Ronaldo vs Zlatan!

StadiumThis Friday sees the first leg of the World Cup 2014 play off between Portugal and Sweden take place at Estadio Da Luz, Portugal. These games not only represents a chance for one of the teams to claim a place in Brazil but also allows for two of the world’s best players to use their individual skills against each other. We are talking about, of course, Christiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

There is no doubt that it will be a great shame that one of these superstars won’t be at next year’s showpiece but with the coming together of these two superstars, we used our data to do a detailed analysis on the difference between Zlatan and Christiano when it comes to shots on goal as they both have very impressive scoring records. Our data is based on the 13 La Liga games that Ronaldo has played this season so far and the 12 Ligue 1 games that Zlatan has played in. We have decided not to include penalties in our analysis though.

Cristiano_RonaldoLet’s start with Ronaldo – thus far this season he has played 13 games for Real Madrid. During those games he managed to take 97 shots on goal, scoring 11 goals in the process (16 including penalties). This means that he takes a shot every 12 minutes,scoring every 73 minutes. The number of shots that Ronaldo takes per game is far higher than any other player and significantly higher than the average. Some might say that the reason he takes so many shots is because he is a selfish player but it could also be due to the tactics of the team which could be that he should be given the ball more and try more shots. Out of those 97 shots, 59% were taken from a good position in front of goal whereas 41% were taken in a more difficult situation. 35% of his shots from a good position resulted in no danger on the opposition goal whereas 19% came close to scoring but the shot either went wide or it was blocked by the keeper or a defender. An impressive 32% required the keeper to make a good save or went inches close to being goal. 8 of the 11 goals that he has scored were done in a good position. Regarding his 40 shots from a more difficult situation, 65% resulted in no real danger on the opposition goal. 20% could have gone either way and only 8% came close to being a goal. He did manage to score 3 goals though.

When it comes to free kicks, Ronaldo has taken 18 so far with 11 getting passed the wall and only 7 being blocked. 5 of those got past the wall but were off target whilst 4 came dangerously close to being a goal. He did managed to score 2 goals from free kicks so far.


As for Zlatan, he has taken 60 shots on goal so far, scoring 6 goals in the process. This equated to a shot every 16.5 minutes and a goal every 123 minutes. It could be that he has taken less shots than Ronaldo due to the difference in quality between the overall Real Madrid team and his PSG teammates. 68% of his shots were taken in a good position and only 32% were taken from further out or in a more difficult situation. Of those shots, 41% were harmless, 12% were closer to goal but not really threatening and 34% of the shots were dangerous and came very close to going in. 5 of his 6 goals came from these types of shots. In relation to his shots from difficult situations, he only took 19 shots or 41% from here with 63% being harmless, 32% closer to goal and no shots being classified as dangerous. He did score one goal from a difficult situation and it was a real spectacular effort (vs Bastia).

When it comes to free kicks, Zlatan has taken 11 of these and of which 2 were dangerously close to being a goal, 5 were not dangerous and 4 were blocked by the wall. He was not, however, able to score any goals from his free kicks.

From our data, we have seen that whilst both players are extremely dangerous on the ball and capable of showing extraordinary skill, Ronaldo is the player that is more prepared to shoot for goal, regardless of where he is on the pitch or what situation he may find himself. This is not only evident from the number of shots he takes per game but also from the kind of situation he is in when he takes those shots and their level of effectiveness. Zlatan, on the other hand it seems, prefers and is more effective when taking shots from less difficult situations. Despite this, he is still extremely capable of pulling the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and has scored some truly astonishing goals from difficult situation (one needs only to ask Joe Hart!). It will be interesting to see how these two players fare when coming up against each other in Friday’s game..

Pictures courtesy of:

Leave a Reply