It was easy to proclaim an end of an era when Cristano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in the summer.
Ronaldo was arguably the best player on the planet, had smashed record after record with Los Blancos and was the main source of goals for Madrid ever since his move to the Spanish capital from Manchester United – and in dramatic fashion, too.
Cristiano was always going to be missed. The impact his departure would have on the squad, however, was underestimated.
While Madrid went down 3-0 to Eibar in LaLiga on Saturday afternoon, Cristiano was breaking more record in Italy. Ronaldo scored the opening goal in Juve’s 2-0 victory over SPAL in Serie A, making him the fastest-ever Juventus player to reach ten goals in all competitions, achieving the feat in just 16 matches. The goal also took him joint-stop of the goalscorer chart in Italy, alongside Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek.
But while Los Blancos will miss the Portuguese star’s goals, they will also miss his leadership – perhaps even more.
Cristiano’s determination to be the best is well known. To do whatever it takes to be known as the best player in the world. Hours and hours of work on the training ground to achieve his dream and an unwillingness to settle for anything less than the best. Sometimes that desire saw him fall out with his teammates, and sometimes the fans, but that desire also took Madrid to another level.
Los Blancos are now missing that desire and leadership. While Madrid are struggling to find the back of the net, as showcased in Saturday’s loss in the Basque Country, they are struggling to find a leader. Sergio Ramos sets an example as captain but there are few others in Madrid’s ‘gala’ XI to lead the way.
Cristiano’s departure from Madrid always looked like it was going to be a blow but now that departure looks to have provided a bigger blow than expected. Maybe Madrid should have tried harder to keep their star man.