Could Cristiano Ronaldo be hurting his team?

After digging deeper into Cristiano Ronaldo’s shooting efficiency, a comparison with his peers in Europe is certainly warranted. Depicted in the graph below are a couple of shooting metrics for players at FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich and Real Madrid who took five or more shots during the group stage of this season of Champions League.

The size of each box shows the number of shots taken by each player. The color of the box is determined by the average expected goal (xG) value of each shot taken by the player – green means better quality production, pink means lower quality. This visualization allows ease of comparison among teammates and counterparts.

Data provided by Opta


The MSN triumvirate took approximately the same number of shots. Neymar took 20, while Luis Suarez and Messi each took 18. Messi played three games to Neymar and Suarez’s six appearances, yet the Argentine had higher ratios for xG/game (1.9), xG/shot (0.31) and a 22% conversion rate. Five of the six Barcelona players who took more than five shots had an xG/shot above 0.2, and those same five were above the median in xG/game. The Barcelona attack is focused, coordinated and makes the most of its opportunities.

Bayern Munich

For the Germans, Thomas Müller was the most efficient scorer in the group stage producing an xG/game value of 0.9, the fourth best at that stage of the competition. Kingsley Coman took 20 fewer shots than Robert Lewandowski, and this is reflected in their xG/game values, 0.4 and 0.7 respectively, but Coman’s xG/shot ratio was higher, meaning he found himself in better scoring situations on average.

Ten Bayern players attempted more than five shots compared to Barcelona’s six and Real Madrid’s seven, with Müller and Lewandowski accounting for 51 of 117 of those shots. Six of the Bayern men failed to generate an xG/game value higher than .1, creating little to no threat from their efforts.

Real Madrid

Benzema had the fourth most big chances (7), in the group stage, behind Cristiano (13), Messi (8) and Robert Lewandowski (8). With a total of 12 shots, he equaled Neymar in xG/shot (0.28) and equaled Messi in goals/game (1.3). Real Madrid will likely handle AS Roma at home to get through the Round of 16 without the injured Benzema, but the team will be better equipped with the French international back for the UCL quarter finals.

Previously, we broke down Cristiano Ronaldo’s 49 shots and highlighted his desire to shoot from distance. While he is the leading scorer in the competition, his propensity to shoot from distance has kept him from being the most efficient. Cristiano is 10th among Barcelona, Bayern and Real Madrid players in conversion rate. When apologizing to his teammates for his comments to the media over the weekend, did the striker also promise to share the ball a bit more?