When Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in the summer of 2018, we could all agree that Los Blancos were easily losing the best goal scorer on the planet and it was an uphill task to find his replacement – in all aspects. While his 607 goals and 212 assists in all 815 club appearances (Transfermarkt) can only be matched by “that guy”, Real Madrid had it all to do to make up for the amount of goals Ronaldo offered the side on a consistent basis.
Based on how things how have progressed lately, Ronaldo is largely missed in the Spanish capital – and not just for goals alone. In an attempt to re-bolster their attacking options, Real Madrid signed Eden Hazard and handed him Ronaldo’s famous no “7” shirt, but so far it would appear the weight of filling such heavy boots has been telling on the 28-year-old Belgian.
Asides the obvious fact of goals, Real Madrid have lost the “fear-factor” they once had with Ronaldo in the ranks and recent performances show teams are no longer scared to take it up to the throat with Zidane’s men, even at the Bernabeu. The recent 0-0 draw against Real Betis over the weekend was a simple reflection of the above narrative. On a good day, Eden Hazard commands respect as well, but if we’re being honest, it comes nowhere close to what Ronaldo reflected on the Los Blancos team.
After all, his 450 goals in 438 games (Transfermarkt) for Madrid meant an average of more than a goal per game and putting that tally into context, it’s safe to say Madrid went into every game a goal up when Ronaldo was in their ranks. The recent struggles for decent performances have only exposed how much of a burden the Portuguese captain shouldered while at the club.
Over the weekend, Real Madrid failed to score and win in a 0-0 draw against Betis, which was the team’s fourth game this season in which they did not manage to find the back of the net after matches against PSG, Atletico and Mallorca.
Further data simply indicates that since the beginning of this season, Zidane’s side hasn’t scored at all in 28.57% of the matches played, according to data collected by AS.
As per the report above, the pattern is similar to that from last season when the team did not manage to score in 13 out of 57 matches across all competitions, amounting to a percentage of 22.87%. In total, that makes 23.94% of matches without a goal scored by Real Madrid during the last 71 matches.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid with Ronaldo did not manage to score in 46 out of 519 matches over nine seasons. This amounts to a percentage of 8.86%. An interesting fact is that during the 2016-17 season, Zidane’s team managed to score in all of their 60 matches across all competitions.
Madrid’s goal-list so far shows how much the scoring burden has been spread all round and there’s simply no-one to exactly stand out. Benzema tops the charts with seven goals followed by three players who shouldn’t be ideally bothered about scoring goals. Toni Kroos comes in next with three goals while Casemiro and Ramos are on par at two goals apiece (Transfermarkt).
Surprisingly, a chunk of Madrid’s attackers (where support alongside Benzema should come from) are in the lesser numbers, with Rodrygo and Bale at two goals and the likes of Vinicius, James, Hazard, Lucas and Modric with only one goal so far (Transfermarkt).
While the lack of goals could be blamed at the lack of urgency or a clinical approach on the pitch, there appears to be a mental block as well and it’s emanating from the fact that an influential figure like Ronaldo is lacking. The fact that Eden Hazard, who was supposedly brought in to ease Ronaldo’s departure, has only one goal to his name in La Liga speaks volumes on how much the morale and confidence up front has taken a downturn by such a far margin.
Ronaldo easily guarantees goals and lots of them wherever he goes but on this occasion, Real Madrid lost more than just goals, and will require someone to step up quickly and perform on a consistent level to restore some form of confidence back to the squad.