With Cristiano Ronaldo coming towards the latter stage of his career, one question which must be on the mind of Real fans, is how long can he go on for? The Portuguese captain is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. Becoming a champion of Europe, on both domestic and international fronts. But with Ronaldo’s impact, ever so slightly dwindling on the Madrid team and his insistence on being the ‘main man,’ is it a good thing for the Real team he has just signed a new deal.
Ronaldo recently signed what he called his ‘penultimate’ contract at the Bernabeau. He also expressed his desire to keep going for another 10 years, but to do this Ronaldo must adapt his game. Things have already begun to change slightly, with the No.7 no longer the devastating winger he once was, Ronaldo has transformed into an out and out striker.
It’s easy to see the transition in Ronaldo’s play. He has peaked physically and no longer has the power or pace to beat opponents like he used to. Gone are the days of storming runs on the left or right hand side. He has certainly become a finisher, now ending moves rather than starting them. He averages 46.8 touches per game, which has come down season on season, after his debut campaign in Span, which saw him make 68.2 touches per game. Although he managed a very respectful 15 assists in all competitions last season, those stats might be a bit deceiving. On average, he only manages 28.6 passes per game. His overall impact on games has come down. Giosue Muratore of Betting Tips Stars says “For us here at the site, as long as he is fit, Ronaldo is a threat. All that will change the older he gets, is the closer he will get to the goal. With the ball at his feet he is lethal and so will continue to have an effect”.
Despite a drop in some aspects of his game, Ronaldo lives for goals and its goals that decide games. He has managed to hit 50 in all competitions for the past six seasons in a row. However, these goals have often come in gluts, with question marks being raised over Ronaldo’s ability to influence the big games. Last season he only managed one goal against teams who finished in the top six in La Liga, it was against Barcelona. Ronaldo also proved his importance for the club, with a fantastic 16 goals in the Champions League on route to victory. He scored twice in the round of 16 and grabbed a hat-trick in the quarter finals, in what was a man of the match performance.
But as the forward gets older even his impeccable injury record will be brought into question. There is no doubting that he has the physique to keep going, but no one is immune to age and eventually the body tires out.
Real certainly need to keep the forward. The transfer ban may have forced their hand towards keeping him, but it would have been a huge mistake to let him go. Alvaro Morata was their only signing for the new season, so the importance on Ronaldo has never been more paramount. No wonder his insurance is at $114 million. Zidane has also state just how valuable Ronaldo is and wants him to finish his career with the club, much like the Frenchman did himself. Ronaldo wants to be at a club where he can win the Ballon d’Or at Real he can achieve this.