It would be a stretch to call 2012/13 an entire disaster for Real Madrid. They still managed to make the Champions League semi-final and finished second in La Liga. It was a disappointment, just not the end of the world.
Normally, Jose Mourinho's siege mentality is successful. That wasn't the case at Madrid as he simply couldn't become bigger than the club, like he had at Porto, Inter Milan and Chelsea. His style rubbed many players the wrong way, namely Iker Casillas.
"The Special One" even had some parting words for Ronaldo, which he shared during an interview with the Spanish television show Punto Pelota, via The Guardian:
I had only one problem with him, very simple, very basic, which was when a coach criticises a player from a tactical viewpoint trying to improve what in my view could have been improved. And at that moment he didn't take it very well because maybe he thinks he knows everything and the coach cannot help him to develop more.
Through it all, Ronaldo was one of the few players largely immune from Madrid's slump, scoring 46 goals in as many La Liga and Champions League matches. It's hard to fathom those numbers are actually a drop from what Ronaldo has done the previous two seasons with the club.
First things first. The rumors linking Ronaldo to Manchester United are unlikely to ever become fact. The player has already said he feels "confident" he'll be at Madrid next season, per Tancredi Palmeri:
Cristiano Ronaldo on his future:"I'm very cool about that.I think I will reach an agreement with Real Madrid.I'm not worried about that"— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) June 8, 2013
Ronaldo isn't going anywhere, and that's great news for Real Madrid.
Part of the problem he had with the club a few months ago was that he didn't feel fully appreciated by the supporters and club officials. Ronaldo went through a bit of a "sad" period. With a new contract, he'll feel plenty wanted and fully remunerated.
Now that he's liberated from Mourinho, the Portuguese winger will have a much easier time at the Santiago Bernabeu next season. Madrid will have a manager who suits the club much better, benefiting everyone involved.
Any player will find going to work less stressful when not having to deal with the kind of turmoil Madrid caused this year with Mourinho.
More than that, Ronaldo will have a massive chip on his shoulder.
This was a year of almosts for Ronaldo. He almost won the Ballon d'Or, losing to Lionel Messi, and he almost won the Spanish league and Champions League with Real Madrid. He'll be loathe to have another season like that.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo win the 2013 Ballon d'Or?
Ronaldo is one of the hardest workers in the world. You don't become one of the best players in the world over such a long period of time simply by relying on your God-given gifts. Ronaldo continues adding new wrinkles to his game and keeping himself in peak physical conditioning.
At 28 years old, he'll know the clock is ticking on the prime of his career. He's probably got another two or three seasons at his peak before he begins falling off. He has to make the most of the next couple of seasons.
He'll be working this summer as hard as he ever has in order to ensure the failings of this season aren't repeated. Until Real Madrid win their 10th European title, Ronaldo has unfinished business.
He's not going to be content to go through the prime of his career at Madrid without winning a Champions League and unseating Lionel Messi as the best player in the world.