Cristiano Ronaldo's heatmap in Real Madrid's 3-0 victory over APOEL reveals one telling thing about the forward


Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over APOEL in their Champions League group stage opener at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

The Portuguese broke the deadlock for the competition holders in just 12 minutes before converting a penalty after the break.

Sergio Ramos hit the back of the net with an overhead kick with a half an hour still to play, but in reality, Ronaldo had already secured the three points.

Goals have always been a huge part of Ronaldo’s game, but in recent years his important strikes have been the difference for Real Madrid.

The Real Madrid forward claps the fans after the game

And his heatmap from the APOEL game explains why this is the case perfectly.

Back in his Manchester United days, Ronaldo would play on the left and regular beat a few players before firing in from long range.

He’d even start moves from as far back as the half way line at times, skinning players with his sheer athleticism before scoring or setting up Wayne Rooney.

The Portuguese spent the majority of the match in the opposition’s penalty area

Today his legs aren’t quite what they were, which is to be expected given his declining years as a professional footballer, but that doesn’t mean to say he is on the decline.

He’s far from it in fact. Zinedine Zidane, releasing just how prolific the Portuguese is, moved him into a more central, number 9 position.

Ronaldo is no longer an inverted winger or roaming playmaker, instead he’s a penalty box predator whose timing and reading of the game is second to none.

Ronaldo celebrates scoring Real Madrid’s opener at the Bernabeu

It is exactly this which allows him to beat defenders to the ball, find channels of space, and, crucially, beat any keeper in the game.

And it is exactly why he is still the most important player in the world’s greatest team.

The 32-year-old is the ultimate predator in the penalty area

The above image of Ronaldo’s heatmap from the APOEL game shows he spent the vast majority of the fixture in the opposition’s box.

Sure, he veered towards the left at times, which is only natural. But for the most part he stayed disciplined and got his goals.

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