Today, the crew takes a look at Real Madrid and ask whether they are a one man team, or if they will cope without Cristiano Ronaldo who will be suspended this weekend following his sending off.
Madrid have been without Cristiano Ronaldo in their starting line-up on three occasions this season. On all three of these occasions, they suffered a loss. Not only does Ronaldo provide goals (34 this season), but he also provides assists (10 this season). In addition to this, he provides a winning attitude and leads by example - which is incredibly important for the team’s morale.
However, there are several other factors that are on Real Madrid’s side this time round…
Firstly, Ronaldo’s defensive contribution is shockingly bad. He is known to track back on occasion, but he rarely finds himself in his own half and it hasn’t helped the team in terms of retaining possession. His 0.1 tackles and no interceptions per game this season provide evidence to how he cannot be relied upon in this context. So, if a midfielder was to be brought in to take Ronaldo’s place in the team, we may find that Madrid will be retaining possession a lot better by making use of a 4-4-2 formation, that adds balance to the team.
Secondly, it allows Gareth Bale to take the spotlight for once. Bale thrives on being the focal point of attack, as we saw in last year’s Copa del Rey final and during his years at Tottenham Hotspur. With Ronaldo out of the team, he will have the opportunity to take on this role where he can play to the best of his ability.
Thirdly, there are players that can replace Ronaldo now. Real Madrid have spent millions assembling a world-class squad and now they have the likes of Jese, James Rodriguez and, if he’s fit, Isco to take over Ronaldo’s place in the starting XI. If any one of these players comes in and a formation change is implemented or not, Carlo Ancelotti’s men have what it takes to grab a win against any team in the world.
So, now that we’ve taken a look at how Real Madrid could be a better or worse team without their Portuguese star, we will pose the question to you, the readers…
Do you think Real Madrid can survive without Cristiano Ronaldo?