One of the best moments that came from Cristiano Ronaldo in the 5-0 win by Real Madrid over Mallorca wasn’t his two goals but his interactions with the fans, imploring the fans to keep on booing and jeering him, as if it only made him stronger and better throughout the match.
Maybe it actually did. Ronaldo has his ups and downs with reactions to fans, and there are days when it does actually get to him. But not in the match against Mallorca, who were either too adventurous in their approach or simply too weak tactically and in their quality to actually do any kind of efficient defending. Whenever Real Madrid tried to find themselves a chance, they made it. If Mallorca were somewhat of competition during the first half, any sort of opposition ended in the final 45 minutes, leading to three goals in the final 20.
Against these kind of opponents, Real Madrid’s superb ball movement, this time orchastrated brilliantly by the quickly adapting Luka Modric, is simply too accurate, too quick and too good for the other teams to react accordingly. The second goal, Ronaldo’s first, was a combination of those quick slices and slants, Ronaldo’s finishing prowess and some poor defending from Mallroca, not doing Dudu Aouate any favors.
For now, the experiment of playing Michael Essien as a left back is doing OK. It won’t be very effective against more dangerous teams, but vs most of what the Spanish La Liga has to offer, it’s fine, as there’s enough time for Pepe and Varane to react and help. Xabi Alonso has more time to spend helping the back four as Luka Modric had no problem taking over the midfield roles along with Mesut Ozil, although there’s certainly some sort of task-sharing issue between the three, as one of these players always seems a bit removed from the equation when they play together. Once again, playing most of the Spanish La Liga it doesn’t really matter.
For these matches, Gonzalo Higuain is the preferred choice. Angel di Maria has no problem doing all that Karim Benzema adds to the striker position that Higuain can’t. A scorer, through and through. Nothing else, but mostly it’s enough. Di Maria is thriving this season playing in the middle, not feeling very confined to playing as a winger. It works great in the Argentinian national side and has started becoming more and more of a positive issue while playing for Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo was probably having the time of his life. When there was no uphill struggle, he can hear his name being cursed in the stands all day long. There was simply nothing to frustrate him on the field, so he simply embraced the hate that was showered at him from the stands. It’s easy to look at Ronaldo’s reactions most of the time and find the negative in them.
His small attempts at cheating and fooling referees can be annoying, but with one quick goal that only he can pull off he makes you forget. He shows his emotions, or simply plays a part. Whatever it is, he’s interesting to watch. He might not be the best player in the world, but it’s to find an athlete worth watching, with or without the ball, for 90 minutes and remain interested.