Cristiano Ronaldo Faces Tough Task to Break Raul's Real Madrid Goals Record
Real Madrid finally concluded one of the long-running possible transfer sagas of the summer recently; no, not the Gareth Bale one, but that of keeping Cristiano Ronaldo at the club and having him sign a new long-term deal.
Ronaldo's new contract will keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2018, with reports suggesting he will earn around €17 million per season.
One potential outcome of his new long-term deal is that the Portuguese superstar will have a new Real Madrid record in his sights, that of being the club's highest-ever goalscorer.
That honour is currently held by legendary forward Raul, who netted 323 times during his long stay at the Spanish club.
At present, Ronaldo has performed phenomenally consistently, scoring 204 goals in 203 games, as per Marca. Having scored an average of 56 goals per season over the past three years, the Spanish editorial claims he would be on course to break Raul's record midway through the 2015-16 season if he maintains his current strike rate.
While his unbelievable form over the past couple of seasons can certainly be extended further, given his athleticism and technical ability, it remains a huge ask nonetheless to believe he could do so in the given time frame.
Ronaldo's ability and confidence in front of goal, and the fact the side he plays in are considerably better than most of the rest of the domestic league, mean that it is possible to achieve.
However, there are simply a larger number of mitigating circumstances which may leave him unable to break the record in such short notice.
An injury—not even a long-term, lasting one, but a three-or-four-month absence—could not only halt his progress in the immediate term, but also upset his rhythm for weeks on end upon his return. Should it be a muscle injury, his mobility or acceleration—so important to his game—could also be hindered.
How long is it fair for Real to rely on him to continue scoring at a rate of every single game? They've just broken the world transfer record to bring more attacking firepower to the club in the shape of Bale, so will chances still fall to Ronaldo as readily?
Bale scored on his debut so is similarly—technically—scoring at a rate of one goal a game...but how many people expect the Welshman to keep that up after more than a few weeks? Will he, by the end of the season, have 30 goals for Real Madrid? It's not probable.
Ronaldo could also suffer a lack of form in front of goal—he's not started this season in great all-round shape—or a change in role for him, perhaps to more of a central attacker, could actually lessen his ability to hurt teams because it removes from his game that ability to sprint from 30-40 yards out.
Breaking the record at the same scoring level as he currently enjoys is not the target, however.
Ronaldo still has more time on his new deal even after 2015-16 and it is almost inevitable that if he doesn't leave before his contract expires, he will eventually become Real Madrid's greatest ever goalscorer.
And, as a No. 7 in the white shirt, it would be simultaneously poetic, merited, justified and historic.
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