Why Cristiano Ronaldo Will Hit the 70-Goal Mark This Season
According to Marca, "pumped-up Cristiano" has set himself a target for the coming year, which, if achieved, will make those previous totals seem utterly insignificant by comparison.
The target? Seventy goals.
There is a grey area in the article though—it doesn't actually feature any quotes from Ronaldo or anyone close to him. It also seems to make the gesture that the 70-goal target includes preseason friendlies, which would make his 2011/12 total 67.
Either way, the Portuguese international is sure to sail past the 50-goal mark, but how close can he get to 70?
His motivation is not in question. Obviously spurred on by his rivalry with Lionel Messi, Ronaldo will be keen to trump all the records which La Pulga has been setting throughout recent seasons.
Already in preseason, as mentioned in the Marca article, Carlo Ancelotti, "has been so impressed by the Portuguese ace's ambition and constant drive to improve that he has encouraged the younger players in the squad to follow CR7's example as a model professional."
Real Madrid will play 38 La Liga games and a guaranteed six in the Champions League—13 if they make the final. On top of that, they'll also have two Copa del Rey fixtures, nine if they make the final. That leaves the club with a maximum of 60 competitive fixtures, enough for Ronaldo to edge towards 70 goals based on his record for Los Blancos.
One thing that may push Ronaldo's goal tally up could be his central deployment. So far in the preseason, due to the departure of Gonzalo Higuain, Ancelotti has taken the chance to use him as a more traditional No. 9.
Marca commented that he has not "looked completely comfortable [as a nine] due to a lack of space to play his normal game," but against inferior sides in the league it could result in a substantial goal haul.
His scoring in the big games—he managed four against Barca last season and scored in six successive Champions League fixtures—is verging on a formality, while hat-tricks against Deportivo La Coruna, Getafe and Sevilla demonstrate he's in the right frame of mind for every game.
The simple equation, which for once doesn't involve a mathematician, is that if Ronaldo stays fit, whether he plays left, right or centrally, he scores goals. He'll turn 29 next year, but only last year felt he hadn't hit the peak of his career, telling TVI (via Goal.com's Luis Mira):
I just hope I will keep seizing the moment year after year. I have not yet reached the peak of my career. This is all just relative. Next year, I could be at a higher mental level and not score as many goals.
If he has set himself the target of 70 goals, whether that includes friendlies or not, then European football will have to be as wary as ever, as Madrid's No. 7 seldom renegades on his targets.
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