Cristiano Ronaldo changed his free-kick technique to score in Juventus 4-1 Torino

  • Kobe Tong

Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't contain his emotions after scoring a free-kick vs Torino on Saturday.

The Juventus superstar had gone almost three years without scoring from a free-kick in club football, dating back to a Club World Cup final with Real Madrid in December 2017.

However, after a long drought which 'only' saw conversions for Portugal against Spain and Switzerland, Ronaldo was back on track with a belter during the Derby della Mole.

The Old Lady were leading 2-1 courtesy of goals from Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado - Torino's consolation came virtue of Andrea Belotti - when Ronaldo lined up the long-range strike.

You'd be inclined to think that Dybala would have taken the effort considering Ronaldo had gone more than 40 attempts without scoring, but the diminutive Argentine happily stepped aside.

Ronaldo breaks his Juventus duck

It proved to be a wise decision with Ronaldo beautifully cushioning his effort over the wall, beneath the crossbar and out of Salvatore Sirigu's reach in the top left-hand corner.

Though it might initially have looked as if Ronaldo had stayed faithful to his legendary knuckle-ball technique, replays revealed that the 35-year-old had actually switched things up.

Instead of trying to provoke wild spin and movement on the ball by using the 'knuckle' of his foot, the Portuguese seemed to rely on his in-step to create a more controlled trajectory.


Ronaldo switched up his technique

It was for that reason that, yes, the ball didn't seem to travel with as much power towards Sirigu as it might have done, but the shape and accuracy of the shot ensured it was unsaveable.

Low and behold, it wasn't quite the technique that we see from his rival Lionel Messi with Ronaldo's cushioned effort being more about placement than whipping it with extreme curve.

You might recognise this technique from his legendary free-kick goal against Spain, which makes it all the more surprising that Ronaldo has barely called upon it during his time in Turin. 


Football fans react on Twitter

It might have something to do with the fact Dybala and the departing Miralem Pjanic have been trusted more with close-range free-kicks, particularly under Massimiliano Allegri.

Nevertheless, Ronaldo's reversion to this safer and more accurate technique wasn't lost on football fans, so check out some of the reaction praising him for mixing up his game:

Imagine being aged 35 and still finding ways to improve your game. Ronaldo is a different breed.

It's sad that Ronaldo can't convert his knuckle-ball technique every other month as he did during his Manchester United and Real Madrid days, but credit to him for recognising its downturn.

Sports scientist and physical therapist Dr. Rajpal Brar's analysis on Ronaldo's free-kick struggles gave perfect insight on how the physical demands of the knuckle-ball may have taken its toll. 


More free-kick goals to come?

There's no doubt that coming down so hard on the ball as decelerating the lead leg so quickly after impact is quite physically exerting, particularly after Ronaldo's major knee injury in 2014.

But as Ronaldo mentioned in his own interviews after the game, confidence has been a massive factor and perhaps breaking his Juventus duck will now start to see the floodgates opening.

For entertainment's sake, we certainly hope so.

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