Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said he was “a bit disappointed” for Cristiano Ronaldo after his wait for a league goal this season went on.
Ronaldo suffered another personally frustrating game in Real’s 2-0 home win over Espanyol, hitting the target only once from four shots.
That took the 32-year-old, who set up Isco’s opener, to 22 unsuccessful attempts at goal, three of them on target, in three La Liga games after he missed the first four fixtures through suspension.
Since joining Madrid, the longest Ronaldo had previously gone without scoring at the start of a La Liga season was 255 minutes in 2010-11.
However, he has scored four times in the first two Champions League group games.
Speaking to Movistar afterwards, Zidane said he hoped Ronaldo would break his duck in the next league game at Getafe on Oct. 14.
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“It is not that [Ronaldo] is tired, just the opposite — he was out for a lot of games,” he said.
“We are a bit disappointed for him as he has not yet scored in La Liga, but this is football. His assist for Isco was phenomenal. I hope things change in the next game.”
Speaking on “El Transistor” radio show, Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas said the all-round contribution Ronaldo was making “should be valued like goals.”
“Ronaldo is fine,” he said. “There is no need to always be so hard [on him]. He did very good work, defended when he had to.
“He gave the assist for Isco and, when he had the ball and could not pull off a move, he passed it to a player in a better position.
“These details should be valued as if they were goals too. He is a very important player for us.
“It seems that if he does not score in a game, people say there is something wrong. He scores goals in important games, and the team needs players like that.”
The win lifted Madrid to fifth place in La Liga with 14 points from their first seven games, seven adrift of leaders Barcelona.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan