Is Real Madrid Crazy for Playing Cristiano Ronaldo as Striker?
Given the transfer saga of the summer containing Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale, many have neglected to consider that the Welshman plays in the same position as Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo. If the transaction goes through, the capital club has not come to a conclusion on where they will execute their best player.
Ronaldo is highly regarded and is in contention with the best in football at the moment. The reason why the Portuguese forward is in this predicament is because he has developed into a versatile attacker. Ronaldo has scored 201 goals in 199 games while playing in the left-winger role and often switches positions with teammates to throw off defenders.
At Real Madrid, the club has built the team to compliment Ronaldo’s strengths in his best position. This preseason, new manager Carlo Ancelotti has placed Cristiano as one of the two strikers, alongside Karim Benzema, in his 4-4-2 formation that was successful for him last season at his former club, Paris St. Germain.
Ronaldo is capable of carrying out the function as a striker with his blistering pace being very difficult to handle for any defender, but what Real Madrid will lack are the assists that he provides on top of the goals. Last season, the Portuguese captain produced 12 assists in all competitions and los blancos will be missing a large chunk of those this season if he is placed further up the pitch.
An argument in favor for a push for Ronaldo playing in front could also be that, through the various summer signings the club have completed, there is more service for him from the midfield, with the likes of Isco and Asier Illaramendi, and relieving him of dropping back to defend, solely having to concentrate on scoring goals.
Ronaldo was at times Madrid’s weakness because of his lack of dropping to help Marcelo, the attacking full back that has a reputation of not defending. Opposing club’s saw this weakness and exploited it often resulting in goals that the capital club could not counter.
Being a part of the “front two” system would still allow Ronaldo to cut in from the left and add his personal dribbling flare that he is used to, although some of his phantom appearance will be lost as defenders will be marking him closer than before.
With new blood from the youth academy, such as Jesé and Denis Cheryshev, Madrid have plenty of options to fill the void if Ronaldo is placed up front, and if Bale is not signed this summer, would be fine, or maybe even better off, with the record signing and huge wages the Welsh winger will be demanding.