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What happened to Cristiano Ronaldo?


Sometimes, I just miss the good old days. I miss cheering for Savicevic (when playing for Milan). I miss watching Beckham score a free-kick for United. I miss Rivaldo’s bicycle kick against Valencia. I miss Ronaldo’s hat-trick scored at Old Trafford (in United’s 4-3 win over Real Madrid). I definitely miss Ronaldinho’s smile on a football pitch.

As I sat watching the second tie of the semifinals, I couldn’t resist a nostalgic thought: what happened to United’s Cristiano Ronaldo? The former United player used to be so spectacular under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson. His dazzling runs and fancy footwork were ever present in Sir Alex’s side. Do you remember those good old days? When Cristiano used to mesmerise the world?

Nowadays, as statistics suggest, he enjoys his best season: 42 goals and 13 assists in 49 games for Real Madrid.  Impressive, huh? Not quite, as far as i’m concerned.

When playing for United, during the 2007-2008 season, he scored 42 goals and provided 8 assists in 49 games. Those performances earned him a well deserved Ballon D’or (the first United player to receive the award since George Best in 1968).

Furthermore, he received many other prestigious awards for those thrilling displays (including but not limited to):

–          Fifa World Player of the Year,

–          The first winger to win the European Golden Shoe Award,

–          PFA Players’ Player of the Year,

–          PFA Fans’ Player of the Year,

–          Barclays Player of the season,

–          FWA Footballer of the Year,

–          Barclays Golden Boot (31 league goals in 34 appearances – 12 years after Shearer’s record of 31 league goals scored for Blackburn),

–          Barclays Premier League Merit,

–          Named in the PFA Team of the Year,

–          UEFA fans’ man of the match (for his display against Chelsea in the Champions League final).

One could argue that the Red Devils managed to win the Double during the 2007-2008 season and contributed heavily to the Portuguese’s awards, but the fact is Cristiano Ronaldo was that good. He was simply divine and, at times, unplayable.

Now, if you look at the statistics, he has had a better season playing under Mourinho. But, if you saw Real’s games, you would acknowledge the lack of truth in that last sentence. His electric displays are gone. Those electric displays that earned him all the aforementioned awards.

Today, Cristiano is a just a goal scoring machine. Which is great, especially for a club like Real Madrid.  It’s just that he’s not that Cristiano anymore. The most expensive player in football’s history has left outside the pitch his flicks and tricks to help Real Madrid stop Barcelona’s Golden Age.

As I fan, I would argue that this attitude is a mistake. The Portuguese’s enthusiastic dribbles, back heels, step overs / scissors, were breathtaking. If you take that out, he’s not the €94m player anymore. He’s a fantastic goal scorer, yes, but not the Portuguese phenomenon.  I simply cannot understand why Mourinho wouldn’t let Cristiano play the way the player wants. He let Deco (at Porto) play as he wanted.

If you read my other articles, you would know that I have (and always had) a tremendous respect for Mourinho. He’s perhaps the best manager in the world. But not to give Cristiano a free role is shocking.

I know the lad since his Sporting days (promoted alongside Quaresma by Laszlo Boloni). I watched him score a double on his league debut. Moreover, I watched him during the inauguration of the Estádio José Alvalade, when Sporting defeated United 3-1. That kid was amazing.  I think I even have that tape back at home.

Cristiano soon became United’s first ever Portuguese player. And perhaps United’s best deal (at least from a financial point of view) in their history. I liked that Sir Alex refused to give Ronaldo the number 28 shirt and stressed that he should take the number 7 instead.

Cristiano truly lived up to the fans’ expectations, with his flamboyant skills. I definitely enjoyed Cristiano do the Denilson (aka the scissors) again and again.

On 1st of July 2009, Cristiano moved to Spanish giants, Real Madrid, for an astonishing £80 million fee (€94m). He was presented as a Real player at the Bernabeu in front of 80.000 fans (surpassing Diego Maradona’s record with Napoli).

He formed a successful partnership with Higuain, scoring 53 league goals during the course of the season (Real’s highest scoring league duo in their history). His displays were almost brilliant, as the free role given by Pellegrini suited him like a glove. Too bad that he failed to win a trophy.

With the departure of Raul, Ronaldo inherited the number 7 shirt (in the summer of 2010) and scored a cornucopia of goals. But, that’s pretty much it. His audacious skills are to be found, perhaps, outside the Bernabeu stadium. Despite scoring the winner in the Copa del Rey Final played at Mestalla, Ronaldo’s flicks and tricks went awol.

As I watched the semifinal against Barcelona (at Bernabeu), I was disappointed to see him play like that. He didn’t dribble and even had 3 free-kicks wasted. I could not help but remember his fantastic free-kicks while playing for United. Do you remember?

