Cristiano Ronaldo has certainly lost his mojo from free-kicks in recent years.
During his time with Juventus, the Portuguese superstar has netted plenty of goals, but only one of his 95 strikes in all competitions for the Italian side has been scored from a set-piece attempt.
It’s not like he hasn’t been handed opportunities from free-kicks either, with Ronaldo missing 71 of his 72 efforts at Juve.
That’s a pretty damning statistic and if we’re being honest, football’s record goalscorer should be way down the pecking order when it comes to set-pieces these days.
But that certainly wasn’t always the case. During his famous stint with Manchester United, Ronaldo was the best free-kick taker on the planet.
His trademark knuckle-ball technique wreaked havoc on goalkeepers in the English top-flight and in November 2008, the Portuguese produced a dead-ball masterclass against Stoke City.
In a convincing 5-0 win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side at Old Trafford, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner scored two stunning free-kicks.
The first was from around 30 yards out and the movement on the ball completely deceived Thomas Sorensen in the Stoke goal.
Ronaldo‘s second free-kick of the game – which also completed his hat-trick on the day – was slightly closer to the goal, with his powerful effort flying into the bottom corner.
It really was vintage Ronaldo and in the video below, you can watch the great man’s highlights against Stoke in 2008.
Ronaldo at United really was something else. The guy was not just a goalscorer, he was an entertainer who was – and still is – adored by every single Red Devils supporter.
Ronaldo actually repeated the feat of scoring two free-kicks in one game at Real Madrid, doing so on two separate occasions.
His first came less than a year after his heroics against Stoke, the Portuguese netting a brace in a 5-2 win against FC Zurich in the 2009/10 Champions League group stage.
Then in May 2011, Ronaldo recorded his second free-kick double for Los Blancos in a 3-1 league win over Villarreal.
Not bad, Cristiano.