Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, writing for Sky Sports, claims that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is once again suffering from a knee injury that has plagued him in recent seasons.
Ronaldo started the season on fire with 25 goals in 14 La Liga appearances, but he has struggled since the FIFA Club World Cup, scoring on three times in his last six games.
Balague believes that Ronaldo’s well-known knee injury, which hampered his effectiveness towards the end of last season, is to blame for his fluctuations in form.
“This is the first year Cristiano Ronaldo has seen the limits of his body and how you deal with that is not easy,” Balague wrote, in response to a question during a Q&A session for Sky Sports.
“In fact, Gaizka Mendieta was telling me that what happens when your body does not give you everything you are used to, there is a lack of synchronisation between the head and the body.
“So the head may want you to go and run for a ball, into space, or do the things you have always done, but the body does not always respond.
“Obviously everybody knows about his personal situation, but more importantly for him has been the fact he has still got pain in his knee that does not let him play at his very best.
“And if you look at the last year, he was not on top form between March and July. Yes, he was involved in the team’s play, but he was also injured for most of that time, or at least suffering from not being at his peak physical condition.”
Ronaldo, who continues to be linked with a move back to Man United, has a massive 31.8% chance conversion rate in La Liga this season, hitting the target with 68% of his shots.
He has slowed down massively in recent weeks, however, being overshadowed by the improving Barcelona trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, who have grown into one of Europe’s most potent attacks.
The 30-year-old Ballon d’Or winner’s side still sit top of La Liga, one point clear of Luis Enrique’s Catalan giants, but if he cannot rediscover his shooting boots and recover from his knee problem, then Barcelona could storm ahead in the race for Atletico Madrid’s crown.
If Balague is correct about Ronaldo’s health it will be interesting to see what Real Madrid do with him in the summer. Ronaldo is the highest paid player in the world, but will Real cut their ties with him knowing that is knee and injury situation will only get worse over the next three or four years, not better?