Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the next two La Liga games against Real Sociedad and Sevilla following his red card in Real Madrid’s victory over Cordoba. The Portuguese is surely a great loss for Carlo Ancelotti and his absence will have a major impact on the team. These are some of the consequences of Ronaldo’s suspension:
1. Gareth Bale will have a new role. Without Ronaldo, Ancelotti is expected to move Bale into the striker position alongside Karim Benzema. The Welshman will play closer to goal and he will become the main target of James Rodriguez crosses from the wings. He will need to step up and become the scoring leader –Ronaldo has netted 28 in 18 appearances in La Liga– and also prove that he can shoot the free kicks as good as anybody in the squad.
2. A more balanced midfield. With Bale moving to the striker position in a 4-4-2 formation, there will be a free spot in midfield aimed to Sami Khedira, Asier Illarramendi or even recent signing Lucas Silva. Any of them will help Los Blancos gain balance. When Isco and Toni Kroos have paired in midfield the team has benefited from their creativity in attack, but they have shown more weakness in defense.
3. Jese Rodriguez will have a chance to shine. The young winger had a great impact on the team last season, but he has lacked minutes of play since he recovered from his knee injury. Los Blancos will face the crucial part of the season and they will need Jese in his best state of shape coming in from the bench. Cristiano’s absence will be good for him in order to get more action and have a more important role.
4. Ronaldo will finally get some rest. The Portuguese is in better physical shape than any footballer of his age –he will turn 30 years old next week– but still it would be unwise to make him play two games a week in such demanding competitions. He will surely benefit from having a few days of rest and he will come back stronger for the crucial games against Atletico Madrid in La Liga and Schalke 04 in the Champions League.
Certainly Ancelotti won’t like missing Ronaldo for two games in a row, but still there are some positives outcomes of this ban. If Los Blancos manage to succeed against Real Sociedad and Sevilla they will be a much stronger team when Ronaldo returns.