Something which has in no way surprised me but disappointed me all the same in the aftermath of El Clasico has been the level of abuse Cristiano Ronaldo has suffered. Yes, he did not have the best game of his life, and the match being billed as Ronaldo v Messi by Sky Sports probably did not help matters, with all the Leo Messi fanatics so high on their perch that they can now hold a face to face conversation with God – who after Marcelo’s deflection is certainly a Barca fan – and people now using Ronaldo as the scapegoat for the poor result.
Well sorry to burst that bubble but if you win together as a team, you lose together as a team, and blame – as Casillas has rightly said – cannot be levelled at one player and one player alone.
Ironically enough, Real were billed as the favourites because of the break away from being overly reliant on Ronaldo, and no longer as much of a one man team as Barcelona with regards to Messi. If this is the case, then surely Ronaldo should not be culpable for the entire result?
Another massive mistake is to assume Barcelona are a one man team. Yes, Messi is a fantastic player, but he was by no means the best Barca player on the pitch on Saturday night. Yet again this will draw criticism, but in my eyes Xavi and especially Iniesta were sublime. Long have I said that it is Iniesta not Messi who is the key to making Barcelona tick, and whilst each of the members of the golden trifecta of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta are out of this world, on the performance against Real Madrid, you would not be able to say hand on heart Messi was better than either of the other two.
In short, the reason for the defeat from a Los Blancos perspective was yes a little bit of bad luck, but mainly the inability to be clinical in finishing the chances that were created.
Fair enough two of the chances that fell to Ronaldo should have been buried in the back of the net and 99 times out of 100 they would have been. Yet it is not only Ronaldo who can score a goal – Benzema, Higuain, Kaka and Di Maria are all capable, and a host more of players of finishing or even creating a chance, and short of King Karim’s quickest ever Clasico goal, they did not.
It is still Ronaldo that draws the criticism and blame however, with people questioning if he goes missing in big games – especially against Barcelona – well Messi has still only scored one goal away from the Camp Nou this season, yet no one mentions that, or the fact he was lucky to be on the field in the first place. People forget that Villa has been in such poor form, or that Ozil has been off the boil recently and how about the passing and crossing from Di Maria in the penalty area? It was shocking and wasteful to say the least –but it is always Ronaldo who cops the flack.
Perhaps this is due to his perceived persona both on and off the field, but to say that he goes missing in every game against Barcelona is wide of the mark. It is a credit to his other performances that show how even when he has a mediocre game, people question if the player is ok. Ronaldo has been playing with a niggling ankle injury for a couple of weeks now, yet this is never mentioned.
Ok, Ronaldo had a poor game on Saturday night, perhaps his worse against a Barcelona team, yet I fully believe he is capable of playing well against them, as are Real Madrid. It speaks volumes that Ronaldo has ‘anti supporters’ – people sad enough to actively wish harm and poor performances on the player, and will not appreciate how good he actually is. Messi on the other hand, inspires an army of fanatical supporters and it seems no one dislikes such ‘a nice guy.’
Before and after every Clasico, it seems to turn into a Ronaldo v Messi debate, and the one area that I will hand on heart say I feel Messi has the edge on is this. Ronaldo lets it get to him far more, and I genuinely feel this affects his performance in a negative way. For him to truly prove he is better than Messi, he has to dispel the rivalry and competition from his mind, and just focus on doing what he does best – playing football. He will have no better stage than the 22 of April at the Camp Nou to do this.
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