Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo has been in fantastic form during the 2012-13 La Liga season, but the rest of his teammates must start performing better if the team hopes to catch Barcelona atop the table.
After fighting the Blaugrana to a 2-2 draw—with all the goals coming from Ronaldo and Lionel Messi—Madrid is in fifth place with 11 points while Barcelona is in first with 19 points.
Up to this point, Madrid’s campaign had been characterized by multiple disappointing results. The team tied Valencia 1-1 in the league opener, then lost 2-1 to Getafe in the next fixture.
Two matches later, the team plummeted further down the table with 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sevilla. Leading up to the match against Barcelona, the Portuguese star had scored in all of the team’s victories, but failed to beat the opposing goalkeeper in the losses and draws.
The team has now started its long road back to the top of the table, but Ronaldo will not be able to carry it there on his own.
With eight goals in seven matches, Jose Mourinho cannot reasonably hope for any more production from his best player.
Gonzalo Higuain was in goal-scoring form to start the season with three goals in three matches, but he has not scored since then. Ronaldo and Higuain account for 11 of the team’s 14 goals, and no other player has hit the back of the net more than once in league fixtures.
The defense has been adequate overall, allowing just seven goals in seven games. But this is still not up to the standard the back line set for itself last season, when it only conceded 32 goals in 38 matches.
While the back four could certainly improve, the players who must step up to help Ronaldo are the attacking midfielders. Mesut Ozil and Luka Modric are counted on to be the team’s playmakers, but Ozil’s lone assist is the only goal the two have accounted for.
Whoscored.com also notes that Ozil and Modric are averaging 1.3 and 1.5 key passes per game, respectively. A key pass is defined as a pass that leads to a shot, and considering that Madrid is taking a La Liga-high 18.3 shots per game, also noted by the site, these players should be accounting for more of these opportunities.
Other Galácticos must step up and create more goals, or Madrid will suffer disappointing results similar to the ones that have characterized the early part of the team’s season.