Spluttering pair going through a Real barren spell

MADRID • Just six months after Cristiano Ronaldo racked up 25 league goals to propel Real Madrid to the LaLiga title, he seems to have lost his scoring touch.

While the champions eased to a 3-0 victory over Las Palmas on Sunday, the fact that neither Ronaldo nor Karim Benzema scored is causing concern at the Bernabeu.

The duo have not scored in LaLiga since hitting a goal apiece as Real laboured to a 2-1 victory over Getafe three weeks ago. Those strikes remain their only Spanish league goals this campaign.

The club's top scorers are midfielders Marco Asensio and Isco, with four each. It is a far cry from Lionel Messi's 12 goals for Barcelona.

"Cristiano and Benzema do things well on the pitch. Isco scores from Ronaldo's cross," manager Zinedine Zidane said when quizzed about their goal droughts.

"They're setting them up at the moment - but runs change."

While fans are hoping the lean spell will end soon, patience is wearing thin where Benzema is concerned. He was booed off the pitch when he was substituted after yet again making little impact.

When former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker recently tweeted that Benzema was "over-rated", the Frenchman reacted by accusing the Englishman of spreading "hatred".

Unfortunately for Benzema, the numbers do not add up.

Apart from the Getafe strike, he has found the net only once more this season, during the Spanish Super Cup second-leg win over Barca. It is a poor return in 11 appearances in all competitions this season.

With the champions trailing leaders Barca by eight points and a trip to Atletico Madrid coming up after the international break, the misfiring duo need to find their shooting boots quickly.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2017, with the headline 'Spluttering pair going through a Real barren spell'. Print Edition | Subscribe