The Real Madrid coach insists his side must not rely solely on the Ballon d’Or winner to provide their goal threat when they face Malmo in the Champions League
Rafael Benitez says Cristiano Ronaldo is not anxious about his lack of goals this season and has backed him to find his scoring touch for Real Madrid against Malmo in Wednesday’s Champions League match.
The Portugal star has scored eight times so far this season but all of those goals came in just two matches, as he netted against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League and Espanyol in La Liga.
However, Ronaldo is by far the most frequent shooter in the Spanish top flight, having had 41 attempts in six games – Lionel Messi is next with 24 and behind him is Iago Aspas on 18.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner came under fire again on Saturday for failing to score in a 0-0 draw with Malaga, but Benitez insists the likes of Isco and Jese Rodriguez must help share the goalscoring burden.
“Is Ronaldo anxious? He is quite well, as is the rest of the team. We created a lot of chances on Saturday and we did not concede. But yes, we have to increase our accuracy,” said the Madrid boss ahead of Wednesday’s game.
“The players were not calm enough to make the best decisions because they were so eager to score against Malaga.
“I see Cristiano as I see the the rest of the team. When the team creates chances, Cristiano has the opportunity to score. I’m sure he’ll score goals, he’s a guarantee for goals. He has my absolute confidence.
“I think it’s normal that Malmo are thinking about stopping him, he has fantastic attacking potential.
“Our second line of attack needs to improve its goal tally, too. Players like Isco and Jese. We can’t only rely on Karim Benzema and Cristiano.
“In this case, what’s important is to continue encouraging and motivating all of the players who score the team’s goals. It’s only a matter of time until our attacking players start scoring again.”
Benitez has been criticised in some quarters in Spain for being too defensively-minded for Madrid, but the former Napoli boss has shrugged off such comments.
“There is no Benitez ‘method’. We try to be more solid in defence without losing the quality in attack,” he said.
“You have to rotate when you’re at a team like Real Madrid. I think a team with this quality allows that. But the difference lies in the quality of the players.
“If you’re in the Champions League it’s because you’re of a standard. We have to play to our best as they will leave everything out on the pitch.
“We have to play in the best way possible. We’ve prepared for the game and studied videos of Malmo.”