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Real Madrid Postseason Grades: Forwards

Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed his best goalscoring season, Jese Rodriguez returned from injury and Gareth Bale suffered 'second season syndrome'. We take a look at how Madrid's forwards got on this season.

Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo: Just as some thought his best form was behind him, Cristiano Ronaldo popped up with 61 goals across all competitions this season - surpassing his best goal tally in a single campaign and bringing him to within ten of Madrid's all-time leading scorer Raul.

His 48 goals in La Liga made him winner of the Pichichi award ahead of nemesis Lionel Messi and also saw him collect the European Golden Shoe award outright after sharing it with Luis Suarez a year ago.

Some say it's not all about goals but for Ronaldo it is all about goals. Sixty-one in a season is something that cannot be snifffed at and the Portuguese star would be right to be disappointed that those goals did not result in a major trophy this term. His treble against Getafe in the final match of the season was a staggering eighth hat-trick of the season.

If some point to a lack of team ethic it can be argued that Ronaldo has been more of a team player than ever before this season. It's not all about the statistics but his 16 assists this season showcase for that team play. He had more assists than anyone else in the Madrid squad this term and three more than the next best, James Rodriguez.

There have been reports of Madrid selling their star man but with 61 goals this season Ronaldo should be here to stay. He did disappear in the odd match this term but that was more in keeping with a dip in form for the team as a collective and his below-par showings were an exception rather than a rule.

Grade: 9/10

Karim Benzema: The Frenchman's form and future is always under the microscope but Benzema seemed to be more appreciated by both his team-mates and his fans this season.

A few whistles were directed his way in Madrid's opening Champions League clash of the campaign against Basel but the striker soon got the fans onside with his performances and goals.

With 15 of them he may not have been as freescoring as Ronaldo but he was Madrid's second top scorer and played a part in plenty of other goals on top of the ten he assisted. Indeed, Ronaldo called the No.9 the "best striker in the league" this season and the Portuguese star's tally was undoubtedly aided by the former Lyon man.

His work-rate was also crucial in Madrid's play, being the one in the front three that regularly tracked back to help out and recover the ball from deep positions and his link-play was perhaps what defined him this season.

Chances were missed along the way - Benzema is not a world-class finisher - but he is a crucial cog in this current Madrid team and due to Barcelona's form this team it can often be overlooked that Madrid outscored Barca in the league this season.

Grade: 7/10

Gareth Bale: The Welshman had a difficult second season in the Spanish capital but it was always going to be tough to match his heroics from his debut campaign, if not for his all-round performances then for the key goals he scored at key times.

Those kind of goals were not forthcoming and the Welshman's figures dipped to 13 goals and nine assists this season. Without those key goals, the infamous Bernabeu whistles were directed his way for much of the second half of the campaign and his confidence and form suffered as a result.

That dip in form was not for the want of trying. Bale was not afraid to pull the trigger, despite harsh claims that was a selfish player, but that eventually only hampered his problems, especially after Madrid played so well with a 4-4-2 without him in the 3-1 Clasico win against Barcelona, the best result of the season.

That he did not get a rest perhaps did not help as Carlo Ancelotti continued to use him as a "non-negotiable" starter. Perhaps a game or two on the bench may have helped him recharge his batteries and come back stronger.

There were still signs that Bale can be a key part of this Real Madrid team and he at least has the support of the president - the most important figure at the club. He needs to show a marked improvement next season if he is to remain at the club, however.

Grade: 6/10

Javier Hernandez: The Mexican spent much of the season frustrated on the Madrid bench as Ancelotti kept faith with his favoured front three. The frustration from the Manchester United loan man got so much that he hit out at being overlooked while on international duty.

He ended up winning Madrid fans over, largely thanks to his big winner against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, and while he scored a crucial brace in the league match at Celta Vigo soon after, and another two at Deportivo earlier in the season, Hernandez did not come across as someone who could cut the mustard as a regular starter in the Spanish capital.

Ancelotti could have placed some more faith in Hernandez at times but his lack of match action limited the impact he could have on the season as a whole.

A reported €10 million permanent transfer may have been a good bit of business for Madrid if "Chicharito" was happy playing back-up, but the Mexican wants regular first-team action.

Grade: 6/10

Jese Rodriguez: Plenty was expected of Jese Rodriguez when he made his long-awaited return from a cruel injury - perhaps too much.

The youngster burst on to the scene last season, so much so that fans called for the Las Palmas-born player to be a starter last term, before a knee injury in a Champions League clash against Schalke thwarted his progress.

At least Jese has not suffered any recurrence on that injury as Madrid eased him back into action. That easing caused some frustration for the Castilla product as the campaign progressed but he has not showed the kind of form he did last season in his breakthrough year.

That may be down to a lack of match action or it may be down to some longer-term damage with his injury but he has lost the burst of speed he showcased last season, and the quick turn.

The 22-year-old did provide some signs of last season's impressive form but those signs were few and far between. A loan move may be the best route for Jese to take next season.

Grade 5/10

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