Liverpool should not fret over the menace posed by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League final, according to club legend Graeme Souness.
The Reds will do battle with the 12-time European champions in Kiev on Saturday for the crown, but Souness does not believe that the Portuguese offers the same threat as he once did.
It has been billed as an encounter between the Portuguese and Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah, who managed 42 strikes for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season.
But Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, is coming off his joint poorest La Liga campaign in terms of goal scoring since arriving at the club in 2009, despite netting 26 times in 27 matches, and the Scotsman has suggested that he is past his best.
“He spends a lot of time on his bum now, complaining he’s been fouled, and plays the width of the box,” Souness argued to The Times. “He’s still capable of great things but, like Real, nowhere near where he was even 12 months ago.”
Ronaldo, though, has been a specialist in the Champions League over the years and is the competition’s record marksman. This season, he has scored 15 times in 12 outings, though was held to a blank by Bayern Munich in the semi-finals – the first matches he had failed to score in after notching in 14 of his previous 15 in the competition, including 11 in succession.
Indeed, if he were to score a hat-trick against Liverpool, he would break his own record for goals in a Champions League season, having previously accumulated 17 in the 2013-14 campaign.