Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't the only player on Real Madrid to miss golden opportunities against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday afternoon, in a 2-0 win for Real Madrid that resulted in a 4-3 aggregate loss in the Champions League semifinal. Surely, Mesut Ozil and Gonzalo Higuain will be lamenting chances left wanting as well.
With that being said, Ronaldo is the talisman for Real Madrid, the player looked upon to lead Los Blancos to greatness. On Tuesday, he wasn't up to the task, and now only the Copa del Rey final against Atlético Madrid will offer Real Madrid a shot at a trophy this season.
In other words, it's Ronaldo's chance to make up for a disappointing second leg against Dortmund.
With the Champions League now behind them and a La Liga title out of reach, the Copa del Rey final on May 17 is hugely important for a Real Madrid team that has been disappointing in the 2012-13 season. And the task won't be easy against an Atletico Madrid team that currently sits third in the La Liga table.
All eyes, as always, will be on Ronaldo. The electrifying winger had his fair share of opportunities against Borussia Dortmund but just couldn't seem to find that last bit of class he normally has in spades.
At times, his touch betrayed him, and defender Lukasz Piszczek frustrated him so much that at one point he switched to the right side just to avoid him. It's rare to see Ronaldo avoid an opponent. Plus, his free kicks were surprisingly ineffective and one long-range effort sailed about 25 yards over the goal.
Like the rest of his teammates, Ronaldo had his chances in the first half. For the first 15 minutes of the game, Real Madrid buzzed around the pitch and looked like a team that was not only capable of overcoming a 4-1 deficit on aggregate, but one that might do it in the first 45.
But the goals didn't come and eventually Real Madrid tired from the early pressure. Borussia Dortmund settled into a rhythm and had several clear chances of their own before Madrid took the game over in the final 10 minutes and scored two goals.
It would be unwise to doubt Ronaldo after he had just one game below his standards. Remember, while his final touch against Dortmund was lacking, he was still a constant threat and put himself in positive positions to score.
A few inches one way or the other on a shot and he's a hero right now, not a goat in the eyes of some. And remember, when these teams met in December, Ronaldo scored a goal and added an assist (he didn't play in the April meeting between the teams).
Every time Ronaldo has an "off" game, the discussion turns to him redeeming himself. More often than not, it's a bit absurd. What more does this man have to do for Real Madrid? Score three goals a game, every game?
In this case, I think Ronaldo himself will want to take the Copa del Rey final by the scruff of the neck as penance for what I'm sure he believes was a disappointing performance on Tuesday. The great ones always turn a past negative into a future positive.
Real Madrid as a team has had a lot of negatives, at least given their high standards. But the Copa del Rey final is the chance to end the season on a high note.
And the chance for Ronaldo to remedy his disappointing game on Tuesday.
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