PLAYER FOCUS: Cristiano Ronaldo

In a follow up to our post last week on the three nominees for the Ballon d’Or, today we look solely at the winner – Portugal and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo. There is no doubt that Ronaldo had one of the best years of his career in 2013. His club may have not won any trophies in 2013 but this did not stop him from scoring more goals himself than some teams in La Liga! His goals, and in particular the hattrick against Sweden, helped send Portugal to the World Cup in Brazil.

As we mentioned in our previous post, Ronaldo scored an incredible 67 goals in 2013 and in turn took significantly more shots, per game, than any of the other nominees for the Ballon d’Or. It is this particular aspect of his game that we will be focusing on in today’s post.

As stated, it is well known that Ronaldo likes to take a shot at goal whenever given the opportunity. Some might perceive this to be selfish on the part of the Real Madrid man but others argue that this is one of his strengths and he should be allowed the freedom to do so. We looked at all the games he played in La Liga in 2013 and discovered that he took an incredible 227 shots in those games alone.

Of those shots, as can be seen in the shot map below, the bulk of the shots, as can be expected, came between the area just outside the 18 yard box and the penalty spot itself. It is interesting to note that the bulk of his shots came from just left to centre. When he started his career, Ronaldo would play on the left wing but as his game has developed; he has adopted a more open position, drifting from left to right as the game progresses.

Of those shots, an impressive 94 were actually on target with 83 being off target and the remaining 50 shots were blocked and did not require the keeper to make a save. When delving into the shots themselves we can see that they are broken down even further as follows:

shots table

His placement of the shots also makes for fascinating reading. Most of his shots gravitate towards the bottom left side of the goal with very few shots going towards the roof of the net.

As for the goals themselves, we see that Ronaldo has a surprisingly low conversion rate of shots directed towards the middle right of the goal. The rest of the goals, however, are in line with the number of shots taken to that specific area.

It would be remiss of us not to look at the risk level of Ronaldo’s shots. We further looked at those shots and in particular, the situation that he found himself in, ranging from a very low scoring chance to a high scoring chance. We then graded the shots taken in those categories from posing no danger to the opposition goal to very dangerous. As can be seen below, he is likely to take a shot as soon as he finds himself in a shooting position, regardless of the what the chance of scoring a goal would be and he also makes full use of his high scoring chances by putting the ball into the back of the net regularly.


Ronaldo will undoubtedly go down as one of the best players, not only of his generation but of all time. He has won almost everything you can on club level and perhaps the only thing missing from the newly opened Museu CR7 in Madeira is a World Cup medal.

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