The Juventus team already look like they’re adjusting to new life under Maurizio Sarri’s tactics but for a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, recent stats have shown his prolific goal-scoring record might be under “threat”.
The 34-year-old has now played five games under Maurizio Sarri – except you don’t count pre-season. While pre-season may count as friendlies, the Portuguese does take them seriously and his reaction after being substituted against Tottenham indicated just that.
Sarri sees the forward as key but he also rates Gonzalo Higuain, despite the Argentina international struggling under him at Chelsea last season.
And that trust in Higuain has seen Ronaldo with less time in dangerous positions than he did under Massimiliano Allegri last term.
It might still be too early to be conclusive but taking his stats from this period last season into consideration and comparing it to that of the current season, it would seem the Portuguese might be in for a decrease in his usual goal-scoring numbers.
In his first season at Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo bagged 21 goals from 31 league appearances.
In the Serie A, he registered eight assists in the process, having 167 shots, crossing the ball 76 times and having a huge 178 touches inside the box.
In a nutshell, Allegri was happy to deeply deploy Ronaldo as a deadly finisher.
So far this season it’s been good on the goal front. The Portuguese international has scored three from those five matches(pre-season included with a Serie A strike against Napoli coming after notching against Inter Milan and Tottenham.
But if you look at the stats from the first five games, and then multiply them by six to make it closer to the 31 games Ronaldo featured in last term, it indicates a drop off.
He managed 167 shots last term but at this rate is currently on course to manage 138.
He had 76 crosses but that number, too, has reduced. It means that at this rate, by the end of the season, he’ll have just 48 to his name.
His involvement in the box will be a concern as well.
Last season his tally was a massive 178 but, by the end of the current campaign, he’s expected to manage 120.
Yes he can score screamers from outside the box but generally less touches in the box translates to lesser goals and ultimately a decline in his goal-scoring record.
Dribbling statistics have worsened as well with Ronaldo on course for 162 this term compared to 211 under Allegri.
Still don’t feel that’s conclusive enough? His heat map comparisons might tell a better story.
His heat map from this time last season shows he was spending the bulk of his time on the left-wing. But he also spent plenty of time in central areas and across the club’s attack.
But now it would appear that he’s been sticking to the left but rarely getting into central areas.
All of this means he may end up with even lesser goal-scoring numbers than he did last season.
Ronaldo’s 28 goals out of 43 appearances last season might be some player’s best ever achievement should they do so but still it’s important to note that was his lowest tally recorded in a decade.
It sounds more worrying when you realize that poor record(by his standards) is even under threat of a further decline.
It might be too early to call any conclusions and it could simply be age or fatigue telling on him. After all he’s already 34 and still manages to do what 22-year-old players will be over the moon for – should they get those expectations.
One thing is certain though – the reign of Sarri and his tactics might eventually fast-track the decline of the attacking prowess we know Cristiano Ronaldo is capable of producing. On behalf of the footballing world, we hope it’s not true.