Cristiano Ronaldo schooled by Zinedine Zidane's free kick skills in Real Madrid's training session
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo competed in a free kick shootout in Real Madrid’s training session yesterday. The Frenchman rolled back the years and reportedly was the clear winner, as he showed his Portuguese charge how it’s done.
According to a report on Spanish outlet SportYou, Cristiano Ronaldo was seen practising his dead-ball skils at the end of a Real Madrid training session, but wasn’t doing too well, which does not come as much of a surprise, given his poor record with free kicks for Real Madrid.
Zidane came over and then jokingly offered him a lesson, saying ‘watch and learn how to take a free kick’, and proceeded to challenge the Portuguese star to a free kick faceoff. The two took ten free kicks each, but Ronaldo was dismal, netting only two of his efforts.
Zidane was at his magisterial best as he put away several of the 10 free kicks he took. Ronaldo took his thrashing at the hands, or feet rather, of his manager very well, as he was then seen giving the Frenchman a piggyback ride. Clearly, the Portuguese star knows who’s the boss.
Ronaldo’s response to Zidane is a change from Benitez’ reign
Cristiano Ronaldo recently voiced his approval of Zidane’s managerial style, saying that the French legend had more ‘empathy’ for the players. Ronaldo’s good humoured response to Zidane’s gentle ribbing was in stark contrast to his reaction to Rafa Benitez’s criticism of his free kick style.
The Portuguese star reportedly stormed out of a meeting with the Spaniard, after Benitez had asked Ronaldo to change his style of taking free kicks. Benitez had relied on a biomechanical report to analyze Ronaldo’s faults while taking free kicks, but the Portuguese star was not impressed with the scientific manner in which Benitez had asked him to change his style.
Unlike Benitez, Zidane has the advantage of being one of the best players to ever play the game, and his strategy of ‘showing’, instead of ‘telling’ Ronaldo how it’s done is a perfect example of the ‘empathy’ Ronaldo was speaking about.
Given his dismal record with free kicks, Ronaldo perhaps should pay keen attention to the way his French manager takes free kicks. The 30-year-old ended a eight month drought with a free kick scored against Malmo in the Champions League group stages this season, before which he had gone 13 months without scoring a free kick.