Xabi Alonso defends "decisive" Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo

Ex-Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has backed his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to be "decisive" again by the end of the season, despite his frustrating start to 2017-18.

Ronaldo, 32, has had an inconsistent last couple of months with Madrid -- scoring just once in La Liga so far -- but netting eight times in his first five Champions League games, as his team have also struggled for consistent form.

There were similar issues 12 months ago and Ronaldo returned to finish the season with 16 goals in the final 10 games as Los Blancos retained the Champions League trophy and won the La Liga title.

"I have no doubt that in the fundamental moments of the season Cristiano will be there," Alonso said.

"Last year he was, and he had a spectacular end to the season. He was decisive when the team needed him," Alonso told AS.

I see him just as competitive as ever, with the same motivation to be the best. That is his way of competing, and his way of being."

Mixed form from Ronaldo and other senior players has contributed to Madrid dropping 10 points behind Barcelona in the current La Liga table, a gap which has never before been made up in Spanish football history.

Alonso claimed that with upcoming fixtures things could look very different before the winter break. He said: "I would say there is a long way to go yet, and things can change around very quickly."

"Obviously at the moment the distance between Barca and Madrid is very wide, but Barca have a difficult away game [at Valencia], and also must come to the Bernabeu [on Dec. 21] so everything can change quickly. We must remain confident, the team is very good, and anything can still happen."

Alonso, having retired as a player last summer, has spoken about plans to become a coach in the future but said he had not yet started to get his badges as he was currently taking some time to enjoy life.

"I have not yet started to prepare myself," he said. "I am enjoying my free time, watching football, but not taking any course or anything. I am in no hurry."