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Cristiano Ronaldo vs Thomas Muller: How did Portugal's talisman perform in comparison to Germany's hat-trick hero?

Prozone stats show the Portuguese was outdone by Bayern hitman
  • @Tom_Sheen

Ahead of the 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Germany, Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo said he was “100 per cent fit” for the game and had “nothing to prove” at this World Cup. That was clearly not the case. Portugal’s talisman has now scored just two goals in 11 World Cup matches across 2006, 2010 and now 2014, and despite his best efforts, was clearly unable to make a real impression in the Group G opener.

Despite his words, the 29-year-old was still clearly hampered by the tendinosis in his right knee and Pepe’s stupid red card in the sweltering Salvador heat didn’t help either.

But despite a quick start, where he forced Manuel Neuer into a smart save from a sharp angle, Ronaldo struggled the longer the game went on. The only other time he troubled Neuer was with a well-struck late free-kick when the result was already decided.

Aside from the obvious point that one man scored a hat-trick and the other didn’t get on the scoresheet, Ronaldo was outperformed by his opposite number, Thomas Muller.

According to Prozone statistics, Ronaldo spent double the amount of time on the ball to Muller, but did much less with it and took up far less dangerous positions than the German.

Ronaldo spent 1min 6sec on the ball, while Muller spent just 32sec on the ball. But during that time each player completed 23 passes – with Muller even attempting two more – and Germany’s hat-trick hero put in one more cross than the Portuguese.

The Real Madrid man also struggled to move the ball forward; 49 per cent of his passes went sideways, with just 23 per cent going forward. Muller played more backwards passes but he also played 29 per cent of his passes forward.

Cristiano Ronaldo's statistics for the game, from Prozone

Moreover, the majority of Muller’s touches came in the final quarter – within about 30 yards of goal. Ronaldo had 14 touches in this area, eight of those coming inside the 18-yard box, while Muller had 24, with nine inside the area.

Against the 10 men Muller obviously found it much easier to find space in the opponents’ half. Each player had 39 ‘individual possessions’ but playing against an extra man for almost an hour, Ronaldo had to come deeper to find the ball, with eight of those coming in his own half. Muller had just five touches in the Germany half.

Thomas Muller's statistics for the game, from Prozone

Ronaldo’s shooting was wayward, with just two of his seven shots testing Neuer, whereas Muller found the net with all three of his shots on target. Often criticised for not being involved in the build-up, Muller’s World Cup record is astonishing not just compared to Ronaldo’s, but to some of the best players of all time.

 He now has eight goals in just seven matches, making him the joint-22nd highest World Cup scorer of all-time, scoring every 70mins he plays. Only six players with five goals or more can better that record, and of those players, Portuguese great Eusebio (born 1942) is the closest to him in age.

Muller is one of the most clinical strikers in World Cup history

His clinical finishing has brought those goals from just nine shots on target and he has been involved in 11 of Germany’s last 20 World Cup goals.

Ronaldo now has until Sunday night to get himself back to his best, when Portugal face the USA in Manaus.