Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ronaldo King Of The Goals, But Still Has Much To Prove

Cristiano RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo has carved his name into the history books with a brace against Almeria, taking the Portuguese winger to forty La Liga goals this campaign, an all time high.

Perhaps it should be said though, that Ronaldo goals weren't even the best story of the game, that particular accolade must go to youngster Joselu, who netted his first ever goal for Real Madrid, in his very first La Liga game. Certainly, this sentimental writer was caught with a case of the warm and fuzzies watching that one fly in.

Ronaldo will leave the match, and no doubt the season, satisfied with his personal achievements. The winger has broken new goalscoring ground, become a father and scored the winner in a cup final. However, where is has mattered most Ronaldo has failed. In the two legged Champions League semi-final between Real and Barca, Ronaldo was outshone by Messi, and he suffered a dip in form during a crucial period of the league season.

Some would say that heading into the 2011/12 La Liga and European season, Cristiano Ronaldo has nothing to prove. After all, he possesses a Champions League winners medal, a prestigious goalscoring record and has a wealth of league and cup triumphs to his name. But for Ronaldo, Barcelona has been an impenetrable obstacle, a wall that the seemingly perfect Portuguese player has crashed into time and time again.

Failure against Barca dates back to his United days, Ronaldo missed a penalty in the opening exchanges of a Champions League semi final second leg at the Nou Camp, and only saw his side progress courtesy of a Paul Scholes wonder goal in the reverse match. Next time out, Ronaldo was an anguished onlooker, as he played a peripheral role in Manchester United's two-nil Champions League defeat in Rome's 2009 European finale.

At Real Madrid, where the entire substance of the club revolves around beating Barca, Ronaldo has continued to come up short. A winning goal against the Catalans in the Copa Del Rey final masked Ronaldo's failings in games against Madrid's closest rivals, though that mask was quickly ripped aside by Messi and Barcelona in leg one of the Madrid-Barca Champions League semi final.

In the never ending cycle of champions, Barca will inevitably be overthrown, power and success never last forever, and Ronaldo and Madrid will be hopeful that Barcelona's dethronement begins with a loss at Wembley in seven days time. Next season, Mourinho, Ronaldo and the rest of Real Madrid, will be unable to accept anything less than glory in either the league or Champions League, the Copa Del Rey is by far Spain's most meaningless prize, so either a Barca downfall or a Madrid rise will be crucial.

The ultimate egotist, Ronaldo will be looking forward to another season of high scoring totals in 2012, his celebration following the strike that put Madrid 7-1 up over Almeria payed testament to his love of the spotlight, a burning passion which has served him quite well over the years. However, if Ronaldo is to remain destined for a place in the pantheon of great players, than he must overcome the obstacle which has hindered his progression at both Madrid and United. The king of the goals must become the king of Barcelona.

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