Guillem Balague does not believe Cristiano Ronaldo will see out his Real Madrid deal to 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo chases the ball during the Champions League match against Legia Warsaw
Image: Guillem Balague says he does not believe Cristiano Ronaldo will see out his Real Madrid contract to 2021

In his latest column, Guillem Balague says he does not believe Cristiano Ronaldo will see out his Real Madrid contract to 2021.

Sky Sports' Spanish expert Balague also runs the rule over Luis Suarez's controversial yellow card in Barcelona's win over Sevilla, as well as Atletico's surprise defeat at Real Sociedad.

Balague also answers your Twitter questions, including Philippe Coutinho's suitability for Barcelona or Real Madrid and comparisons between La Liga and the Premier League.

Gareth Bale has become the most important player for Real Madrid. Out of the five matches that he has scored goals, all five of them have been the first goal of the game.

Real were struggling at times in the 3-0 win over Leganes. They couldn't build from the back, and again they came out relaxed. Everyone has been talking for weeks about the lack of intensity, especially Zinedine Zidane, as if it has nothing to do with him.

Again they couldn't find the right rhythm or aggression without the ball, almost expecting that somebody was going to save the day. More often than not, this is Gareth Bale at the moment.

Cristiano Ronaldo (C) with club president Florentino Perez and his mother Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro
Image: Ronaldo signed a new contract with Real at the weekend

Cristiano Ronaldo keeps moving position, but most of the time he is waiting for the cross or the ball to get to him, and raising his arms if it doesn't come, frustrated by the fact he has not scored at home since September. But it's Bale making things happen.

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It's very interesting that all of this happens when both contracts have been renewed recently. I've been saying for a year-and-a-half that physically Ronaldo has peaked. I know I got a lot of stick for saying that at the beginning, but I think everyone is in agreement that it is now the case.

What that means is that Ronaldo had two options: either change your game, like Lionel Messi has done, or reduce your area of influence and just become a goalscorer, which Ronaldo is doing at the moment. That is obviously very useful for Real Madrid, even though he hasn't been scoring as freely as usual, because those goals will return. 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first goals in three games against Alaves
Image: Bale is now the main man at the Bernabeu, says Balague

But will it continue until 2021?

He got special treatment on Monday at his contract renewal, but I don't see him staying at Real Madrid until 2021. I just simply don't see it.

His area of influence has been reduced, and it's not a problem, it just is what it is. But Gareth Bale has been growing, and I don't see Ronaldo reducing his influence even more to allow Bale to keep growing and becoming the big star of the team. 

I see him in around three or four years looking for an alternative either in a poorer league or away from elite football. We'll see, and if anybody can beat the odds it is him. You cannot take that away from him. I admire him, because he has done what he once dreamed of and more, and he's done it through a lot of hard work.

Don't discount him fighting his way to the end of 2021 with Real Madrid, but I just don't predict it will happen myself.

Is Suarez's booking wrong? It happens everywhere…

People are asking whether it is right or wrong for Luis Suarez to pick up a deliberate yellow card so he can have a clean slate and save himself physically for bigger Barcelona games in November and December.

Luis Suarez of Barcelona in action during the 2016 Spanish Super Cup v Sevilla
Image: Luis Suarez said he was pleased with his booking for Barcelona on Sunday

There is nowhere that says it is illegal. Of course, morally there will be places where people say it is morally wrong, but I hope one of those places is not England.

I know around Christmas period, players get sent off to avoid having to play so many games in that period, I know that for a fact. It happens a lot, it happens everywhere, and of course it is good timing for Suarez, because he will be able to rest after the international duty.

It's seen as clever, and one of those things that happens even though people do not admit it happens.

Praise for La Real as Atletico slow down

It looked like Atletico, the formation was like Atletico, it was the Atletico players, but with one less level of pace as they lost 2-0 at Real Sociedad. It was like the cinema reel had just slowed down.

