In Cristiano Ronaldo’s 13 absences this season, Real Madrid have failed to win in six of them including four draws and two losses.
“People think I am a striker,” Cristiano Ronaldo said in an interview last summer. “I will never be a striker. I have scored almost 600 goals from the position I play in, so why change.” But Ronaldo might be starting to see the advantages of playing at No. 9 and can sense a massive window of opportunity as Real Madrid look ready to go on a mission this summer to find a new one.
When Ronaldo’s agents do sit down with the Real Madrid board, they can produce the Espanyol game as evidence of his importance. Zidane rolled out an experimental mix of players that included Gareth Bale at nine along with Marco Asensio, Isco and Lucas Vazquez adding to the attack, with the end result of so much creativity and directness being a complete lack of both.
If they do tie Ronaldo down, it will give them more leverage when they are negotiating in the summer transfer market too. With seemingly fewer options other than Harry Kane, who is said to be a very difficult acquisition, and Robert Lewandowski, who turns 30 in August, Florentino Perez’s options are limited and any potential selling team will be aware of that.
With Ronaldo locked down, happy and with no doubt over his future, it means Real Madrid can walk away from such talks and invest elsewhere, or at least bluff their way to a more favorable deal for a new striker.
The Champions League tends to transform Real Madrid, as we saw against PSG in their first encounter. You can expect Ronaldo to further quell speculation that he is a declining force by being the deciding factor in that game too. Real Madrid are entering a period of uncertainty after a dismal league title defense and some bewildering form in other competitions, but what is clearer than ever is that their plans continue to revolve around Cristiano Ronaldo.