Struggling Cristiano Ronaldo is still key player for Real Madrid – Butragueno

Clubs, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Real Madrid, Spanish Primera División, Story


The FC crew answer your tweets on whether or not Real Madrid should consider benching Cristiano Ronaldo and assess Liverpool’s top-four chances without Philippe Coutinho.
After Real Madrid’s draw at Celta Vigo, the FC crew identify the issues that have seen the reigning La Liga winners fall 16 points off the top.
Gareth Bale scored two goals in a match for the first time since 2016, but Real Madrid were denied three points by a late Celta Vigo goal.
Gareth Bale scored two goals in a match for the first time since 2016, but Real Madrid were denied three points by a late Celta Vigo goal.

Emilio Butragueno has said Cristiano Ronaldo is “vital” to Real Madrid after the Ballon d’Or holder suffered more frustration in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo.

Gareth Bale struck twice for Madrid, but Ronaldo missed a chance with his side 2-1 up as a Daniel Wass chip and Maxi Gomez’ header gave Celta a deserved point.

The result left Zinedine Zidane’s side fourth in the table, 16 points behind runaway leaders Barcelona, with their lowest points tally at this stage since 2008-09.

Ronaldo had 11 goals at this time last season but has just four in La Liga so far this term.

Speaking to Movistar Plus, director of institutional relations Butragueno said: “Cristiano is always there, he can score in any moment.

“Today he had a chance on the counter before [the Celta equaliser], but he is always a reference for us, a vital player.”

Despite regular injury setbacks, Bale is Madrid’s joint top scorer, along with Ronaldo, Isco and Marco Asensio who are all on four in the first season in history that no Madrid player has managed at least five from their first 17 games.

Bale’s four goals have come from 18 shots across 498 minutes in La Liga, while Ronaldo’s four have taken 83 attempts in 1,156 minutes of playing time.

And Butragueno said Bale had illustrated what he could provide for the team when fit.

“In three minutes, he turned a game around that was very difficult for us,” he said.

“He found space very well in both goals, with two extraordinary passes from [Toni] Kroos and Isco which found a good run. He showed all he can do for us in those minutes.”

Madrid under-18s coach Guti and Alvaro Arbeloa, now a TV pundit, tweeted their backing for him during the game, with the latter writing: “@GarethBale11 is back!!!!!!!!!.”

Left-back Marcelo appeared to be at least partly at fault for both goals on the 11th anniversary of his arrival at club.

Speaking after the game, he said it was “a bit ugly” to single him out as personally responsible but added that Madrid were feeling the pressure of their patchy form.

“We are upset — we want to get out of this position we are in, which we do not like at all,” he added.

“It’s one of worst situations I’ve been in, so far behind the leader. The truth is it’s difficult, as the more points you drop the pressure increases.

“We are doing all we can, trying to play well, to move the ball around, score goals, but truth is it is not working.”

Midfielder Casemiro told Casa del Futbol he agreed with Zidane that a quick-fix signing such as Athletic Bilbao keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was not the answer.

“What we need is to play better — all of us,” he said. “The problem isn’t a keeper. When we lose, we all lose.”

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan



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