Barca’s Semedo: Real Madrid more competitive with Ronaldo

TURIN, ITALY - MARCH 12: Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus shows his dejection during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Juventus and Club de Atletico Madrid at Allianz Stadium on March 12, 2019 in Turin, . (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

Real Madrid would have been a more competitive outfit had Cristiano Ronaldo still been around, says Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo.

Los Blancos have struggled greatly this season without their all-time record scorer leading the charge upon completing a €112m transfer to Serie A champions Juventus last summer.

Since Ronaldo’s departure, Real have seen their three-season domination of the Champions League come to an end following a shock 5-3 aggregate defeat at the hands of Dutch giants Ajax in the Round of 16 stage.

Meanwhile, hopes of claiming any domestic silverware appear very unlikely with Real trailing La Liga leaders Barcelona by 12 points and out of the Copa del Rey following last month’s semi-final exit to their Catalan rivals.

Los Merengues have also fired two managers this season alone in Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari after a run of disastrous results, which has left the club’s campaign in jeopardy.

Now the 33-time Spanish champions have brought back Zinedine Zidane as manager to overturn their fortunes, despite the Frenchman only handing in his resignation nine months ago.

On the other hand, Ronaldo remains on course for an unprecedented fourth successive Champions League title after firing Juventus into the next round by scoring a brilliant treble in the second leg of their last-16 clash with Atletico Madrid.

And Barcelona full-back Semedo has no doubts over how significant the loss of his fellow Portuguese Ronaldo has been to Real.

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“Real Madrid have noticed his absence a lot,” Semedo told SIC.

“I cannot say that it was bad for us that Cristiano left. With him it would have been a more difficult league for us, more competitive.”

“He [Ronaldo] is a player that requires a lot of attention and care.”

Zidane will make his second debut as Real Madrid boss at the Santiago Bernabeu today against Celta Vigo in La Liga with kick-off set for 4:15 PM (CET).

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