Cristiano Ronaldo: The Man Behind Real Madrid's Renaissance

Football News

After nine years, 15 trophies including three consecutive UEFA Champions League title, and a record 450 goals, Cristiano Ronaldo bid farewell to Real Madrid

Written By Narayan R | Mumbai | Updated On:
(Source: Getty Images)

After nine years, 16 trophies including three consecutive UEFA Champions League title, and a record 450 goals, Cristiano Ronaldo bid farewell to Real Madrid. The Portugese skipper decided his time in Spain was up, and will now be seen in Seria A with Juventus.

If one looks at the time Ronaldo spent at Real, there is nothing but success, both for the player and the club. The Spanish giants, for all their history, were struggling in the first decade of 2000, living in the shadows of their arch-rivals Barcelona.


Florentino Perez, the originator of 'Galacticos', became the club President in June 2009. The first thing he did after assuming his role was to splash the cash. In order to bring quality to Real, Perez brought in Kaka for almost 60 million pounds.

But that wasn't the signing he, or the Real fans were looking for. It was Ronaldo's. And a few days later, it became reality. For a then record fee of 80 million pounds, Real Madrid captured the Portugese superstar from Manchester United.


Ronaldo's first season at Spain was injury-hit, with him managing only 35 matches overall, though, scoring an impressive 33 goals. For a second season in succession, Real Madrid went trophyless.

But the second season for Ronaldo at Spain proved fruitful. For the first time since 1992/93, Real Madrid won the Copa del Ray. The Portugese was the joint top-scorer in the competition with seven goals, and finished the season overall with 53 goals in 54 matches.

While there was the disappointment of watching Barcelona win the La Liga and UEFA Champions League, a success in La Liga was just the kind of start Ronaldo and Real needed.

And it proved to be the kick starter, as they won the La Liga for an astonishing 32nd time. It was also their first since 2007/08. Again, it was Ronaldo who shone, with 40 goals in 34 league matches, and 60 goals in 55 matches in all competitions.

The 2012/13 campaign was a disappointment for the club, as they went trophyless. But Ronaldo wasn't to be blamed, as he again scored 55 goals in as many games. This season was a mere blip, and what has followed since then is nothing short of spectacular.

Real Madrid had last won the UEFA Champions League in 2001/02. That was their ninth title, and they were desperate for La Decima ever since then. And they achieved the feat in 2013/14.


Carlo Ancelloti had taken charge of the club, and it proved to be a masterstroke. He brought in the pacey Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur for a world record fee of 85.3 million pounds. 

Ronaldo now had more support in his ranks, and it proved to be devastating. Real Madrid won their 19th Copa del Ray title, beating Barcelona in the final. Bale was the tormenter that night, using his pace and skill to rip apart the opposition defense. And he did that in front of Ronaldo, who was watching him from stands.

After this success, came the big one, the 'La Decima'. Real Madrid rode their luck at numerous times during the tournament. Even in the final against Atletico Madrid, they were one the verge of failing, but eventually won 4-1. 

Ronaldo was unbelievable throughout the campaign. He scored a record 17 goals, and also came up with five assists. If there was ever a tournament which displayed such individual greatness, this was it!

This was followed by UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup, meaning Real Madrid won four titles in an year.


Ronaldo enjoyed his best ever campaign in 2014/15, scoring 61 goals in just 54 appearances. But while there was success personally, there was nothing to show in terms of trophies. Real Madrid won nothing that season, and saw bitter rivals Barcelona win everything. 

READ: Real Madrid Confirms Cristiano Ronaldo's Departure To Juventus

A poor season saw Perez ring the changes, and Ancelloti was gone, only to be replaced by Rafa Benitez. 

CR7 enjoyed a very mediocre relationship with Benitez. The former Liverpool manager never received support from the club fans or players, and he failed to produce the results. In January 2016, Benitez was relieved of his duties, and then assistant coach Zinedine Zidane took over.


The next two and a half years became the golden years in Real Madrid and Ronaldo's career. Within half a season, Zidane guided Real to their 11th UEFA Champions League and second title in three years. This triumph was followed by another Club World Cup. Ronaldo's game time came down, with him playing only 48 matches, though, still managing to score 51 goals. 

Zidane decided to use Ronaldo judicially in what proved to be the final two years for both the individuals at Real Madrid. The Portugese's influence at the club started to come down, but nevertheless, he was the man getting the goals.

READ: WORLD CUP 2018: Croatia Skipper Luka Modric Hopeful Of Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid Stay

He played 90 matches and scored 86 goals. His goal per game ratio came down, but the trophy count increased. Two more UEFA Champions League, a La Liga title in 2016/17, a Spanish Super Cup, a UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup in 2017 followed.


Zidane stunned the football world when he announced that he would quit Real Madrid. And a month or so later, Ronaldo decided his time at the club is up. It might be too early to suggest the two were related, but the signs are there that there was a connection.

Real Madrid fans will want to deny, but as much as they can hate, this is the reality. Ronaldo has left Real Madrid and joined Juventus. But his decision should not affect the legacy he leaves behind at the club.

Whatever the success Real have achieved in the past decade, Ronaldo has been the man behind it. 

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