Ghana's No. 1

Mythbuster: Ronaldo's stats tells that 'Penaldo' is NOT ACCURATE

Published on: 26 March 2020

Cristiano Ronaldo was feeling quite rightly pleased with himself after scoring four goals against Malmo on December 9, 2015 to become the first player to ever hit double figures in the Champions League group stage.

Consequently, he was more than happy to speak to the press in the mixed zone after the game at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, it was there that his mood changed suddenly – and understandably – when he was asked about the idea that too many of his goals are penalties.

It was an utterly bizarre time to pose such a question, given not one of the goals he had scored that evening had come from the spot.

What's more, only two of his 11 strikes in the group stage had been penalties.

So, Ronaldo bristled at the suggestion that his remarkable numbers were somehow misleading.

"You have to look at the statistics," he said sharply. "How many goals have I scored for Real Madrid? And they are not all penalties."

And yet the nickname 'Penaldo' had already become commonly used by his detractors, of which there are still many today.

Ronaldo may have his faults but the idea that he is not one of the greatest and most complete goalscorers the game has ever seen is outrageous.

It seems to stem from the start of his time at Madrid, whom he joined from Manchester United in the summer of 2009.

Certainly, Ronaldo was indulged at the Bernabeu, where he quickly became the focal point of the Blancos' attack.

Gonzalo Higuain had a fine first season playing alongside the Portuguese, netting 29 times in 40 appearances in all competitions, but lost his role as Madrid’s first-choice centre-forward during the 2010-11 campaign to Karim Benzema, who was considered a better foil for Ronaldo because of the Frenchman's work-rate and selflessness.

The Sporting C.P. product had also already been installed as Madrid's penalty-taker and given first option on every single free-kick within shooting distance, while Mesut Ozil and Angel di Maria were brought in after the World Cup in South Africa to provide Ronaldo with more through balls and crosses, respectively.

Ronaldo's numbers, therefore, exploded during his second year in Spain, with Madrid essentially set up to play to his strengths.

Not once between 2010 and 2015 did he fail to register fewer than 50 goals a season.

And yet all the while he was dogged by allegations that he was overly reliant on penalties, perhaps perpetuated by his rather over-zealous reaction to scoring a pretty inconsequential one in the dying seconds of Real's 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final.

There's no denying that Ronaldo's impressive figures over the past decade have been boosted by spot-kicks.

He has both taken (107) and converted (93) more penalties in all club competitions since the start of the 2009-10 season than any other player.

However, it is worth noting that Lionel Messi sits second on both lists (64 from 82) and is never slated for allegedly being a 'one-trick pony'.

If anything, the Barcelona captain is sometimes criticised for squandering spot-kicks, so quite why Ronaldo should be berated for making the most of his (he has a conversion rate of 87 per cent) is anyone's guess. Indeed, Ronaldo would be many neutrals' first pick to take a clutch spot-kick for their side in any shootout.

In addition, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored a colossal 503 goals over the past 11 years – and only 18 per cent of them are penalties.

Admittedly, that is a far higher ratio than that of his great rival Messi – only 12% of the Argentine’s 545 goals for Barcelona during the same period have come from the spot.

Again, though, it feels like Ronaldo is a victim of not only a certain degree of snobbery when it comes to evaluating the worth of his goals but also double standards, especially given the fact that a fifth of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 267 goals since the 2008-09 season have been penalties.

The Swedish striker certainly doesn’t have to put up with claims that he would not be as prolific without penalties. Ibrahimovic remains widely renowned as both a great goalscorer and a scorer of great goals.

As Ronaldo should be too. We are talking about Real Madrid's all-time record goalscorer and a man who recently equalled the Serie A record for goals in consecutive games (11) with Juventus.

His game may have changed through years – it would have impossible for him to still be operating as a fleet-footed winger at the highest level at the age of 35 had he not focused his attention on scoring goals – and he is undeniably a polarising figure.

For example, he is also widely thought to be a selfish forward and yet he ranks joint-sixth for assists in all competitions since 2009-10 – level with Cesc Fabregas but above playmakers such as David Silva (131), Kevin De Bruyne (127) and Eden Hazard (121).

Of course, football fans are free to dislike a footballer all they want. But the ‘Penaldo’ nickname is as petty as it is inaccurate.

Anyone who thinks any different need only “look at the statistics”.

Source: m.allfootballapp.com

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