Cristiano Ronaldo's Duels, Defending and Passing: The Untold Stats

Peter BrownellContributor IFebruary 20, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 17: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF reacts during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Rayo Vallecano at estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 17, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Nearly every soccer fan in the world knows about Cristiano Ronaldo's spectacular finishing capabilities.  They are aware of his powerful dribbling, how his superior pace and dexterous feet make him a nightmare for defenders. 

They might not know how often he engages in individual duels, what his defensive tendencies are or the type of passer he is. 

The following statistics are based on metrics that are often overlooked when discussing Ronaldo's qualities.  They come from this season's La Liga appearances and were obtained through advanced metric websites, Squawka and WhoScored, both of which are powered by Opta.  

Witnessing a typical Real Madrid match suggests Ronaldo is an active one-on-one footballer.  The numbers indicate as much.  His most impressive duel numbers: attempted take-ons and fouls suffered.  Few players are so willing to try and beat defenders like Ronaldo.  He receives physical punishment for his efforts.

His least active aspect of one-on-one statistical football is tackling.  Ronaldo has only attempted 11 tackles this LA Liga season, far less than once a game.  He almost always wins on these rare occasions, however, dispossessing the opposition on all but one attempted tackle. 

Ronaldo does not earn his checks on the defensive side of the ball.  His combined clearances, blocks and interceptions leave him with less than one defensive action per match.  Add his successful tackles to this figure and Ronaldo completes slightly over one defensive action per match.

The most work he does defensively is with clearances, bashing away dangerous balls 14 times this La Liga season.

Ronaldo is an underrated passer.  The Portuguese international has created 40 chances this season, just about 1.7 per La Liga match.  His 580 successful passes on 751 attempts give him an average of 32.7 passes per match with a 77.2 percent passing accuracy.

He is an infrequent crosser, managing to connect on six of his 52 cross attempts.  He's more efficient with through balls and long balls, successfully linking with teammates on 11-of-20 long balls and 6-of- 20 through balls.