The compilation of Cristiano Ronaldo’s best free-kicks stacks up against the very best set-piece takers in the history of the game.
For a lengthy period, the Portuguese forward was feared every time he stood over a free-kick in a dangerous area.
During his first spell at Manchester United, and when he played for Real Madrid, Ronaldo’s free-kicks very often ended up in the back of the net.
And the majority were out of this world. The long-range efforts against Portsmouth and Arsenal immediately spring to mind.
Much has been made of the 36-year-old’s struggles in recent seasons, though, and at the time of writing he hasn’t scored a single one in the calendar year.
Ronaldo’s free-kick history
Ronaldo has scored 56 goals in his career and between 2008 and 2013, he probably fancied his chances every time he stepped up to take one.
He scored 33 times during across that six-year span. That’s some return.
Relying on his vicious ‘knuckleball’ technique, the attacker bamboozled many a goalkeeper who simply couldn’t grasp which way the ball was going to move through the air.
However, Ronaldo couldn’t use that method when he scored an indirect free-kick against Aston Villa in 2009.
Ronaldo’s perfect free-kick vs Aston Villa
Man United’s 3-2 win over Villa at Old Trafford in 2009 has become known as the Federico Macheda game.
A 17-year-old Macheda came off the bench to fire a late winner that would help United on their way to the Premier League title.
Macheda’s goal would go on to become one of the biggest storylines of the Red Devils’ title triumph and it overshadowed Ronaldo’s superb indirect free-kick in the 14th minute.
It was awarded after a James Milner backpass was picked up by Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel who, in fairness, was left in an awkward position by Milner.
Seven players were in the wall and another rushed back onto the line when Ryan Giggs teed up Ronaldo.
But the Portuguese winger was able to place the ball around the wall, over the defender on the line and beyond Friedel’s reach. It was truly perfect placement.
Watch Ronaldo’s indirect free-kick
Ronaldo went on to score again with 10 minutes remaining, hauling United back into the contest after Villa took a stunning 2-1 lead.
And then Macheda grabbed the winner in dramatic fashion, and all of a sudden Ronaldo’s brace was quickly forgotten about.
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