In regards to how lethal Cristiano Ronaldo can be on the field, his record speaks for itself. The Portuguese legend, who is easily one of the greatest players the world has ever seen, is still going strong in the latter years of his career.
Ronaldo’s game has also seen significant modification as he ages. He began his career as a quick winger who could wreak havoc on defences, but he is now heavily focused on scoring goals with remarkable efficiency.
He still has the ability to get past players, but not as frequently as before. Defenders must still exert a lot of effort to limit his movement and prevent him from scoring.
Here are 5 defenders who have successfully competed with the Manchester United great over the years.
3. Diego Godin
Diego Simeone has transformed Atletico Madrid into a force to be reckoned with both domestically and in Europe. Under El Cholo, the Rojiblancos have a very strong record versus their local rivals.
One guy in particular has received significant recognition for his superior defence from analysts all over the world. Diego Godin was a rock for Atletico Madrid during his time in the Spanish capital, helping the team establish a reputation as one of the most difficult opponents in Europe.
Real Madrid discovered multiple times how challenging it is to defeat their neighbours. Los Blancos have not enjoyed playing Atletico in recent seasons, with the exception of the UEFA Champions League finals.
When they lost 4-0 away from home to Atletico in 2015, it was one of Ronaldo’s worst-ever performances. Ronaldo had a shocking game as the Atletico defence absolutely shut him out.
Only one of Los Blancos’ four shots on goal was on target. Ronaldo did exact retribution the following year by scoring a hat-trick against Atletico, but Godin and company put on a defensive clinic in that match.
As a result of Ronaldo’s surprise transfer to Juventus and Godin’s free transfer to Inter Milan, both of them are currently working in the Serie A.
With Barcelona, Eric Abidal enjoyed a very fruitful career. He was a member of the illustrious Pep Guardiola squad that conquered every challenge. His team’s demolition of Real Madrid on one of his most unforgettable nights occurred.
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho faced off for the first time in La Liga. Real Madrid went to the Camp Nou hoping to cut the Catalans’ advantage in half, but all they received was a beating.
Although it wasn’t Ronaldo’s first confrontation with the Catalans, the defence effectively silenced him. Madrid found it difficult to even get a grip of the ball as Barcelona commanded much of the possession.
While Ronaldo’s opponent Lionel Messi had a fantastic game, the Portuguese star himself was not allowed the room or the opportunity to work any sort of attack angle, in large part because of Abidal.
The Frenchman was aware of Ronaldo’s potential for danger on the wings. He therefore made every effort to prevent Ronaldo from slipping by.
The Real Madrid attackers were kept very, very quiet on that particular night by the back four. Ronaldo would like to forget that evening. As Abidal competed against one of the top players in the world of football, Los Blancos were destroyed 5-0 in the El Clasico.
Being Cristiano Ronaldo’s teammate has its benefits, including teaching you how he plays. When Portugal faced Spain at Euro 2012, Sergio Ramos and Alvaro Arbeloa utilised that advantage against him.
In 2012, Portugal was just two victories away from realising their goal when they faced the defending champions, Spain, in the competition’s semifinal round.
It wasn’t a classic game. Few shots were on target as both teams chose to play as defensively as they could in an effort to avoid giving the other team a goal.
Even when a team is not performing at its best, Ronaldo is one guy who can end a scoreless tie. But despite his best attempts, he was unable to affect the game in this particular instance.
This was largely because Ramos and Arbeloa were able to keep him under control. The Portuguese star was kept quiet the entire time and was not given even a minute to rest.