Real Sociedad played fantastically well, with young players making an impact and the whole team playing well, especially Carlos Vela, who is back to his best.

GETAFE, SPAIN - DECEMBER 11:  Carlos Vela of Real Sociedad de Futbol in action during the La Liga match between Getafe CF and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Co
Image: Carlos Vela scored in Real Sociedad's 2-0 win over Atletico

Vela is an up and down player emotionally. If he feels switched on, physically well, you get the best out of him. If not, he will even think of going to a less competitive league, so you have to look after him, and he is being looked after at the moment.

Guillem answers your Twitter questions

Do you see Barcelona or Real Madrid coming in for Philippe Coutinho in the summer? Mohammed Hamza ‏@Hamza6_18

Last time I spoke about Coutinho a few months back, I thought he wasn't ready for Barcelona or Real Madrid. I can now see that he is the most talented player at Liverpool, he's performing regularly, and is scoring. Yes, he is getting to that level where either Barca or Real can come for him.

He needs a bit more glamour for Real Madrid to have big, big interest. For Barcelona, they need to decide what to do with Arda Turan, and then they have to decide whether a player like Coutinho fits in that team.

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Match highlights: Liverpool 6-1 Watford

The problem with Coutinho as a No 10, he hasn't got a place in a Barcelona 4-3-3. He has to play wide, or play deeper, but that isn't his role, so it's difficult to find a place for him.

Let's see who the manager is at Barcelona next season, or if Luis Enrique continues, but certainly he would be so expensive that I couldn't see Barca coming in for him just yet. At the moment, neither of them are in the equation, but let's see how things progress.

Is Messi the smartest player ever? Dropping deeper against Sevilla to affect the game - Sergio Rodriguez ‏@Sergiorlfc

He was fantastic against Sevilla. Brilliant. It was one of the best games I've seen this season in any competition this season. It was brave from both sides, both sides wanted the ball, wanted to attack, it was just fantastic.

As Pep Guardiola says, when Messi is not moving he's resting actively, but also because he is waiting to see where he can impact the game better.

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match Sevilla FC vs FC Barcelona
Image: Lionel Messi was in fine form Barcelona in their narrow win over Sevilla

On Sunday, as we saw, he dropped deeper in the first half, but received the ball as a No 10 for his equalising goal. So he was moving all around.

In the second half, he went 20 metres closer to the box because he saw Sevilla dropping deeper, and that the spaces were there when Sevilla lost the ball on the attack.

It was just an amazing show, but he is hiding the Barcelona cracks. I see them not controlling the game as much as they used to, making individual mistakes and having difficulties building from the back. So Messi saved them again.

How do you compare the quality of players between the Premier League and the La Liga? Crobrozi ‏@TheSouthCreator

It depends what you mean. Which quality do you mean?

Do you mean strength? The Premier League. Tactical knowledge? La Liga. Technically? La Liga. Pace? Possibly the Premier League.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City (R) is chased down by Lucas Digne of Barcelona (C) and Javier Mascherano of Barcelona (
Image: Both the Premier League and La Liga have qualities in their own right, says Balague

Both leagues require different things from different players. They're all amazing players, to be able to play in the top division. Forget what they earn, they had to go through a lot to get there, and the best are those who stay there for 10 years or more at that level. How can they do that? They need to be so focused, so delicate with their body, so strong mentally, you have to admire them.

Who are the favourites to go down in La Liga? Carter Guiney ‏@carterg999

Quite clearly Granada will have difficulty putting together a run of wins. When the manager Lucas Alcaraz came in, he noted that the team only had two points having played against tough opposition, but now they only have four and look very unlikely to stay up.

Osasuna are struggling too, and then there is always a surprise. It will be a team that cannot get away, it's always a big team. At the moment, it's anybody from 10th down in La Liga.

Watch #CR7Live on Wednesday at 1pm on, Sky Sports Facebook page and on the Soccer AM You Tube Channel. 

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