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Has Cristiano Ronaldo's decline started?

Cecilia by Cecilia @besoccer_es - 0 5,452

Pin Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted yet again against AC Milan. AFP
Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted yet again against AC Milan. AFP

Has Cristiano Ronaldo's decline started?

Cecilia by Cecilia @besoccer_es - 0 5,452

Cristiano Ronaldo's career has been record-breaking in every way, with numerous titles and individual awards to show for it, but the quality of his performances has been in clear decline since last season, as his substitution in the past two games for Juventus show.

It is not usual for Cristiano Ronaldo to be substituted in a match, much less two consecutive matches. Still, that's exactly what happened the past week against Lokomotiv in the Champions League and against Milan in Serie A. Maurizio Sarri explained that it is due to physical problems.

Although this should not be of worry, it is uncharacteristic for Cristiano Ronaldo to have frequent pain or suffer muscular and health mishaps. His privileged physiognomy has offered contradictory signs in recent dates. On his way to 35, the Portuguese striker begins to feel what he has never felt before and what is usual for the rest of the 'mortal' footballers.

Can discomfort be a sign of decline for Cristiano Ronaldo, a player who sees himself dominating football beyond the age of 40?  His performance seems to show that it could indeed be the start of the end for Cristiano, who is evidently not the same player he used to be.

In his last campaign with Madrid, Cristiano scored 44 goals with the club. In his debut with Juventus, he scored 28 with one less game played (43, by 44 in the previous one). After 14 official matches played with Juventus, the Portuguese star had only scored six goals, two of them from the penalty spot. An average that is not in line with what we've come to expect from him, and his numbers show it too. 

When taking a closer look to his numbers, it is evident his offensive contribution has declined significantly. Cristiano has gone from generating 1.07 goals per game in his last season with Madrid to producing 0.37 in the current one with Juventus. The figure combines those he's scored himself along with the assists he's given, but excludes all penalties since those are not a result of his performance. ProFootballDB's analysis shows there is indeed a visible decline. 

The downward curve is particularly visible with his move from Real Madrid to Juventus. The reasons for it are varied: new league to get used, new teammates, physical decline... 

The Serie A has been historically associated with defensive strength and difficult tasks for strikers, although in recent years, numbers show more goals are scored in the Serie A than in LaLiga. In the 2018-2019 season, there were 2.59 goals per match on average in Laliga, to 2.68 in the Serie A. In 2019-2020, the difference is even larger: in Italy 2.84 goals are scored on average to Spain's 2.54 per match. 

Cristiano Ronaldo was visibly frustrated after his second substitution in less than a week. However, his impact on games and on the entire team is not the one his fans were used to anymore. The matchdays to come will tell us if his decline is well and truly upon us, or if it's just a bad spell... But at almost 35, his best performances will undoubtedly decline. 

Cecilia

Cecilia

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