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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Ronaldo's goal drought is long for him but pales in comparison to Torres and Forlan

Juventus striker's dry spell is his longest in club football since 2011

Hours could be spent trawling through Cristiano Ronaldo's statistics, marveling at his magnificent goalscoring record.

Perhaps most remarkable of all has been his consistency, which helped him pass 40 goals for Real Madrid every season since 2010/11, including two seasons in which he surpassed 60. But the goals have dried up since he arrived at Juventus in the summer.

And a deep dive into the numbers reveals Ronaldo is in the midst of his longest scoring drought in club football since February 2011 when he was shut out by Espanyol, Levante and Deportivo La Coruna in La Liga and Lyon in the Uefa Champions League.

It may be only four matches, but for Ronaldo it must feel like an eternity having failed to hit the back of the net against Liverpool in last season's Champions League final and again in his first three matches for Juventus in Serie A - against Chievo, Lazio and Parma.

His scoring in the 2010/11 season was indeed patchy, with only one in his first seven club matches and a couple of other streaks where he didn't score for three matches in a row - but he still scored 50 times, including 11 in a four-match spell towards the end of the campaign.

Four goalless games can hardly be called a crisis, and he did net for Portugal at the World Cup during the summer. But Ronaldo is clearly finding life in Serie A tougher amid the nation's fascination and history of the Catenaccio style, which translates to "door-bolt".

"In Italian football there are different challenges," Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri said after Saturday's victory against Parma. "But he played a good game. It's one of those periods but I'm happy with what he's doing. The international break will help him to become sharper."

Juventus play next on September 16 against Sassuolo.

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With 23 shots, the 33 year old has had the most of any Juventus player this season, and it's inconceivable that such an extraordinary physical specimen could go downhill so quickly.

He should, however, lower his expectations in Italy, according to former Juventus defender Ciro Ferrera, who told Il Corriere di Torino: "I think he'll score at most 25-26 goals this season, but certainly fewer than he's accustomed to scoring in Spain."

Most strikers go through a spell at some point in their career when the goals dry up, and some of the biggest names haven't been exempt.

Saido Berahino, well below the elite but a player who came close to being picked for England a few years ago after a prolific season for West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League, has made headlines for the wrong reasons over the past year.

He recently ended a drought lasting 913 days when he netted for Stoke City against Huddersfield Town in the League Cup - his first strike in 35 appearances for the club for whom he cost £15 million (Dh71m).

Another current player going through a lean spell is Raheem Sterling, despite scoring regularly for Manchester City. His barren patch is in international football, having gone 26 matches without scoring for England. Prolific former England striker Alan Shearer went nearly two years without an international goal before top scoring at Euro 96.

Diego Forlan scored plenty for Uruguay but had a difficult time when he signed for Manchester United. Getty Images
Diego Forlan scored plenty for Uruguay but had a difficult time when he signed for Manchester United. Getty Images

Diego Forlan suffered as much as any striker when he first arrived at Manchester United in 2002. He hadn't scored in his previous 26 matches when United faced Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League in September of that year. A penalty was awarded in the last minute and Forlan was sympathetically handed the ball to finally open his account. He went on to finish joint top scorer at the 2010 World Cup.

Any mention of goal droughts to Chelsea fans and one name instantly springs up - Fernando Torres.

Having cost £50m from Liverpool in January 2011, the Spaniard embarked on a remarkable spell of woeful finishing, failing to score in 24 appearances from October 19 until a double in an FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur in March 2012.

Fernando Torres is now playing in the J-League for Sagan Tosu. AFP
Fernando Torres is now playing in the J-League for Sagan Tosu. AFP

After claiming that Torres was suffering from a "psychological problem", manager Roberto Di Matteo did what all good managers do and said the barren spell didn't matter "as long as the team was winning".

The club's fans had become used to big money strikers flopping having seen the previously prolific Andriy Shevchenko struggle after arriving from AC Milan, and before him Chris Sutton contributed a solitary Premier League goal in 28 matches.

Will we be placing Ronaldo in the same bracket come the end of his season? Highly unlikely, but if it can happen to Torres and Shevchenko it can happen to anyone.

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