Ron­aldo looks to end strug­gles

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORT -

MADRID (AP): THE SPAN­ISH league is off to a tight race atop the stand­ings, with five teams sep­a­rated by only three points. Yet, most of the talk en­ter­ing the week­end was about whether Cris­tiano Ron­aldo will end his scor­ing slump.

Real Madrid lead the league ahead of their match at Alaves to­day but not thanks to Ron­aldo’s re­cent per­for­mances. The for­ward is en­dur­ing his worst start to a sea­son since join­ing Madrid in 2009, hav­ing scored only four goals in nine matches.

“When you’re used to scor­ing al­most 70 goals a sea­son, it’s al­most like an ad­dic­tion for goals,” Madrid re­serve for­ward Al­varo Mo­rata said. “For us, he is the most im­por­tant player in the team, and I hope that he scores lots of goals, but he is not a ma­chine. He is a hu­man be­ing. Even if he comes from an­other planet and is dif­fer­ent, he also has the right to miss.”

Ron­aldo also scored five goals in two games with Por­tu­gal, against An­dorra and the Faroe Is­lands in World Cup qual­i­fy­ing, but that’s no re­prieve to the de­mand­ing Madrid fans.

He was jeered by the crowd at the San­ti­ago Bern­abeu Sta­dium af­ter an­other dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance in a 2-1 win against Ath­letic Bil­bao on Sun­day.

Ron­aldo has scored only two goals in the Span­ish league – in a 5-2 win against Osasuna in Septem­ber and a 61 rout at Real Betis two weeks ago. He also scored two goals in the Cham­pi­ons League, one in a 2-2 draw at Borus­sia Dort­mund and one in a 2-1 win over Sport­ing Lis­bon, when his free-kick goal started a late rally.

The 31-year-old was among the Madrid play­ers rested in the team’s 7-1 win over Cul­tural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey on Wed­nes­day. He is set to re­turn to the line-up to­day when Zi­dane’s team tries to de­fend its Span­ish league lead against pro­moted Alaves.

Sevilla, one point be­hind Madrid, plays at Sport­ing Gi­jon also to­day, while third-place Barcelona hosts last­place Granada.

Fourth-place Vil­lar­real plays at Eibar on Sun­day, and fifth-place Atlético Madrid, which led the league en­ter­ing the last round, hosts Málaga on Satur­day.


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