Former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo extended his goal drought to 583 minutes on Monday night (7 September) after failing to score for the seventh consecutive game during the Portugal 1-0 victory over Albania. The Real Madrid ace has averaged more than one goal per game in recent seasons but is surprisingly very far from those stats in the new campaign – sparking concerns in Spain on whether it is just a temporary drop of form or if the 30-year-old's best times may be over.
The Portuguese international star has scored a total of 313 goals in 302 appearances for Los Blancos since his £80m ($122m) move from Manchester United in the summer of 2009. And even though the Real Madrid ace experienced some ups and downs during last season, he still managed to net 61 goals in 54 appearances, including 48 in La Liga, to become the top scorer of the competition, with five more than Lionel Messi.
But Ronaldo is struggling to replicate his form since the beginning of the pre-season, having failed to score since the 4-1 victory over Manchester City on 24 July. The Portuguese star has indeed only scored that goal in his last nine appearances – seven of them with Real Madrid and further two with the national team.
Having failed to find the net in Rafa Benitez's side pre-season games with Roma, (he then scored against City) Inter Milan, AC Milan and Galatasaray, Ronaldo extended his goal drought in the two first La Liga games of the campaign against Sporting Gijon and Betis despite Los Blancos netting five against the Andalucian side. And his lack of form in front of goal has followed him in the recent Portugal games against France and Albania, extending the drought to seven consecutive games.
Some in Spain are starting to question whether Ronaldo may already be past his best but his former manager Carlo Ancelotti believes the opposite. Nevertheless, the former Real Madrid and Chelsea boss has backed the Portuguese to become the La Liga joint-top scorer once again in the new campaign even ahead of the Messi.
"I have no doubt about Cristiano Ronaldo, despite him failing to find the net in Real Madrid's first two games of the season. I know Cristiano really well, and if I were a gambling man, I'd bet on him to be La Liga's top scorer this term," the boss said. "He notched up 61 goals under me last year. It was incredible. Only the greatest players in the history of the game can boast those kinds of stats. Spain is really lucky to have both Messi and him playing football there."