This beginning of the year for Real Madrid has been far better than how we ended 2012. There has been a lot of controversy in these first two months relating to the surrounding of some of our players and there have been a lot of red cards shown but football wise there has been a major improvement in 2013. 13 games have been played, 8 of them have been won, 4 have been tied and only 1 has been lost against Granada in an unlucky game where we deserved even more than just a point. Undoubtedly different than how we left 2012.
Our defense has also improved significantly. We have the best defense in La Liga and we have only conceded 6 goals in our last 12 games furthermore in none these 6 games we have conceded more than 1 goal.
The importance of Cristiano Ronaldo has been noted in these first months. Our strikers have not been at their usual level which has pushed CR to the limit. The 183 goals in 182 games player has been key in more than one crucial game which is why this post will look at how he has performed, on and off the pitch so far this year.
Game 1 of 2013 did not look too good, Adan was sent off early in the game and we have to play with 10 men since the 6th minute. With 20 minutes left in the game, the score was 2-2 but Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals in minutes giving Real Madrid the first happy moment of the year. The CR2013 express was about to take off…
In the first leg of Copa del Rey Madrid has lost away in Vigo 2-1. A win was a must and Cristiano did have any compassion of the pitch. A hattrick and an assist by CR ensured us a spot in the next round.
This is football and accidents happened. During this match Cristiano had the unfortunate even of injuring one of Celta’s players as they both fought for the ball. Hugo Mallo had to leave the pitch after the incident and was out of the pitch for a few weeks. Cristiano Ronaldo reacted like a gentleman following the incident, he ran to the Celta dressing room right after the game to ensure Hugo was doing okay.
Hugo Mallo “Cristiano has had a very nice gesture, I will never forget it, thank you very much Cristiano”, “Cristiano has been very close to me, like if we were lifelong friends, he’s a crack”
The next memorable game for Cristiano was the comfortable “manita” to Valencia in Mestalla. 2 goals from Cristiano and one assist collaborated with the team effort to silence Mestalla and build up our confidence.
In one of the Madrid derbies, Real Madrid faced Getafe at home for La Liga. Yes, Cristiano scored again but this time it was a bit more memorable. He scored a perfect hattrick. A header, a goal with his right foot and another one with his left. In this game Cristiano ran the whole pitch in about 10 seconds – in a counterattack that is becoming his signature move in 2013.
Well, let’s judge him for his goals and not his celebrations… shall we?
Time for the first Clásico of the year. All the eyes, as always, were centered on Cristiano and Messi. While Cristiano had 4 shots on goal and 2 shots hit the bar, Messi did not meet Diego Lopez, not once. However, let’s be fair as all the praises of this game were directed one way and one way only. The young hero in the picture below.
February 2nd, 2013. Cristiano’s worst game yet. An owngoal by Cristiano as he was trying to defend our goal in a corner kick unfairly awarded Granada the three points. 8 shots and 3 of them on goal attempted by Cristiano weren’t enough to break the net guarded by Toño. After a bad game, one would expect the crack to be visibly angry as we all know losing is not at the top of his favourite things. After the final whistle, a kid (who would later on become famous as he tried the same trick with Messi getting a completely different response) fooled security and hugged Cristiano in an attempt to get his jersey. Despite having scored his first owngoal, Cristiano showed his values and hugged the kid and told the security not to kick him out. A second kid did it too getting the same warm reaction.
This picture may make it hard to guess who just scored an owngoal and lost the game and who just won the game… The video for the nonbelievers http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fG2Mqza-DDY
It is Portuguese time! Cristiano has played one game so far with his national team. They faced Ecuador in Lisbon and Cristiano scored a beautiful goal thanks to an even better assist by Coentrão. He made it 11 goals in 9 games and 2 assists in 2013. Cristiano left the pitch when the game was 2-1 but Portugal ended up losing 2-3 after he was subbed off.
Around this time, around the time of his 28th birthday, Cristiano Ronaldo conceded to magnificent interviews. The first one to Diario AS and the second one to The Sun where you can see a different side of him.
Diario AS among the things talked about, Cristiano has expressed his desire to play until he turns 38. He says that the doctors have told him that because of his good genetics it will not be at all impossible for him to achieve it. In that same interview he is told that he is being compared to Don Alfredo which makes him proud. A few weeks later Don Alfredo expressed he felt blessed that people were comparing Cristiano to him. My favourite moment of the interview came when he got asked if he had noticed that he is not being insulted as much in rival stadiums to which he answered,
“It’s not good for children to hear the things they sing in stadiums. It’s just a football match and people should be going to a football stadium to enjoy the spectacle and not insult or threaten the players”
After having become an Ambassador for Save the Children, Cristiano talked about his charitable work with The Sun.
all the fame in the world can fix a problem but it if you look at the glass half full, it can help.
“All around the world I have to deal with my fame. I can’t go anywhere without being recognized, which can be very hard — but doing this, I can use that fame. It is such a great feeling. This is what I want to do when I finish my career, to do something in the future even bigger than this.”
Despite having a lot of fame and money, Cristiano remains grounded.
“Listen I’m not going to change the world, you’re not going to change the world. But we can help, we can all help”
Back to the pitch
Against Sevilla Cristiano reached a milestone. He scored a hattrick, two of those goals with his “bad” foot… whatever that means! For his last goal he ran 90 meters in under 10 seconds, had he pushed that ball with his left foot it would have become his first hattrick with his “””bad””” one. That made it 20 hattricks for CR in Real Madrid, 17 in Liga making him the 4th top hattrick scorer in the history of La Liga. Well that was fast! Furthermore Cristiano became the 6th ALL-TIME top scorer for Real Madrid. 182 goals in 179 games.
Second key game of the season, Cristiano Ronaldo faces for the first time his former team that launched him internationally. Before the kick off, Cristiano donated 100 000 euros that were awarded to him by the UEFA for making the team of the year.
Real Madrid – Manchester United at the Bernabeu. You could say Cristiano “flew” past this game. His former coach, Sir Alex, had nothing but good words for his former pupil. This is how Sir Alex experienced Cristiano’s goal
“I said to Patrice Evra at half-time, ‘why didn’t you challenge him?’ and then I saw the replays,” Ferguson said. “It was then that I thought, ‘what was I talking about?’
“I felt a bit stupid because, on the replay, Cristiano’s knee is about as high as Evra’s head – phenomenal”
It surely was phenomenal – sorry about the bad pic! Knees to the head!
In Cristiano’s life there is time for everything. Cristiano will be the cover of the March 2013 GQ España. Why do I bring this up you may ask yourself? Well, interestingly enough, in the short interview granted, Cristiano got asked if he would like to play next to his son. Although he admitted to never have thought about it, he said it was a great idea. Could you imagine? Here is the cover the the magazine, just for kicks.
Second to last game in February. Real Madrid visits Riazor and in the first 45 minutes we are down 1-0. Cristiano had an unusual spot – the bench. Early in the second half Cristiano entered the pitch and revolutionized the game alongside Mesut Ozil and Kaká. Remountada. 2-1, the three points achieved and back to Madrid.
Well, well, well… the second clásico of the year just ended. In case you suffer from short-term memory loss…WE ARE IN THE FINALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3-1.
Cristiano with the brace… he becomes the first player to score in 6 games consecutively away in the history of clasicos.
BRING ON THE REST OF 2013!!!!!!