Having dominated their respective continents just a year ago, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alexis Sanchez will take on the best from around the world at the Confederations Cup.
Ronaldo dragged Portugal to the final of Euro 2016, where they sealed glory despite the Real Madrid star’s injury, while Sanchez and Chile tasted Copa America glory for a second year in a row.
World Cup champions Germany have selected an experimental squad as they look ahead to defending their crown in Russia next year, so A Seleccao and La Roja are bringing the star quality.
But which of the stellar attackers is best set to shine this year? With Opta data, we analyse Ronaldo and Sanchez’s campaigns at Real Madrid and Arsenal respectively…
THE TROPHY HAULS
Ronaldo: LaLiga, Champions League, Club World Cup
Sanchez: FA Cup
Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the Champions League could prompt Sanchez’s departure, despite their impressive FA Cup final win over Chelsea. Sanchez scored a contentious opener at Wembley, but staying at Arsenal will mean no place at Europe’s top table for the Chilean, after Arsene Wenger’s side finished fifth in the Premier League.
6 – Alexis Sanchez has been directly involved in six goals in his last five appearances at Wembley (5 goals, 1 assist). Prized. pic.twitter.com/ryz7pAwLjW
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 27, 2017
While continental success is beyond the Gunners, it is becoming routine for Los Blancos to lift ‘Big Ears’. A third Champions League in four years was secured with a 4-1 win over Juventus in Cardiff – Ronaldo scoring twice in a dominant display. Ronaldo also contributed to Madrid’s first league crown in five years, including a goal in their title-clinching win at Malaga.
Ronaldo in LaLiga:
Mins per goal: 101.76
Shot conversion %: 15.43
Sanchez in the Premier League:
Mins per goal: 134.29
Shot conversion %: 18.6
33 – Alexis Sanchez has been directly involved in 33 PL goals this season (23 goals, 10 assists), more than any other player. Update. pic.twitter.com/UBsD3PWNfg
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 16, 2017
Ronaldo in the Champions League:
Mins per goal: 100
Shot conversion %: 16.44
Sanchez in the Champions League:
Mins per goal: 221.33
Shot conversion %: 20
ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE
Both players started the season having enjoyed crowning glories with their countries, but it hasn’t been the same for both since then.
Ronaldo has scored a blistering 12 goals in just six games for Portugal since the Euro 2016 final, helping Fernando Santos’ side keep pace with Switzerland in World Cup qualifying after losing to them in the Madrid star’s absence.
600 – Cristiano Ronaldo has scored his 600th goal in his professional career (club and country). Amazing. pic.twitter.com/HpKHys1PDW
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 3, 2017
On the other hand, Sanchez has only managed to score in two of his eight Chile appearances following Copa America glory. La Roja remain mired in a tangle of nations above Argentina – who occupy CONMEBOL’s play-off spot – hoping to keep their heads above water in the race to Russia.
HOW MUCH LEFT IN THE TANK?
25 – Cristiano Ronaldo has become the second player to score 25+ goals in eight La Liga seasons in a row, after Lionel Messi. Monster. pic.twitter.com/7hMRLTRxXs
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 21, 2017
International success after long domestic seasons often comes down to who can keep their players freshest and Portugal may benefit from Zinedine Zidane’s decision to rest Ronaldo for a number of their games late in the Liga season as Madrid sought a double.
Ronaldo ended 2016-17 with 4,634 minutes under his belt for club and country.
Sanchez on the other hand, clocked up 4,888 minutes for Arsenal and Chile, three games’ worth more fixtures. Ronaldo’s season also started later than Sanchez’s as he recovered from the knee ligament injury sustained in the Euro 2016 final.
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