Marca journalist criticises Cristiano Ronaldo after Manchester United draw

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Madrid with Manchester United last night and it was not a particularly memorable one for him.

Ronaldo was stifled by a combination of Atletico Madrid’s defence and United struggling to create chances for him.

The reaction of the Spanish press was heavily critical. Journalist Raul Varela told Radio Marca that he was going to change Ronaldo’s nickname from CR7 to CR3.5, claiming he is half the player he once was.

Photo by DAX Images/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Varela said Ronaldo was in an ‘unstoppable decline’, adding: “We are not talking about having played a bad game. That happens to anyone and more times than one might like. It’s about what you need to play well. 

“And now you need more. Much more. He needs his teammates more than ever. That they supply him with balls, that they generate more favorable situations than usual. Yesterday we didn’t even see him angry like usual.

“If we almost retired Messi after missing a penalty against Courtois in Paris, we can only look at Cristiano with nostalgia.”

He added that even with Ronaldo scoring six Champions League goals this season, he no longer stands out on his own, with Sebastien Haller of Ajax scoring 11.

Newsflash: Ronaldo is 37

Cristiano Ronaldo is 37, so it should not be a surprise he is not the player he was in his heyday. Ronaldo was once a truly unstoppable force, and in Madrid they saw him at his very best.

Ronaldo once scored 61 goals in a single season for Real Madrid, 60 in another, and more than 50 in four other separate seasons.

If you are going to judge him by those standards, then yes, he has declined, but that is inevitable based on his age and he should not be criticised for it.

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Ronaldo is still United’s most reliable striker, he may not be perfect, but he has plenty more to offer and has 15 goals this season, more than any Red Devils player.

Former teammates Roy Keane and Gary Neville have just been talking him up, so it is not all bad news for United’s number 7.

The criticism from Spain is only likely to fuel Ronaldo on. If he goes onto score a crucial goal in the second leg at Old Trafford, don’t be surprised, and for the forward, it will taste so much sweeter.

Thoughts? Comment Below
Dan is still wondering what would have happened if United had kept Juan Veron...