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Dublin: 0°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo is experiencing the biggest slump of his career in 12 years

The Real Madrid man has suffered a surprisingly poor start to the season – the worst he has endured in quite some time.

IT’S NO SECRET that Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t enjoyed the best of starts to the 2017-18 term, with last season’s exploits from the man himself and his team making it all the more surprising.

Real Madrid won La Liga, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup in a historic season that saw the capital side pick up their first ever treble.

Ronaldo was very much at the heart of those victories, with the Portuguese netting an impressive 25 Liga goals and 42 across all competitions, and Madrid looked set to dominate again this year with the 32-year-old in such stellar form.

But that hasn’t been the case.

The current Ballon d’Or holder’s troubles started early after receiving a five-match ban for shoving referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea in the wake of being shown a red card for diving against Barcelona in the Spanish Supercup.

It was always going to be an uphill battle to catch the evergreen Lionel Messi – currently on 12 goals and three assists – in the scoring charts, but no one expected Ronaldo to be struggling so badly this far into the season.

In fact, the attacker’s measly return of one goal in seven league matches is the worst start he has had since the 2005-06 season when he was still at Manchester United.

His club mates have leapt to his defence, with Casemiro and Sergio Ramos backing their talisman to score plenty more goals for the club, while boss Zinedine Zidane has made moves to stem talks of a crisis on the Portuguese’s part.

But, with the world asking what’s wrong with Ronaldo and a Madrid derby with bitter cross-town rivals Atletico up next, CR7 will be hoping for a turnaround in fortunes sooner rather than later.

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