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Ronaldo vs. Bale: Are they really having very different tournaments?

June 29, 2016

- Grant Whittington

On the face of it, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are experiencing very different tournaments at Euro 2016. While Bale is being lauded as a national hero, for example, Ronaldo has been underwhelming and cut a frustrating figure for much of the Championship.

In fact, there are some who have claimed that Bale is about to supersede Ronaldo as Real Madrid’s star man and a favourite for this years’ Ballon d’Or. Some of this may be the result of speculative British newspaper reporting, however, with the statistics suggesting that both players have enjoyed solid championships to date.

Determining Fact from Fiction: Are Ronaldo and Bale really enjoying contrasting fortunes at Euro 2016?

Both players have started all four games so far, with Portugal and Wales having progressed successfully to the quarter-finals (where they will face Poland and Belgium respectively). In these matches, Bale has plundered three impressive goals, with stunning free-kicks against Slovakia and England and a neat finish in the 3-0 demolition of Russia. The mercurial forward also laid on the winner in the second round against Northern Ireland, delivering a wicked low cross that was turned in by Gareth McAuley.

So far so good, but what about Ronaldo’s tournament? The first two games were certainly frustrating for the Portuguese, as Ronaldo struck 20 shots at goal, failed to score a single goal and even missed a penalty in the 0-0 draw with Austria. He found his form in the decisive 3-3 with Hungary, however, laying on the Portuguese opener for Nani before plundering two superb goals to earn parity. He followed this up with an assist against Croatia in the second round, following a saved shot that was turned in by Ricardo Quaresma.

The Last Word

In terms of statistics, both players have been directly involved in four goals for their country and played a central role in their progression to the quarter-finals. This is where the comparison ends, however, as while Bale has been a consistent menace and a threat in every single game, Ronaldo has been anonymous for long periods and only sporadically burst into life.

It would be wrong to write the Portuguese off, however, particularly as he has already been involved in four of the five goals that Portugal have scored in the tournament so far. If he does find his form, there is no doubt that he can still overshadow Bale and drive his nation to an impression Euro 2016 success.

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