Analyzing Cristiano Ronaldo's Performance vs. Barcelona
Despite entering Saturday's El Clasico showdown with Barcelona in top form, Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo struggled immensely, battling from start to finish but failing to make a decisive impact for Los Blancos, who suffered a devastating 2-1 loss at Camp Nou.
While the initial instinct is to point to Barcelona as the main cause for Ronaldo's strife, it's important to note that the Portuguese star had been lighting up the reigning Spanish champions in their building coming into Saturday's match, per Fox Soccer:
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in each of the past six Clasicos held at Camp Nou.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 26, 2013
Plus, Barcelona had very little momentum coming into Saturday's game, earning back-to-back draws with Osasuna and AC Milan in their two previous outings since Lionel Messi's return.
Ronaldo, who drew a pair of fouls and the offsides flag once in the first half, failed to get a single shot off in the opening 45 minutes, as Real managed just three total shots as a team in the first half, per WhoScored.com on Twitter:
Cristiano Ronaldo: Has averaged 8.9 shots per game in La Liga this season but failed to muster a single shot in the 1st half vs Barcelona— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 26, 2013
Barcelona's brilliant passing and possession-oriented approach was a big reason for Real's limited opportunities, especially Ronaldo, whose touches were few and far between in the early goings.
Ronaldo and Real as a whole were much better to start the second half, though. Looking energized and more determined with the ball, Ronaldo would create a free kick opportunity just 10 minutes into the second half. Moments later, he would finally recorded his first shot of the match, testing Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes with a dangerous ball in the 58th minute, per Squawka Football:
Victor Valdes pulls off a stunning save at his near post to deny Cristiano Ronaldo - http://t.co/m34xtfPNPc— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 26, 2013
The fact that Valdes was able to get to it and keep it out proves that Ronaldo wasn't just underwhelming, but unlucky as well.
Frustration kicked in for Ronaldo with Real staring down a two-point deficit with about 10 minutes to play. The 28-year-old picked up a yellow card, joining Gareth Bale and three other teammates in the caution category.
How would you rate Cristiano Ronaldo's performance?
Ronaldo would make a few more threatening dribbles late in the second half, but he was unable to deliver a key goal as he had over the club's previous four matches. He would make a beautiful run on the counter-attack early in injury time that resulted in a goal from substitute forward Jese, but it was too little, too late for Real.
For any other attacking player, Saturday's performance would have been an above-average outing. But for one of the top two players in the world, Ronaldo's El Clasico performance can fairly be labeled a disappointment, as he mustered just one shot for the match and failed to influence the scoreboard until the match's dying moments.
The effort was there throughout, but for a player of Ronaldo's caliber, you expect the results to be as well.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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