Comparing Cristiano Ronaldo's 2014/15 Stats to His 2013/14 Numbers

Tim Collins@@TimDCollinsFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2015

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is hugged by teammate Sergio Ramos, rear, after Ronaldo scored 1-0 during the Champions League second leg semifinal soccer match between Real Madrid and Juventus, at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

Cristiano Ronaldo's statistical achievements become more staggering by the year it feels. 

When the Portuguese scored Real Madrid's third goal in a 3-1 victory over Malaga on April 18, he became the first player in Spanish football history to reach the 50-goal mark in five consecutive seasons. 

Additionally, when the Ballon d'Or winner smashed home a penalty in the second leg of Real's Champions League semi-final clash with Juventus on Wednesday, he drew level on goals for Los Blancos with the great Alfredo Di Stefano, with 307.

Remarkably, that pair of achievements are just two of a number of incredible feats Ronaldo has accomplished in 2014/15—a season rich in personal excellence for the 30-year-old despite a sense of underachievement for his team.

How has Ronaldo's current campaign compared with last season's?

Below, we take a look—first running our eyes over his basic statistical line before examining more advanced data.

Note: Only statistics from La Liga and the Champions League have been used for this comparison due to the lack of advanced data available for competitions such as the Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.

Basic Data

Basic Data for Last 2 Seasons
Substitute Apps00
Minutes Played3,5584,016
Yellow Cards56
Red Cards11
WhoScored.com and Author Calculation

Whenever you sit down to evaluate Ronaldo's statistics, your eyes are automatically drawn to one figure: goals.

In that sense, 2014/15 has once again been a roaring success for the Portugal international, who, despite being perceived by some to be in the beginning stages of decline, has enjoyed a more prolific season in front of goal than he did last time around. 

Yet what's just as interesting is the increase in playing time Ronaldo has had this season. 

After injury interrupted the final stages of his 2013/14 campaign, the forward laboured through his country's disappointing World Cup and appeared to enter the current season in suboptimal health. And when he missed his team's trip to San Sebastian to take on Real Sociedad last August, one wondered if 2014/15 would be a season of frustration for Ronaldo.

Instead, the once-barnstorming winger has adapted his game (more on that below), moving closer to goal to spare his legs in order to get through another gruelling season that has stretched across six competitions.

The results speak for themselves. 

Advanced Data: Ronaldo's Evolution into a No. 9 

TURIN, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF heads the ball past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus to score their first and equalising goal during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Juventus and Real Madrid
Michael Regan/Getty Images

In 2013/14, we witnessed the beginning of a shift in Ronaldo's game. Now, in 2014/15, the transformation has almost completed: Ronaldo has essentially become a No. 9.

Whereas in previous seasons we've watched breathlessly as the Portuguese stormed down the left wing, the current campaign has seen him occupy a more central position alongside Karim Benzema in a sort of hybrid 4-4-2 system.

Tellingly, Ronaldo's evolution is illustrated by a vast number of advanced statistical measures. 

Shots on Goal Breakdown
Shooting Accuracy56%57%
Shots per Goal6.025.38
Shots per 90 minutes7.316.27
SHOTS BY ZONE (per 90 minutes)
Outside the Box3.012.73
Penalty Area3.973.07
Six-Yard Box0.330.47
WhoScored.com and Author Calculation

In the table above, the change in Ronaldo's shot distribution is outlined clearly. 

Now taking fewer shots, the Portuguese has moulded himself into the most efficient of strikers, operating as more of a penalty-box predator than an all-action forward.

That change is perhaps best reflected by the 42 per cent increase in shots from inside the six-yard box—the only area in which his shot count has risen.

Naturally, the shift in his shooting pattern is reflected in his goalscoring breakdown.

Goals by Zone and Body Part
Outside the Box74
Penalty Area3538
Six-Yard Box610
Right Foot3732
Left Foot66
WhoScored.com and Author Calculation

Perhaps most revealing in the table above is the massive increase in headed goals from five to 14—by far the largest number in his time at Real Madrid.

Throughout his career, the three-time Ballon d'Or winner has always been recognised as a brilliant aerial player, but his wide positioning always negated his number of opportunities to showcase those abilities. 

In 2014/15, his transformation into a No. 9 has highlighted that aspect of his skill set. 

Equally interesting, though, are the increases seen in the playmaking aspects of Ronaldo's game.  

Playmaking (per 90 minutes)
Key Passes1.751.97
WhoScored.com and Author Calculation

Sometimes perceived as selfish, Real Madrid's star man has registered career highs in assists (18) and chances created for team-mates (88) in the current season—and that's with two games still to play.

Those numbers have coincided with a career-low in successful dribbles (77), indicating that Ronaldo's inclination to create for others has increased as his ability to charge past a defender has waned. 

Thus, the transformation has taken shape.

You're now watching a staggeringly effective and efficient No. 9.

All data courtesy of WhoScored.com.


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