Cristiano Ronaldo Isn't to Blame for Real Madrid's Surprising La Liga Struggles

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2012

VALLADOLID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 08:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF reacts during the La Liga match between Real Valladolid CF and Real Madrid CF at estadio Jose Zorrilla on December 8, 2012 in Valladolid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Many football fans predicted that the 2012-13 La Liga title race would be between Barcelona and a team from Madrid, but through the first four months of the league season, it's Atletico Madrid, not Real Madrid who have the best chance to prevent the Catalan club from winning another championship.

Who's to blame for Real Madrid's surprising struggles in La Liga? Don't blame superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese winger has played fantastic this season, and leads the club in league goals (14) and goals scored in Champions League play (6).

He has been responsible for 58 percent of his team's scoring during league matches. Rival forward Lionel Messi has accounted for only 42 percent of Barcelona's league goals.

The majority of the scoring burden cannot be placed on Ronaldo's shoulders, especially not when most of La Liga is greatly inferior to Madrid.

With the unbelievable amount of attacking quality in Madrid's squad, it's quite surprising that only Ronaldo has more than seven league goals.

French striker and reigning French Player of the Year Karim Benzema has scored just three league goals this season after scoring 21 last year. Gonzalo Higuaín has scored seven goals this season, but has also battled injuries.

Madrid are 2-1-1 in their last four matches, and Ronaldo scored three goals in that time. The club was able to score more than two goals in just one of those matches despite the fact just one of its opponents is in the top seven of the league table.

Madrid are 13 points behind Barcelona in the title race, and it appears that the club's pursuit of a second consecutive La Liga championship is over.

However, the blame for the team's recent struggles cannot be put on Ronaldo. He is having another incredible season, and his consistently strong play has kept Madrid in third place thus far.

The club's other major stars need to improve and play to the level that they are capable of for Madrid to get back into the title race.

Even a team as talented as Real Madrid cannot rely on one player to contend for the Spanish title, even if that player is Cristiano Ronaldo.