Quiet, relaxed summers are always a good ingredient for an even better season. While Cristiano Ronaldo has shown throughout his career and especially while playing for Real Madrid that he doesn’t mind having all the attention turned to him (and maybe even wants it that way), it’s hard to believe he’s suffering from seeing others taking center stage for once, even if it is a temporary thing.
For now, a Welsh player with only one really impressive season is taking all of the headlines and all of the talk away from Ronaldo, who on a normal day is probably the most talked about and mentioned soccer player in the world. The only time he’s been mentioned recently is when people hypothesize about how Bale would fit in Real Madrid’s lineup, and where would that move Ronaldo.
There are other questions being asked about Real Madrid today, with Ronaldo not being in the middle of them. One of them, splitting into a few others, is about Real Madrid’s midfield, and how will it shape up to look like. How will Xabi Alonso fight for his place with Asier Illarramendi, and where does Sami Khedira fit into all of this.
How do Isco and Mesut Ozil thrive together in the same lineup without stepping on each others toes, and will Luka Modric finally find himself a more solid position in the middle of the pitch, without being shifted up and down in order to plug holes?
And then there’s Iker Casillas, who is trying to recover from his worst season ever, hoping to prove that even if Diego Lopez had a very good season last year as Casillas was watching from the bench, the greatest Spanish goalkeeper to ever live shouldn’t be the one who is benched.
Ronaldo? No one is talking about him, because, well, there aren’t really any questions about him. Be it on the left wing or as a supporting striker, the chances of him not scoring 35-40 goals or even more are slim to none, as long as he stays healthy. When a player generates 7, 8 and 9 shots at goal per game, it’s almost impossible to deny him these scoring numbers. It truly is impossible to stop him from getting his chances. The best you can do is make them less comfortable than he would like.
But in a broader sense, just like every season is a test for Ronaldo, this one is another proving point. Because whispers of actually being somewhat of a failure have been heard. Not on an individual level, but in terms of what the clubs has achieved since breaking the world record (again…) by signing him.
One league title in four season. No Champions League title or final. One Copa Del Rey, which becomes important only in seasons where nothing else is available. That’s not what the best player in the world (in the mind of many, but not the most) should come up with in his Real Madrid career, especially considering the talent surrounding him. For now, things are quiet around Ronaldo, but regardless of Bale, it’ll change soon. For better or worse? That depends on how Real Madrid begin their Ancelotti era.