Cristiano Ronaldo Must Use Performance Against Barcelona to Turn Around Season

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates scoring his sides opening goal during the Copa del Rey semi final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou on February 26, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals on Tuesday to help Real Madrid upset rival Barcelona 3-1 in the Copa del Rey. The star forward has to make sure that this performance is not a fluke.

Considering Barcelona's overall dominance in La Liga this season, the result in the semifinal was one of the more surprising results in 2013. Even keeping the first leg a draw was impressive, but winning the second leg on the road proves that Real Madrid is still one of the top clubs in the world.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case throughout most of the 2012-13 season. The club is currently in third place in La Liga and is 16 points out of first place.

Ronaldo has been a big part of that. Even though he is second in the league in goals scored behind Lionel Messi, he has been incredibly inconsistent all year.

Since the beginning of January, Ronaldo has started in 12 matches for Real Madrid in various competitions. In that time the team has won eight, lost one and drew three.

In the wins, he scored a total of 15 goals—an average of almost two per match—but in the other matches he only scored one goal, or 0.25 per match.

What makes it worse is that there are times when he almost seems invisible on the pitch. In those matches, the rest of the squad is unable to pick up the slack and it results in a negative outcome.

However, El Classico always brings out the best in the Spanish squad.

The defense performed very well in the effort to defend Messi, and the dangerous opposing midfield, while Ronaldo was able to put two balls in the back of the net.

Although neither goal was particularly impressive, he was rewarded for being aggressive and always being part of the action.

It is almost impossible for a player to score every time he suits up, but Ronaldo has shown the skill to put up ridiculous numbers for his squad.

For Real Madrid to be successful, he needs to give it his best effort every day.

In all likelihood, the La Liga title is already out of reach. However, there are a few other ways for this to be a successful year for Madrid.

With Tuesday's win, the squad will face the winner of Sevilla FC and Atletico Madrid in the final of the Copa del Rey. If Real Madrid can perform as well as it did against Barcelona, it should be able to take the title.

Additionally, the squad has to prepare for the second leg of the Champions League match against Manchester United. This team has the talent to win it all, but it comes down to consistency.

Ronaldo is without question the most important player on this club. If he comes to play and is able to score a goal or two, there are not too many squads in the world that can win.

However, we have also seen this season what happens when he struggles.

Ronaldo must use this big victory over a heated rival as a momentum builder that fuels success for the rest of the year.