Cristiano Ronaldo: Jose Mourinho Must Manage Superstar Well for UCL Success

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIApril 8, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 06: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates his sides fourth goal during the la Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Levante UD at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 6, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo will take the field for Real Madrid this week when they take on Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League and seek to wrap up their spot in the semifinals.

Having recorded a 3-0 win over the Turkish side in the first leg, Los Blancos will surely improve on their last win when they travel to Turkey to wrap up qualification, and if they play like they did in the first leg, they will surely see themselves through to the final four of the tournament.

However, what will be most interesting is the way in which Madrid manager Jose Mourinho utilizes his superstar given the result is all but secured.

The Madrid boss rarely rests Ronaldo given his tremendous fitness and work rate, but he may be wise to do so against Galatasaray. If not, he must continue to manage the needs of Ronaldo and allow him time to cover and mentally strengthen himself for the rest of the year.

Truth be told, resting Ronaldo is something that Mourinho has done very well all season, especially in light of the UEFA Champions League, which is no doubt Madrid's greatest goal in 2013 given that the La Liga title is seemingly secured by rivals Barcelona.

The table below (via WhoScored) shows how Ronaldo has been tactically rested this year for Madrid's biggest games. Moreover, it shows the success they've had in the next game, with Los Blancos going undefeated this season when Ronaldo has been rested.

Rested against: For Against Result
Levante, Nov 2012 Champions League Manchester City Draw, 1-1 (away)
Getafe, Jan 2013 Copa del Rey Barcelona Draw, 1-1 (home)
Sevilla, Feb 2013 Champions League Manchester United Draw, 1-1 (home)
Deportivo, Feb 2013 Copa del Rey Barcelona Win, 3-1 (away)
Barcelona, Mar 2013 Champions League Manchester United Win, 2-1 (away)
Levante, Apr 2013 Champions League Galatasaray -

Given that Ronaldo is playing Galatasaray coming off a rested game this week, it should be a very interesting storyline to watch for the second-leg match.

The Turkish heavyweights will likely attack Madrid from the opening whistle, and as we saw in the first leg, that should produce plenty of chances for Los Blancos. 

Ronaldo has been in sublime form this year and could very well extend his goal-scoring tear against Galatasaray.

Look for the rested Portuguese star to be at his best again and lead Madrid through to the semifinals of the Champions League, where, if Mourinho continues to rest him when needed, they'll be very tough to beat in the most prestigious tournament of all.

Madrid's chances of Champions League success depend on Mourinho resting Ronaldo, and so far, it's a pattern that Los Blancos are following perfectly.

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