The former United man confessed after the game that he would need time to adapt to this defensive attitude of Real Madrid. Perhaps, he suffers from a mental block, especially when playing against Barcelona. One thing is certain. For Real Madrid to shine, they desperately need Cristiano’s flamboyance.

As a football fan, I could not care less if he scored 20 goals in one season. But I would care about the way he played in those games. I want to see Cristiano given a free role again. Let the guy play his game! Football needs him, with all his flicks and tricks.

Dear fans, what do you think? Is Cristiano the same player he used to be at Old Trafford? Is he less spectacular?


NOTE: This article was written before last night’s clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid



  1. michelle

    May 4, 2011 at 10:40 am

    OK I agree that Cristiano has been poor in the last 3 Months. He seems to lack heart and passion in his game.
    Its as if someone has put out his “fire”
    Its as if he is bound, there is no spark in his game. He doesnt try to get the ball back and gives in when its taken from him, and its all someone elses fault…
    Why ????
    Is he happy ????
    Is there too much expected of him ???
    After all Real Madrid is not all about 1 player (so we kept hearing over the last year)
    He is but only 1 man
    I feel for him, I see his despair and his fustration.
    We have all put him on a pedistal
    Give him some room to breath and I am sure he will come back strutting our screens, showing us his perfection and glow as he has in the past…
    Lets hope

  2. a

    May 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

    he was very good when he was in united.. he was considered the best player during 2008 but than after he moved to real madrid and he is still veru good.. he looks boring and poor beacuse he is completely overshadowed by the magic and fair play of football god lionel Messi.. as long as messi play football cristiano ronaldo will never shine… Messi is de god of futball…

    • ciccio

      May 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm

      it is hard to criticize cristiano ronaldo because he is a fantastic player. but who you compare him to is key in your analysis. place him next to most any player and he is superior. place him next to messi and it is like comparing a man who walks on land to a man with the potential and talent to walk on water. messi looks > maradona, but only at the end of his career will the world be the judge!

    • erm

      May 4, 2011 at 10:47 pm

      “fair play of football god Messi”? You not been watching the same player as everyone else? Messi is a dirty cheat, he dives more than Ronaldo EVER has, in fact the entire Barca squad are the same. Sorry, but as an enthusiast, Ronaldo is the best footballer in the world and also a lot more entertaining when on form.

      • was

        May 5, 2011 at 12:41 am

        im gonna havto disagree with you here because if you watch football u will see that messi is one of the most respectable players in the game, he falls when he is tackled because he is small, CR simply dives which is not necessary and seems to be more a part of his game now than the skills and flair that he used to flaunt.

      • bikash

        May 5, 2011 at 2:19 am

        ya man i agree with you..ronaldo try to scored the ball himself and he also pass the ball..people say messi is better than cr7.well messi is good too but comparing messi and cr7 is like comparing jet plane rocket who is fast..rocket we all know that so cr7 is the best and always will be the best football player in the world.

  3. michelle

    May 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Football is not about “the” best player its about “the best Players”
    No 2 people can be the same in any respects, they both play very different techinques
    Lets not take away from Cristiano that he too is a credit to World Football
    Nobody can be perfect All of the time
    Give the guy a bit of Slack

  4. paul

    May 4, 2011 at 11:26 am

    in man u he had giggs rooney and scholes behind him like messi in barcelona he is supported by iniesta xavi and villa, u can see messi playing for argentina he is very normal so messi or ronaldo does need players like xavi iniesta scholes or giggs to shine for argentina or real madrid resp. and in my opinion iniesta is the best player in the world regarding his performance defensively and offensively

  5. cr7asmozil

    May 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    this article makes me cryyyyyyyyy.cristiano deserves to be the best player of the year 2011.but the stupid defensive plan of the stupid coach in the world make real madrid lose.if i were cristiano i would live and back to manchester united.and thank sir alex fergussion.because he would not be like today without him.sorry for my bad english iam a algerian girl.and i wish all the best for cristiano in his carrer.he is the ronaldo viva ronaldo running down the wing hear united sing viva ronaldo.that boy ronaldo makes united look shy.

  6. Pingback: What happened to Cristiano Ronaldo? – Football-Talk | Cristiano Ronaldo – Football Player Cristiano Ronaldo's News, Videos

  7. Rory

    May 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Great article, i was thinking the very same thing this morning. Back in the good old days i couldent wait to watch him on the MOTD on a saturday night. He was phenomenal and literally gave me goosebumps, it was the highlight of my week. Everytime i get involved with te debate who is better messi or ronaldo i have for years vigorously fought for ronaldo. Messi is an absolute genius and i love watching him but i cant help think what would he be like without barca, also what would cristiano be like at barca and the amount of goals he would score after all they are the best team ever and create unlimited chances. In arguments now however i concede tat messi is better than ronaldo(at the moment)however i believe ronaldo in his best season at united was far better than messi.
    I hope ronaldo finds that spark and infact i hope he moves back to united were he was loved, as i believe the fans of madrid do not appreciate him enough

