While his team may have progressed to the knockouts, Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance in the group stage of the ongoing World Cup has left much to be desired. Such has been Ronaldo’s lacklustre form that he has been named in the worst XI of the World Cup group stage.
In a list compiled by SofaScore, Ronaldo was placed up front with an average rating of 6.37 across the three group matches. Ronaldo could not manage a single goal from open play and the only scoring opportunity came against Ghana via a penalty.
The 37-year-old’s performance against South Korea was perhaps directly responsible for the opening goal. Consequently, Portugal were beaten by the Taegeuk Warriors in the final group match.
While Ronaldo leads the line in the worst-playing XI, he is joined in the front two by Qatar’s golden boy, Almoez Ali with a lowly SofaScore of 6.23.
The midfield comprises of Canada’s Tajon Buchanan (6.10), Qatar’s Karim Boudiaf (6.30), Saudi Arabia’s Abdulellah Al-Malki (6.15) and Australia’s Leckie (6.33).
The two centre-backs have been named Costa Rican Francisco Calvo (6.25) and Oscar Duarte (6.30). Meanwhile, Canadian defender Alistair Johnston (6.40) is placed at right-back and Homam Ahmed (6.23) is his counterpart at left-back.
With the Portuguese not as pacy and agile as once he was, opposition teams are able to tame Ronaldo easily. Acting as a poacher in the twilight years of his career, Ronaldo has come under criticism regarding his playing style and if it suits the needs of modern football teams.
His tumultuous stay at Manchester United was more often than not plagued by this particular question. While Ronaldo fared relatively well in the last season, he could not break into Eric Ten Hag’s plans as the Dutch plays a high-pressing game.
While Ronaldo may not have fired all cylinders in the group stage, he certainly has the calibre to lift his game in the big games. Portugal square up against Switzerland on Tuesday and manager Fernando Santos will hope that his talisman could regain some of the old touch.