La Liga returns this weekend after its winter break with Real Madrid leading the division by one point – as well as having a game in hand.
An interesting sub-plot over the second half of the season will be whether Cristiano Ronaldo can continue his current scoring pace – and beat Lionel Messi’s single season record for goals.
Ronaldo netted 51 goals in 47 appearances last season, setting a record of 17 goals for one edition of Europe’s elite club competition, as Real secured a record-extending 10th continental crown and the King’s Cup.
The Portugal captain continued where he left off in 2014-15 as the world’s richest club by income claimed the European Super Cup and Club World Cup and he has amassed an incredible 32 goals in 25 games in all competitions.
Ronaldo is on 25 goals through 15 games in league this season, already halfway to Messi’s record of 50 set during the 2011/12 season, as he’s currently 10 goals ahead of Messi this season. Ronaldo has boosted his total with seven strikes from the spot, yet his non-penalty goals total is currently ahead of Messi’s total at the same stage in 2011/12, with his non-penalty goals per 90 average leading La Liga this season:
Villarreal’s Moi Gomez has the highest non-penalty conversion rate in the division at 36.4% after scoring four goals. Only Gomez and Stephane M’Bia currently have conversion rates above 30% – both of which are likely to regress going forward.
The below table contains every player with at least four goals so far this season, also containing each player’s match winning goals as Ronaldo also leads the division in this area (24.0% of his goals scored).
“It would be a dream if 2015 was like 2014 or even better,” Ronaldo said in an interview published in sports Daily As.
“It is possible to do it because Madrid is always a candidate to win the competitions it is playing in,” added the 29-year-old.
“We have a team spirit that can help us win the most titles possible and we will fight to the death to get them.”
Ronaldo attributed much of Real’s recent success to the arrival of coach Carlo Ancelotti, who replaced the divisive Jose Mourinho at the end of the 2012-13 season.
Italian Ancelotti immediately ended Real’s 12-year wait for their 10th European title and using the club’s millions has built a formidable side that is top of La Liga and one of the favorites to repeat their Champions League success this term.
“The coach has a lot of importance,” Ronaldo said.
“He is a great trainer and a great person and we are all delighted with him. Together we are a united family which will try to improve on the successes of 2014.”
Ronaldo will find out whether he is going to be crowned FIFA World Player of the Year for the 3rd time or not and his second in a row, on Jan. 12 when he is up against Argentina captain Messi and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.