Cristiano Ronaldo: When Man Utd star unexpectedly let Hargreaves take free-kick v Arsenal

An ingenious free-kick routine by Fergie's Man Utd!

Back in 2008, Cristiano Ronaldo was regarded as one of the greatest free-kick takers in the world.

During his first spell at Manchester United, the Portuguese icon rippled the back of the net from set-piece situations on a number of occasions, 13 times to be exact.

Ronaldo scored some absolute stunners in the famous red shirt, including a knuckle-ball effort versus Portsmouth that will be replayed for centuries to come.

But despite the fact he was absolutely deadly from free-kicks, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner unexpectedly let someone else have a go during a crucial Premier League match versus Arsenal in 2008.

Now, as most football fans will know, Ronaldo doesn't exactly like sharing when it comes to goalscoring opportunities, so for him to allow a teammate to have a crack is quite something.

The colleague in question was Owen Hargreaves, a man not exactly renowned for his free-kick taking ability.

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However, Ronaldo's call to pass the baton to the former England international turned out to be a stroke of pure genius.

The Portuguese stood near the ball in his trademark pose, which really caught the Arsenal players off guard and allowed Hargreaves to stylish beat Jens Lehmann with a delicate clipped effort.

Check out the marvellous free-kick routine here...

Hargreaves' free-kick vs Arsenal

Video: Ronaldo & Hargreaves cleverly deceive Arsenal from a free-kick

Magnificent stuff.

That beautiful goal from Hargreaves was the second of two he scored for United, the other coming from a free-kick earlier in the 2007/08 season versus Fulham.

His wonderful strike against Arsenal eliminated the north London club from that season's title race and ultimately played a significant part in United winning the Premier League on the final day at the expense of Chelsea.

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When he was fit, Hargreaves was a wonderful player, but the Canadian-born midfielder's career entered a period of terminal decline following the 2007/08 campaign.

A series of injuries resulted in the 40-year-old playing just five more games for United before his contract expired in the summer of 2011.

It's a real shame how his stint at United ended up, but there were at least a few memories for fans and Hargreaves himself to cherish forever.

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