Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Is Cristiano Ronaldo Taking His Game to a New Level?
No one has ever questioned the talent of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The who-is-the-best-player-in-the-world debate has typically been a two-horse race for the past several years between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Not coincidentally, the two have been particularly under the microscope now that the two prolific attackers are pitted against each other on Spain's two most fierce rivals, Barcelona and Real Madrid, also widely considered to currently be the world's two best sides.
But up until Ronaldo netted the game-winner and Real Madrid toppled Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final, Messi had far and away gotten the better of Ronaldo.
Consider: In Ronaldo's final game with Manchester United, Messi led Barcelona to a 2-0 victory over a punchless United side in the UEFA Champions League final.
Last season, Madrid lost to Barcelona 1-0 and 2-0 in Ronaldo's first season with Los Blancos, and Madrid were crushed 5-0 on November 29 this season.
In the past five days, Madrid have tied Barcelona 1-1 and triumphed 1-0 on Wednesday with Ronaldo scoring in both fixtures.
So has Ronaldo rid himself of some Barcelona demons? Maybe. But Ronaldo has never been at a loss of confidence.
He has, however, shown a level of maturity in the past two matches that has yet to be seen by the Portuguese international.
Although he seemed a bit late to pull the trigger on Wednesday, he appeared to be spending less time flailing on the ground complaining to the referees and more time helping control the pace of the game and getting his teammates involved. Ronaldo barely missed several opportune chances, but was unflustered and kept his head in the game—literally—and squared away a brilliant winner.
Are we on the verge of seeing a new, matured Ronaldo harness is already limitless talent? Only time will tell.
Watch out, world.
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