Ronaldo goal drought: How does barren spell compare to Messi, Haaland and other top names?

It happens to everyone, right? We examine the worst goalless runs of other top players to see how worried Cristiano Ronaldo should be.

Cristiano Ronaldo looks a shadow of his former self as Manchester United crumble around him.

One of the most consistent goal-getters in European football, he is currently on a run of six games without a goal.

It is not quite his worst ever streak, but it will be should he fail to find the net against Brighton on Tuesday.

How do Ronaldo's current goalscoring woes compare to the other stellar names in Europe, though? We thought we'd take a little look to find out.

Cristiano Ronaldo - 7 games

Cristiano Ronaldo is currently on the verge of equalling his longest ever goal drought.

He has failed to score in his last six matches, and should he draw another blank against Brighton he will be on the longest goalless run in his career.

In his first spell at United, Ronaldo went seven games without scoring between December 2008 and January 2009.

The run began at the Club World Cup, where he scored against Gamba Osaka but then drew a blank in the win over LDU Quito. Stoke and Middlesbrough stopped him scoring in 1-0 Premier League wins for United and he then made a scoreless substitute appearance against Derby in the League Cup.

He played the full 90 minutes in league wins over Chelsea, Wigan and Bolton without troubling the scoreboard before his drought finally ended in the return leg against Derby.

Kylian Mbappe - 7 games

Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring for PSG against Brest

Kylian Mbappe has rarely gone more than four games without a goal since the start of his first full season in French football.

The worst it ever got for him were two seven-game streaks, both early in his career.

In 2016/17, Mbappe scored his first ever hat-trick in a French Cup win for Monaco over Rennes.

Following his goal glut, he then failed to score for seven games, with six of them coming in Ligue 1.

When he did start scoring again, he put up some pretty spectacular numbers, plundering 11 goals in the nine games following his drought.

The following season, his first with Paris Saint-Germain, Mbappe again went seven games without a goal, although this one did include a rather low-key international friendly for France against Ireland.

Erling Haaland - 7 games

Erling Haaland Borussia Dortmund celebration Sep21

Like Mbappe, the longest Erling Haaland has gone without a goal since the start of his first full season is seven games.

That happened in the 2020/21 campaign, which was his first with current club Borussia Dortmund.

However, that run does come with a big caveat in that the first three of those were World Cup qualifiers.

Surprisingly, he failed to find the net against minnows Gibraltar. Turkey and Montenegro also kept him out. Norway weren't concerned, however, as they won all three.

The other four games comprised two Bundesliga matches and two Champions League clashes with Manchester City.

After breaking the streak he finished the season with nine goals in the remaining eight matches.

Lionel Messi - 5 games

Paris Saint Germain's Lionel Messi warming up before the UEFA Champions League, Group A match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

It is no secret that Lionel Messi has failed to hit the ground running at Paris Saint-Germain this season.

It may surprise many to know, though, that his worst goalless streaks are from his incredible Barcelona days.

Messi has never gone more than five consecutive games without finding the net, although he has done it on four occasions.

The first was during the 2009/10 season when he went 474 minutes without scoring for Barcelona in La Liga and the Champions League.

That summer he did it again, this time failing to score for Argentina at the World Cup finals in South Africa.

It was international football that was his Achilles heel again in 2015, as he went five Copa America games without a goal to finish his season.

The most recent five-game goalless streaks of Messi's career came in the 2017/18 season. He went all of November without a goal for Barcelona, and repeated it in the first two-and-a-half weeks of February.

Even with those two goalless streaks, he still finished the 2017/18 season with 49 goals in 62 games.

Mohamed Salah - 10 games

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game from a penalty kick during the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Aston Villa

In many ways there needs to be a caveat when it comes to judging Mohammed Salah in this company because his journey has been very different.

Unlike the likes of Ronaldo, Mbappe, Haaland and Messi who were all wonderkids from the start and immediately put into top teams, Salah had to work his way up.

