Jurgen Klopp has discussed how he previously stopped Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo as manager of Borussia Dortmund ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League final this weekend.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp discussed with Robbie Fowler how he has previously stopped Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo.
While Liverpool will play their first Champions League final in over a decade this weekend at Kiev, it is not Jurgen Klopp’s first encounter with Real nor Ronaldo.
Dortmund managed to defeat Real Madrid in the 2013 Champions League semi-finals five years ago under the management of Klopp. The victory was largely down to a Robert Lewandowski masterclass in which the Polish forward scored four times during a 4-1 first-leg victory.
In an interview with Robbie Fowler for the Mirror, Klopp has revealed that overloading the right-side to halt Ronaldo and using Mario Gotze to man-mark Ronaldo’s supply from Xabi Alonso was imperative to Dortmund’s victory.
“Alonso gets the ball, turns, Ronaldo is on his bike already. So we played Mario man-marking against Alonso in the 4-1 at home.” [Comments per the Mirror.]
Ronaldo has adapted and changed his game over the last five years however and now takes up a far more central position during games. As illustrated by this season-long heat map comparison between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, which shows the Portuguese talisman often operating inside his opponents’ 18-yard-box as-well as the left-flank.
Season heat map of #Messi and #Ronaldo.
Ronaldo has only one position that is in his own penalty area, so of course he scores goals. The fact is that Messi outscored him and did everything else.
Next time someone says he scored this or scored, be more aware of both the players. pic.twitter.com/LMB1QtvPVu
— Achint Satsangi (@Achintsatsangi) May 14, 2018
It is therefore likely to be Dejan Lovren and Virgil Van Dijk that will have to deal with Ronaldo during his most dangerous periods come this weekend’s final and that perhaps warrants a changed game-plan from the one Klopp successfully implemented five years ago.