As a result of being left out of the squad, Ronaldo finished the domestic league season with 31 goals in 30 appearances, matching the Liverpool forward, who found the back of the net 31 times in 33 matches.
Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti likely decided that keeping the Portuguese star fit for the Champions League final was a more pressing concern than Ronaldo's pursuit of another individual award.
Ronaldo had to wait for his first goal of the season, which came during his third appearance. A tidy header in September's 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao paved the way for an incredible scoring streak heading into the new year. He netted 18 goals in 16 matches before the start of 2014, including hat-tricks against Sevilla and Real Sociedad.
Since Jan. 1, he had racked up 12 in 14 La Liga matches prior to the visit of Espanyol, per WhoScored.com. Ronaldo's playing time has been curbed slightly due to niggling injury, but he won't be any less dangerous if he's back to full fitness for the World Cup.
The Portuguese star's latest accolades round off a tremendous individual year. He recently broke the Champions League record for most goals in a single campaign—previously held jointly between AC Milan's Jose "Mazzola" Altafini and Lionel Messi—with an astonishing 16 goals in 10 appearances so far.
He will be given the chance to extend the record on May 24, as Real prepare to do battle with city rivals Atletico Madrid for European football's ultimate club trophy. Next season, Suarez will get the chance to highlight his skills in the competition with Liverpool.
The Uruguayan, who will have to share the Golden Shoe, admits both Ronaldo and Messi make goalscoring seem simple, reported by M. Carmen Torres of Marca.
"I do all I can to score goals and along come Cristiano and Messi, and they make it seem so easy," said Suarez. "When I think of Real Madrid, the only thing that enters my head is that I hope Cristiano doesn’t score."
Ronaldo said his "teammates have helped me a lot" throughout the season, per Real's official website. Indeed, his blossoming relationship with individuals such as Gareth Bale—who help install a consistent sense of attacking speed into Los Blancos' play—ensures Ronaldo is never far away from getting an opportunity on goal.
Real may have failed to capture the domestic crown, but with Copa del Rey victory already secured and the chance of La Decima approaching, there's plenty to get excited about around the Bernabeu. Ronaldo's importance continues to shine in a team that is only likely to get stronger across the coming years.
If the 29-year-old's individual scoring record continues, you can bet next year's Ballon d'Or trophy will also have the famous Ronaldo name carved into it.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!