your team, it's impossible to avoid being vaguely dependant.

You could build the most incredible team around them but when their quality warrants five Ballon d'Or titles, they're still going to stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Real Madrid can definitely relate to this feeling and having benefited from Ronaldo's brilliance for nine years, they're now suffering from the hangover that his Juventus move prompted.

Although they didn't enjoy the domestic success they craved, the final years of Ronaldo's spell at the Bernabeu was ladened with victories on the European stage.

In fact, one of the main arguments in the GOAT (greatest of all-time) debate centres around Ronaldo's incredible statistics in the Champions League, compared to say Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo's European success

The Portuguese had previously won the prestigious award with Manchester United but bagged further trophies in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

However, now that we see Real Madrid suffering without him, just how much of those Champions League victories were down to Ronaldo himself?

It's a question that we've sought to answer by completely removing Ronaldo's European goals from history and seeing how that affected their results between 2014 and 2018. 

Real Madrid v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final

What is Ronaldo's goals never happened?

Granted, there are some problems with that form of filtering and we haven't removed Ronaldo assists for example but the impact is still remarkable. Check out the alternative history below:


Round of 16: Real Madrid 5-2 Schalke
Quarter-finals: Real Madrid 2-2 Borussia Dortmund
Semi-finals: Real Madrid 3-0 Bayern Munich
Final: Real Madrid 3-1 Atletico Madrid

If we're feeling kind and assuming that Real would have beaten Dortmund over extra-time or penalties in the last eight, Los Blancos would still go all the way to European glory. Just with fewer goals.



Round of 16: Real Madrid 2-4 Schalke 04

Ok, so this one was slightly cruel from us because Real didn't actually win the Champions League this season anyway, but they would have crashed out two rounds earlier without Ronaldo's goals.


Round of 16: Real Madrid 2-0 AS Roma
Quarter-finals: Real Madrid 0-2 Wolsburg

Ah, well this is where proceedings start to get awkward. Having lost the first game in Germany, it was a Ronaldo hat-trick that turned things around and in this hypothetical situation, we have to chalk the goals out. 



Round of 16: Real Madrid 6-2 Napoli
Quarter-finals: Real Madrid 1-3 Bayern Munich

Los Blancos actually scored six goals during their quarter-final win over Munich, but no less than five of them were scored by Ronaldo himself. Only a Marco Asensio finish prevents a complete whitewash.


Round of 16: Real Madrid 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain
Quarter-final: Real Madrid 1-3 Juventus 


By the way, we're once again being kind by suggesting that Real would have overcome PSG in extra-time or penalties. That only keep them going for one more round, though, as Ronaldo was invaluable against Juventus.

Result: one victory, three quarter-final finishes and one round of 16 exit.

Do you think Ronaldo is the greatest player in Real Madrid history? Have your say in the comments section below.

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