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Cristiano Ronaldo: the change to a 'number 9'

Ronaldo's move to centre-forward

Real Madrid's Club World Cup final win against valient Japanese side Kashima Antlers was another clear example of what's an open secret: Cristiano Ronaldo is turning into a number 9. The Portuguese striker was having a disastrous game, with a complete lack of energy in his runs (that used to be unstoppable), and only came into the match when he dedicated himself to playing in the box.

Ronaldo turns, shoots and scores in the box for Real Madrid during the FIFA Club World Cup 2016 final.

Ronaldo has to accept a diminished role in the build-up  

If Cristiano is able to accept his diminishing role in build-up and focus entirely on scoring, he's going to use up a lot less energy, for the same reward.

Zidane has to help persuade Ronaldo

Zidane, who Cristiano utterly respects, is going to be decisive in persuading Ronaldo, and Real Madrid's fans need to get used to seeing another kind of player: less explosive, less spectacular, but just as lethal for the Spanish side. And, what's more, longer-lived.