Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably one of the greatest footballers ever. Ronaldo has had an illustrious career evidenced by the numerous achievements and accolades he has won. He has not only won individual awards including the Balon d’Or four times but has also helped his teams win titles.
In Real Madrid’s game against Granada on Sunday, it was expected that Ronaldo will continue his excellent form against the team which he has scored against eleven times in eight games. It was also expected that he could score three goals to surpass Raul’s record for Real Madrid.
However, these expectations were not met as Real Madrid and Ronaldo performed poorly despite winning 1-2 against the home side. Ronaldo had one of his worst performances of the season and was largely invisible in the second half. The player had some penalty requests turned down and disappointed with execution of two free-kicks. For the most part of the game, Ronaldo was off-point with his shooting and eventually became invisible. I remember asking a friend whether he was still on the pitch mid-way through the second half.
While Ronaldo has had a good record against Granada (the team that has suffered the most against him), his relatively poor away form continued. The player’s last goal far from the Bernabeu, Madrid’s home ground, came in November though he is second in the top scorers chart in La Liga (one behind Barcelona’s Luis Suarez).
Ronaldo’s performance on Sunday was without doubt shocking, especially for a player of his standards who is somehow expected to perform brilliantly in nearly every game. However, his recent performances have also raised questions among the club’s management and pundits.
His performances have generated numerous concerns since the discovery of his frequent visits to Morocco that have landed him in trouble with the club’s management. Ronaldo was until recently making weekly trips to see his friend, Badr Hadri, a kickboxer. These trips have raised eyebrows, particularly on the nature of the relationship between the two, which has somehow contributed to the player’s dip in performances.
Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, is reported to have banned Ronaldo from making his usual trips (sometimes up to four times a week after training) to Morocco. Reports in Spain indicate that Perez has asked Mohamed VI, the king of Morocco and his friend, to notify him whenever the player enters the country.
Is there a link between Ronaldo’s relationship with Hadr and his recent seemingly poor performances. Probably yes, probably no. I mean we can only speculate given the unclear nature of their relationship. What’s Ronaldo’s mission in Morocco? To buy a mansion? To start a business? Your guess is probably as good as mine. For now, it seems to be affecting his performances. Therefore, he needs to prioritize what is more important.