I do not think that any Real Madrid fans will be too hard on Cristiano Ronaldo today, but the Portuguese striker did fluff a great chance to hand Real Madrid another record last night. When CR7 stepped up to take a penalty to make it 3-0 on a col night in Copenhagen, nobody expected anything other than to see the net bulge. If it had, then Madrid would have set a new Champions League record of 21 goals in the group stage, but it was a poor penalty and we could only equal the record.
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One of the things that has made the Real Madrid and Portugal superstar reach the very pinnacle of the football world is the desire to always improve. So even when Cristiano Ronaldo. So even when he was starring in the Premier League and winning trophies galore with Manchester United, he did not rest on his laurels.
After winning the Ballon D’Or, which Ronaldo did in 2008, most people would be pretty pleased with themselves, but not him. He joined the biggest club in the world and took his performances on to another level. The striker is currently in the form of his life and is most people’s favourite to be named the best player in the world soon, but he is still looking to improve, which can only be good news for Real Madrid fans.
Because if the fierce rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga, you would not normally expect any support for Cristiano Ronaldo coming from the Nou Camp, but it seems the Portuguese star is seen as so deserving of the FIFA Ballon D’Or this year that even people connected with the Catalan club are saying Ronaldo should win.
This still does not mean that CR7 will walk away with the award for the best footballer in the world for 2013, because it all depends on the voting and there is always a bit of bias and favouritism. The Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque, for instance, has already revealed that he will always vote for Spanish players as his top three, while team mates for club and country will vote for each other.
We already knew that Real Madrid was blessed with some serious attacking talent, but there was a real danger that hardly any of those players would be at the World Cup in Brazil next summer. Angel Di Maria’s Argentina had already qualified and Gareth Bale’s Wales had fallen way short.
But the fact that Portugal and France had to qualify via the play-offs was surprising and both teams were on the brink after the first legs. France, especially, were on their way out after losing 2-0 in Ukraine. No European team had ever turned around that deficit, but France did it last night with a 3-0 win in Paris.
Fans of Real Madrid have already lost faith with the process of choosing the winner of the Ballon D’Or, and the recent idiotic performance of the FIFA president Sepp Blatter has done nothing to change their minds. Cristiano Ronaldo is the stand out candidate this year, in my opinion, but that does not mean he will win it.
It appears that the bookies feel it will be the Bayern Munich and France player Franck Ribery who wins it this year, and the people who support him say he deserves it because Bayern won the treble. Well that theory didn’t stop Messi beating Ronaldo last year even though Madrid had ended Barcelona’s title winning and recorded a record number of points into the bargain.
You would think a team club like Real Madrid, with a stellar squad assembled from the world’s best players, would be able to cope with the loss of a player. Apart from Cristiano Ronaldo, who is unique, Madrid should have plenty of options, but there is serious concern among Madrid fans and pundits in Spain that the loss of Sami Khedira could be a real problem.
The German midfielder, who damaged his cruciate ligament in the friendly against Italy on Friday, is thought to be the only player of his kind in the team. There are others who play in the same position, like Alonso, Modric and the new signings Casemiro and Illarramendi, but they are all different.
It is always a danger during the international break, and it has happened again to Real Madrid. A number of players last season came down with the so-called FIFA virus, including Marcelo and Coentrao at the same time, and it struck again last night.
This time it was the Germany midfielder Sami Khedira who was injured, and it was a bad one. The powerful midfielder lasted just over an hour against Italy in his countries 1-1 draw, and today it has been revealed that he has torn a cruciate ligament in his knee, meaning that Real Madrid will have to do without him for around six months.
The last four years, since he joined Real Madrid in 2010, have seen Cristiano Ronaldo take his football onto a whole different level. His scoring rate and all-round influence on games increased hugely and propelled the Portuguese star to the very pinnacle of world football.
However, Ronaldo will be understandably disappointed that his only Ballon D’Or award came while he was still playing for Manchester United. All of the awards since then have gone to the Barcelona player Lionel Messi, but this year the Argentinean is largely out of the running. He has just picked up an injury that will keep him out of action almost until the ceremony.
Real Madrid fans have been getting very frustrated with Karim Benzema recently, but his substitute appearance in El Clasico was a good one and a sign that the France international is finding his way back to form. His turn and shot was like the Benzema of old and he was desperately unlucky to see it smash back down off the bar.
Hopefully, that will be the start of a resurgence in the 25-year old and he continues to find his way back into form. But it may already be too late to save his career at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. According to the Daily Star, the top brass at the club have already decided to go for the Liverpool and Uruguay international star Luis Suarez when the transfer window opens in January.
Fans of Real Madrid have long suspected that the football governing bodies of Uefa and FIFA have been, let’s say, more sympathetic to FC Barcelona than they should be. Jose Mourinho alluded to this last year in the build up to the ceremony for the Ballon D’Or, which Lionel Messi won again, despite Cristiano Ronaldo leading Madrid to win La Liga with a record points total.
Real Madrid have been given more evidence that this unfair bias is indeed the case, and have sent a letter to FIFA demanding an explanation of just what the president Sepp Blatter was tring to achieve when he criticised Ronaldo and admitted his preference for the Barca and Argentina striker recently.