Cristiano Ronaldo’s barren runs as United ace suffers longest drought since 2010

Manchester United v Southampton – Premier League – Old Trafford
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Cristiano Ronaldo’s scoreless start to 2022 now extends to six games after his weekend blank against Southampton.

The Manchester United forward had a goal disallowed and another goalbound effort cleared and is now on his longest scoreless run since 2010.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the Portugal star’s current drought and how it compares to his previous record.

Ronaldo’s rough run

Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a penalty in the FA Cup loss to Middlesbrough

Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a penalty in the FA Cup loss to Middlesbrough (Martin Rickett/PA)

Since scoring United’s third in a 3-1 win over Burnley on December 30, Ronaldo has been held at bay for six straight games:

Manchester United 0 Wolves 1, January 3

Standing in as captain, Ronaldo had a goal disallowed in the second half before Joao Moutinho earned Wolves the three points.

Brentford 1 Manchester United 3, January 19

Ronaldo was furious when he was substituted with United 2-0 up, but his replacement Marcus Rashford rounded off a much-needed win.

Manchester United 1 West Ham 0, January 22

Cristiano Ronaldo, front, goes down under Kurt Zouma's challenge in the Premier League game against West Ham

Cristiano Ronaldo, front, goes down under Kurt Zouma’s challenge (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Ronaldo’s frustration was evident after he was denied a first-half penalty following Kurt Zouma’s challenge, but Rashford eventually snatched victory for United.

Manchester United 1 Middlesbrough 1 (Middlesbrough won 8-7 on penalties), February 4

Ronaldo missed a first-half penalty and though Jadon Sancho quickly put United ahead, Matt Crooks controversially equalised and Boro won the shoot-out despite Ronaldo netting on that occasion.

Burnley 1 Manchester United 1, February 8

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick reacts on the touchline as substitute Cristiano Ronaldo prepares to enter the game at Burnley

Cristiano Ronaldo, right, was restricted to an appearance from the bench against Burnley (Martin Rickett/PA)

Paul Pogba’s opener was cancelled out by Jay Rodriguez before Ronaldo came off the bench and headed over from his only opportunity.

Manchester United 1 Southampton 1, February 12

Ronaldo rounded keeper Fraser Forster in the first half only for sliding defender Romain Perraud to clear his shot, while when VAR reviewed his disallowed second-half header Ronaldo was among at least five players offside. Southampton earned a point as Che Adams cancelled out Sancho’s opener.

Previous droughts

Bolton Wanderers' Jussi Jaaskelainen, left, saves from Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009

Bolton Wanderers’ Jussi Jaaskelainen, left, saves to extend Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2008-09 scoring drought to seven games (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ralf Rangnick insists United’s poor recent scoring record is “not only an issue with Cristiano” but after Ronaldo was brought back to the club in the summer to provide a cutting edge, his longest drought in over a decade is an untimely development.

The last time he failed to score for six games included fixtures with club and country in 2010, in Portugal’s World Cup games against Brazil and Spain followed by Real Madrid’s first four games of the season against Real Mallorca, Osasuna and Real Sociedad in LaLiga and Ajax in the Champions League.

In his first spell at United, Ronaldo went seven games without scoring between December 2008 and January 2009.

The run began at the Club World Cup, where he scored against Gamba Osaka but then drew a blank in the win over LDU Quito. Stoke and Middlesbrough stopped him scoring in 1-0 Premier League wins for United and he then made a scoreless substitute appearance against Derby in the League Cup.

He played the full 90 minutes in league wins over Chelsea, Wigan and Bolton without troubling the scorers before his drought finally ended in the return leg against Derby.

That goal was an 89th-minute penalty, meaning his barren run since the 45th-minute strike against Gamba stretched to 695 minutes, compared to 540 in the run with Real and Portugal – the full 90 minutes in each game – and 453 in his current sequence.

In the intervening years, Ronaldo averaged an astonishing 50 goals per season with Real and almost 34 with Juventus, but has eight in 20 league games and 14 in 26 in all competitions since returning to United.

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