A duel against Atletico is always special. Cristiano Ronaldo has been wearing the Real Madrid shirt long enough to know that the derby is not just another match.
Therefore, he has decided to play from the beginning against ‘Cholo’ Simeone’s team, a decision, as always, agreed with Zinedine Zidane, and designed to ensure that the Portuguese remains in tip top condition in the final thrust of the campaign.
Ronaldo’s spectacular double against Juventus in the first leg of the Champions League has done nothing but recharge his batteries.
Apart from the magnitude of his numbers in the Champions League (119 goals, 14 in the current edition), his streak also extends to LaLiga. He has scored in eight of the last nine games he has played in the domestic competition. A little over a month ago, against Levante, was the last time he failed to hit the back of the net.
Madrid didn’t win that game, but the eight in which Ronaldo has scored since has seem him accumulate 18 goals. It has relaunched the race for the Pichichi, with the Portuguese currently second and tied with Luis Suarez on 22.
Lionel Messi remains the top marksman with 26, but with Ronaldo so potent at this stage of the season and with eight games left, he’s in a position to hunt down the Barcelona star.
For now, he will train his aim on Atletico, the team against whom he has scored the third most after Sevilla (27 goals) and Getafe (23).
In total, Ronaldo has found the net against the Rojiblancos on 21 occasions: 11 in the League, six in the Copa del Rey and four in the Champions League.
Undoubtedly, the most recent precedent to which Real Madrid cling is the first leg of the 2016/17 Champions League semifinals, also played at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
There, he scored all three goals that allowed Los Blancos to register an insurmountable 3-0 first leg lead, before the last derby played at the Estadio Vicente Calderon (2-1) in the second leg.
One more of those exhibitions from striker will be decisive, and that’s why, this Sunday in the derby, there’s no need to rest.
Cristiano Ronaldo won’t miss it.