He spent a lot of time as an orthodox winger early in his career, and needed a bit of a reset in Serie A after he wasn't given many opportunities at Chelsea.

His worst goalscoring spell as a Liverpool player was in 2018/19 when he had something of a slump in February.

After scoring for Liverpool in a 3-0 home win over Bournemouth on February 9, he then didn't find the net again until April 5 - a sequence of eight matches.

The longest goalless streak of his career, though, was during his Roma days when he went ten games without a goal between the start of November and the end of December.

Robert Lewandowski - 8 games

Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich celebrates his second goal during a UEFA Champions League Group E match between Bayern Munich of Germany and SL Benfica of Portugal in Munich, Germany, on Nov. 2, 2021.

The fact Lewandowski has spent almost all of his career at the top two clubs in Germany is often used against him when it comes to judging the best players in the world, but he has been as prolific as anyone.

You have to go all the way back to his first season at Borussia Dortmund to find his longest goalless streak, which stands at eight games.

Even then, that isn't really a fair comparison as he started every one of those games on the bench.

The 2015/16 season saw him endure a run of six games without a goal, although only one of them was for his club. He was a Bayern Munich player by then and he failed to score in the final of the German Cup against former side Dortmund.

Lewandowski then went away with Poland and didn't score for five further matches - four of them coming at Euro 2016.

In 2018/19 he had a five-game run without scoring, with two of them again coming with Poland. The longest he has ever gone without scoring in German domestic football is four matches, which is pretty incredible.

Neymar - 12 games

Neymar in action for Paris Saint-Germain

Neymar is perhaps not as much of an out-and-out goalscorer as the others on this list. Nevertheless, he has been one of the most consistent scorers in Europe since arriving from Brazil.

He was part of the iconic 'MSN' front three for Barcelona along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, so it's a surprise that he suffered his longest barren run during that stage of his career.

The Brazilian star went a whopping 12 games without a goal between late October and early January in the 2016/17 season, although he still finished with 22 goals in 48 games.

The longest he has gone without a goal during his Paris Saint-Germain stint is seven games in 2020/21.

Luis Suarez - 10 games

Luis Suarez during UEFA Champions League match between Atletico de Madrid and Liverpool FC at Wanda Metropolitano on October 19, 2021

Like Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez is very much in the twilight of his career and he has suffered an unusual goal drought this season.

Between early November and the start of January, Suarez went 10 games in La Liga and internationally without a goal. In his defence, he was very much in and out of the Atletico team.

Interestingly, his previous worse goal drought came during his spell with Ajax when he went nine games without a goal. Even more interestingly, it was the nine games directly before his move to Liverpool.

Between arriving at Liverpool in 2011 and the current season, the longest Suarez went without a goal was six matches.

Karim Benzema - 8 games

Karim Benzema Real Madrid Oct21

It is easy - far too easy - to overlook Karim Benzema when talking about the best players in the world, but he absolutely deserves to be part of the conversation.

The Frenchman has done the business for top clubs for more than a decade without ever really being the main man.

Benzema played much of his Real Madrid career alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, so he didn't have the penalty duty to keep his goals tally ticking along, for example.

He has had four eight-game goalless streaks before in his career, which is understandable.

The first came in his first season at Madrid as a young player, and he had another in the 2012/13 season. At that time, however, he was benched in favour of Gonzalo Higuain.

In 2016/17, while part of the 'BBC' of Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema had what was probably, comparatively speaking, the worst goalless run of his career.

It was the crucial part of the season and he started seven of the eight matches, yet he failed to contribute a goal. Madrid finished third in La Liga, but Benzema finished the season with a Champions League winners' medal.

Benzema's most recent eight-game goalless streak came early in the 2018/19 campaign, although he still contributed 30 goals to the Real Madrid cause in 53 appearances.

READ MORE: Where will Erling Haaland end up in the summer - and what do the leading contenders have to say?

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