From Clasico horror show vs Barcelona to Champions League bullying by AC Milan - Cristiano Ronaldo's 10 big game flops

After another disappointing Clasico display against the Catalans last Saturday, catalogues the former Ballon d'Or winner's high-profile flounders
By KS Leong

Cristiano Ronaldo has come under fire again following Saturday's inept performance for Real Madrid in their 3-1 loss at home to a Barcelona side who are not only his club's fiercest foes, but who have also become his own personal arch nemeses.

Regarded as one of the finest players in the world today, the Portuguese ace has often been criticised for not delivering in the biggest games when his teams need him the most.

From his development as a precocious teenager when he first arrived at Manchester United, to his glory years when he labelled himself "the first, second and third best player in the world", through to the present day at Real Madrid where he has been in endless pursuit of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo has had his low points on the big stage.

Here, we look at some of his most high-profile disasters for club and country.

PORTUGAL 0-1 Greece
July 4, 2004 | Euro 2004 final

He may have only been 19 at the time, but his transfer to Manchester United in the summer of 2003 kicked off the Cristiano Ronaldo buzz. Being bestowed with United's famous No. 7 jersey only heightened the expectation and pressure, and in the final of Euro 2004 on home soil, he would experience his first significant disappointment in a fixture of such magnitude.

PORTUGAL 0-1 France
July 5, 2006 | World Cup semi-final

It was the quarter-final showdown against England where the world's love-hate relationship with Ronaldo really exploded after his "winking" antics ended with club colleague Wayne Rooney being sent off. In the semi-final against France, he was booed all game long by Three Lions fans who were expecting to see their team play Brazil. Cristiano crumbled with a series of poor crosses and suspect finishing, as well as showboat runs that yielded no end product.

May 2, 2007 | Champions League semi-final second leg

United and Ronaldo were in rampant form in the Champions League having scored seven goals against Roma in the quarter-final second leg, with the Portuguese scoring two. But after a 3-2 triumph over Milan in the last four, where CR7 scored the opening goal, United were outplayed in the return clash as their star No. 7 was harassed and marked out of the game by Gennaro Gattuso.

May 19, 2007 | FA Cup final

Just 17 days after the Champions League elimination by Milan, Ronaldo and his Red Devils had a chance to make amends in the FA Cup final. But once again the Portuguese had to endure a frustrating 90 minutes of tight marking and disciplined defending as Jose Mourinho's Chelsea set-up restricted Ron's influence. With opposition like Claude Makelele, John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien and John Terry, Cristiano simply could not find a way through.

April 23, 2008 | Champions League semi-final first leg

Ronaldo has gone head-to-head with Barcelona 13 times so far in his playing career, but has only three goals to his name against the Catalans. But all of that could have been so very different just three minutes into his very first encounter against the Blaugrana when he was given the chance to score from the penalty spot. He missed, and thus began his goal drought against Barca, which ran for almost three years.

PORTUGAL 2-3 Germany
June 19, 2008 | Euro 2008 quarter-finals

Ronaldo entered the Euros at the peak of his powers having helped United to the Premier League and Champions League double. Despite amassing more experience and trophies at club level, his fortunes with the national team didn't improve, and neither did his performances in the big games. Portugal crashed out at the Euro 2008 quarter-finals to the eventual runners-up, and Ronaldo was no where to be seen in the clash against the Germans.

May 27, 2009 | Champions League final

By now, Ronaldo was regarded as the best player in the world after picking up the 2008 Ballon d'Or. But in what was his final game in the red of Manchester United - and his very first taste of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona - it was a sad end to his Old Trafford career. With his team outplayed by the now familiar possession football utilised by the Catalans, Cristiano let his frustration show as he attempted to single-handedly take the game to Barca. It backfired and only served to further illustrate his individualism.

Spain 1-0 PORTUGAL
29 June 2010 | World Cup last 16

After spending a full campaign in Spanish football and impressing in his debut season at Real Madrid, Ronaldo was billed as one of the megastars at the 2010 World Cup. Following an average performance in the group stages, his participation in South Africa came to an end in the last 16. Just like against Barcelona the previous year, Spain's possession football stifled the winger, who went on to blast his national coach at the time, Carlos Queiroz, for his over-conservative tactics.

REAL MADRID 0-2 Barcelona
April 27, 2011 | Champions League semi-final first leg

Yet another showdown with Barca, yet another let-down from Ronaldo, who over the 10 days prior had ended his goal drought against the Blaugrana and even delivered his team the Copa del Rey. But when it mattered most in the biggest of stages, the Portuguese failed to live up to the hype and, not for the first time, was overshadowed by Lionel Messi. After the loss, Ron criticised Jose Mourinho, questioning the coach's defensive approach to the game.

REAL MADRID 1-3 Barcelona
December 10, 2011 - La Liga

Ronaldo has used the excuse of his teams being outplayed and his coaches deploying the wrong tactics in previous encounters against rivals who dominated possession, but against Barca last Saturday, the Portuguese was given everything he needed to succeed. He was provided with two glorious scoring chances which he spurned and had countless opportunities to run at the Blaugrana defence. He also hit three dismal free kicks from a distance where he would normally at the very least test the goalkeeper. An evening to forget.

Follow KS Leong on