Cristiano Ronaldo has played against 18 different La Liga opponents this season and found the back of the net against 16.
That's bad news for Malaga.
During their only other matchup this season, Los Boquerones held the talented striker scoreless and took advantage of a slumping Real Madrid squad en route to a 3-2 win.
That's not to suggest Ronaldo wasn't a part of the thrilling action.
In the first half, one of his patented, swerving free-kick bullets required a nice save by goalkeeper Willy Caballero. Later, he was stymied via a timely tackle by Martin Demichelis. Overall, he looked intent on making an impact, firing off seven shots to go with one key pass, three completed dribbles and two fouls drawn (h/t Whoscored.com).
Despite going scoreless, he proved as dangerous as ever, and if that same match happens 10 times, Ronaldo scores in seven or eight of them.
Malaga undoubtedly deserves credit for the effort, but as Ronaldo has proven so many other times during this campaign, it becomes increasingly more difficult to stop him on consecutive tries.
Put more simply—Malaga's job well done against Ronaldo in December only makes it more likely that he'll burn them this time around.
He is simply far too efficient. Just check out his staggering stats (via SocialRMadrid's Twitter feed):
Moreover, since joining Madrid, Ronaldo has owned Malaga, scoring 10 times in nine matches against the overwhelmed foe.
Combine that dominant history with the added motivation of crushing one of the very few teams that has been able to successfully thwart him this season, and Ronaldo is in for a massive day at the Bernabeu against La Liga's sixth-place team.
In fact, with the opportunity at revenge fueling him, massive doesn't even begin to describe it.
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