    • michelle

      May 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      Couldnt agree more Rory
      I think you have hit the nail on the head. Its not all about Messi v Ronaldo its REAL V BARCA…..
      But everyone is entitled to their moment to shine and its Messis moment now, thanks to a strong Barca display

      • rads

        May 5, 2011 at 8:32 am

        Yea , I so agree ! At Real it’s nearly been a 1 man show . Cristiano has had to take up the burden of carrying the club on himself ! The day xabi alonso plays welll and provides good balls , cristiano can play , but otherwise it’s aqll up to him to play great !!

  8. derric

    May 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    yes the entire world misses the ronaldo from man utd.but no matter how much we want him to do tricks again,he won’t.unless someone talks to him and let’s a shame to let a talent like that go to waste and his free kicks in real madrid went down.when he was in man utd no player stood in his way,he was the king of stepover and now in madrid his goals,freekicks and skills are fading away

  9. frank

    May 4, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    ronaldo is better now than he was at united he already has 42 goals scored and has he best goal to game ratio of any real madrid player

    • frank

      May 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      ever at real madrid

  10. Theresa

    May 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree. As much as I like Mou he is stifling the most phyically gifted player on the planet. Mou needs to wake up or move on, so CR7 can have the freedom to score goals and lead his team with flair and passion.

  11. Murray

    May 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Good enough for him , he won everything with united,saf made him the best player using uniteds book of law, he played the busby way,he played free to express himself, united set him the track for gr8 ness ,an he did not realise tht he was winning,a stable manger, an fans who adore him,he had everything,,(Rooney nearly made the same mistake, a few months ago ,he was average , an now he is talked as one of the best in the world???why????because he has being aloud 2express himself an him an and united will benefit)

  12. awoaaaa!

    May 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    thing is at madrid, well this season to be specific we put too much pressure on him to produce and score, if we just leave him let him do his thing on his own. I’m sure we’d have the good old cr7 back 😀

  13. Matt

    May 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I have to agree with your article. Think of Messi back in the 05-06 season. The little Argentine had begun to show signs of his trademark dribbling skills and as he continued to play to his style, he only got better and better. Now you think of Messi, you only think of his mazing runs – his runs have become him. Same thing with Ronaldo at United, when he first came, you could see his style and as the years went by he only got better and better. At Madrid, his ‘style’ has died down, infact he has had to adapt to a completely different type of playing style. I honestly believe if Ronaldo kept playing like he did at United, he would be an even better player today.

  14. Hope

    May 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Gud article,i watched yestadays game and i pity ronaldo,he is no more d playa i use to knw,i tink madrid need a manager like rikajd,wat do u tink guys?

  15. Eric Gómez

    May 4, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I agree a 100 on it he has changed in tricks and flicks. Those things caught the eye of everyone in the 2006 world cup. And I also believe that he should be on the wing in madrid instead of a striker. What does tick me off is that in the Argentina vs Portugal game Ronaldo scores a simple goal and messi scores a penalty and then all the sport channels are like this Messi is far better than ronaldo. Thats all rubish they didnt even notice ronaldos goal.

  16. dandanthechamp

    May 4, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I agree that Ronaldo seems different since moving from United to Real but none the less he’s a fantastic player. Every team and coaches’ tactics are different. Mourinho wants to win games, for that to happen sometimes you have to focus more on other things than entertaining the crowd. Ferguson was a totally different coach, winning was always important, but beautiful soccer was a priority to him, he knew Ronaldo had what it takes to amaze the 11th fan (the crowd) with his tricks, the fans have an amazing impact on the game. I don’t think that great players should be compared as Messi & Ronaldo are, they’re totally different and they’re amazing in there own way!! but to be honest Real still hasn’t figured out how to work together to win. They have great players as Barca does, but something is missing. Don’t get me wrong I love to watch both teams play & Mourinho and Ferguson are my favorite coaches but the beauty of the game should always be more important than winning or which player is better. This game has the potential to change the world, sometimes as fans it’s easy to judge them own their flaws, but we forget what’s most important, playing the beautiful game. Ronaldo will find his way back to dazzling the crowd one day but for right now he has to do what Mourinho expects of him, it’s his job. People are coming down to hard on him, yes he’s cocky & arrogant but that’s who he is, regardless of the things he says or how he reacts, he has worked hard to get this far, skill like that just doesn’t happen overnight.

