When a team has a disappointing season, the instinct is often to blame the superstar.
Many will look at Los Blancos' accomplishments—finals of Copa del Rey, semifinals of the Champions League and a top-three finish in La Liga—and wonder if there's some weird new definition for "disappointing season."
But consider the expectations.
In the 2011-12 season, Jose Mourinho's squad won La Liga with an unbelievable 100-point season, lost in penalties to Bayern Munich in the semis of the Champions League and was ousted by Barcelona in the quarters of the Spanish Cup.
This season, after quickly falling out of realistic contention for a repeat in league play, the likelihood of the daunting double increased dramatically when Real eliminated Barca from the Spanish Cup and Manchester United from Champions League in a matter of weeks.
Hope remained high for a historical season.
Alas, after Wednesday's 4-1 dismantling at the hands of Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of the UCL semis, Real's best shot at hardware is now in the Copa del Rey against always dangerous Atletico Madrid.
For most, that's hardly a disheartening season. For Real Madrid, it's simply falling short of elite expectations.
Which brings us to Ronaldo. Does the lack of team achievements take away from yet another marvelous individual campaign?
I struggled with that question for a while, but eventually, I came to a resounding "no" when I realized that Wednesday's loss to The Black and Yellows epitomizes the season on the whole.
The result, much like the season, was obviously an unwelcome one, and much of the blame got put on the superstar—despite him being the team's best player on the pitch.
Many were upset with his lack of impact and production, but it's difficult for an individual to continually create by himself against a talented 11 such as Dortmund's. No. 7 still tallied Real's only goal—albeit off a Dortmund mistake. He still got off three shots on target, including a swerving free-kick missile in the first half:
He still proved that his presence on the field is always something defenses need to key on.
A lack of team accomplishments doesn't diminish any of that.
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