  17. Pingback: What happened to Cristiano Ronaldo? | My celeb news blog

  18. a

    May 4, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks so much for writing this article. I thought that i was the only one thinking this! But i totally agree with you could see in Ronaldo’s face when he was in manchester that he was for football, manchester united,the fans, and just the love of his job. Now look at him. He is all money,sex, and advertisment. i love ronaldo. i miss him at manchester. And Sir Alex knew his potential and works. But Morinho doesnt. thats the diffrence. Morinho lets ronaldo do whatever the hell he wants but Morinho doesnt know how to coach ronaldo, he doesnt know ronaldo and his play at all! I love you ronaldo, but here is your wakeup call… either do something and stop having a stick up your ass or go back to manchester!!!

  19. Murray

    May 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Well said Get ur grease ball head and ur deadly woman, and ur little boy, one for the future,back to old Trafford, but wat ever u do,leave UR MA in madrid

  20. fido

    May 4, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    He has had a superb season. I will go on to say that he is definitely a better player. He stays on his feet more too!

    If he was in the premiership(Manutd) and he played like that, everyone would be discussing, “Who is better Messi or Ronaldo?” There would be room for argument. This is not the case now. The reason? Messi. Same playing field, he just out performs Ronaldo and someone put it, he takes away his shine.

    I am actually glad he left Manchester United. The team was beginning to play for him. In the CL in Moscow, the dude put all our strikers on the bench except for Rooney who was used as left back.LOL. Does that ring a bell?

  21. Louis

    May 4, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Best article i’ve read in years!! It was spot on and after the pathetic first leg between Barca and Real last week we need positive write ups like this for true believers of the best sport on the planet. Seeing Ronaldo playing lone stricker for Real in a home game made me cry, what a crime. What’s Mourinho doing?

  22. Crno7

    May 4, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Ufffff thank god smone wrote this article i keep telling ky frnds again and again you can see it on his face hes not there hes no dodging anymore i hate it wen he passes the ball when he can take on the whole bak line of barca nd tear them apart i hope murhinio realizes this cus a manager is the key of you want ur player to be the best in the world jd messi dsnt have flair thats all Ronaldo you can never expect wat hes gonna do next but with messi its either hell go left nd shoot or hell go right nd shoot
    Ronaldois the best and after murhinio realizes his mistake and releases ronaldo on the pitch ull awl see that hes undoubtly the best his freekicks his hunger for goals hid determination and resilience and his love and passion for taking on players and beating them in the most unexpected manner his ability to stay in te air for minutes at a time his towering headers his blasting shoots his beautiful flicks his ferocious speed and his simply exquisite stepovers makes him the best ever to have graced the football field

  23. was

    May 5, 2011 at 12:38 am

    all i gotta say here is i fucking agree, the skills that cristiano ronaldo had when at MU are no longer present with him at RM. He needs to leave this team before it is too late and the skills he has developed over the years will pass and he will be nothing more than an important goal poacher for Real Madrid; the spectacular Cristiano Ronaldo will be gone along with his creativity and the beauty that he once brought to the game

  24. stephen

    May 5, 2011 at 1:18 am

    savicevic was better for red star……..

  25. bling

    May 5, 2011 at 2:19 am

    If Rolando is given the freedom to express himself like when he was at Man United he will go back to been the player in the world.He have more skills,flair he’s more entertaining dan Messi.

  26. bling

    May 5, 2011 at 2:21 am

    -he will go back to been the best player in the world.

  27. Sharad Dhurve

    May 5, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I read this article and i totally agree for this . where is gone our Ronaldo ???? No Dribbling , No Back heal & even 360 degree tricks when he did in United .
    Actually , Ronaldo is in trouble because his team mates is new and they wouldn’t gel as a team that’s the reason behind he can’t play the way as he . you know Ronaldo is far better player when he is in MUTD because his team mates knows his style dats why they gives him a freedom role in on field but it doesn’t happen in Real madrid . Everybody talks about Messi is the best player. But i think its not true. Messi playing with team mates since 6-7 years this is the main reason he is playing better than Ronaldo . But Ronaldo comes in MAdrid is just 2 years before and then he did approx 75-80 goals . Is is happened when messi played in barca when he is new in team . when Messi will play other club and then he do the same thing which done by Ronaldo in Madrid then I believe Messi is the best . but now I still with CR7 .
    I was Messi Fan but now I hate messi when I saw Champions league match between Real & Barca .

  28. Africanlegend

    May 5, 2011 at 5:46 am

    A great critique. Christiano Ronaldo has not been the same player in La Liga. The statistics must be taken in context too. The league is very weak and he is a good enough player to score in those conditions but the electric drive and skill we saw at Man U is not there.

  29. Pingback: Ronaldo flat man nicked in cop raid – The Sun | Cristiano Ronaldo – Football Player Cristiano Ronaldo's News, Videos

  30. Murray

    May 5, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Fuck ronaldo bring back Luke Chadwick and Danny higgingbottom, along with the gr8 Jemba Jemba , tht bad they named him twice

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