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Top 5 Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick goals

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Ronaldo has scored 48 goals from free-kicks in his career
Sagnik Kundu
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Cristiano Ronaldo is widely considered as one of the best players in the world right now. The 31-year-old forward first came into the spotlight in a friendly match between Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United in 2003 and has never looked back since.

Since his days as a young United player, Ronaldo developed a special skill of scoring from direct free-kicks. He is renowned for his deadly knuckleball-style dipping free-kicks and football lovers all around the world have tried to imitate his style.

It takes a player with immaculate skill to hit the ball over the wall and get it into the goal by beating the goalkeeper. And every time Ronaldo stands over the ball – legs wide and arms straight down – fans await with bated breath, hoping the ball goes into the net.

The three-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored 48 times from direct free-kicks in his career. Here, we have selected the five best free-kick goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo over the course of his career.


#5 UEFA Champions League semi-final vs Bayern Munich 2014

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Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Bayern

Real Madrid were on their way to the coveted La Decima. They had already defeated Bayern Munich in the first leg of the semi-final at home 1-0 and were cruising 3-0 at the Allianz Arena when Ronaldo was tripped just outside the box in the final minute of regulation time.

He lined up the free-kick in his usual demeanour. Only this time, he delayed his run up just long enough for the wall to jump and smartly snuck the ball beneath the wall. It was the simplest goal and yet it was so cheeky.

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Manuel Neuer, the world’s best goalkeeper did not even dive. After all, there was no point. He had been outwitted fair and square by Ronaldo’s ingenuity. It was the final ignominy that Bayern suffered as they slumped to a 4-0 defeat at home.

#4 UEFA Champions League semi-final vs Arsenal 2009

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After scoring in the Champions League semi-final against Arsenal

This goal is perhaps the most important of all the goals on this list in terms of the game and result. It was the Champions League semi-final and United had won the first leg at home by the narrowest margin of 1-0.

The return leg at the Emirates stadium saw United take an early lead before Ronaldo scored from a majestic free-kick. 40 yards out towards the right flank and Ronaldo was the man of the moment. The shot was pure power and had just a little bit of swerve as the ball flew past Arsenal’s custodian Manuel Almunia on his near post.

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(Video Courtesy: Ken Thomas Fredriksen YouTube Channel)

The entire match was a Cristiano Ronaldo show as he gave the Gunners defence a traumatic experience. In the end, United progressed to the semis with a 3-1, Ronaldo finishing with two goals and an assist.

#3 UEFA Champions League group stage vs APOEL Nicosia 2012

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Ronaldo takes on Nicosia players

It was a group stage fixture against minnows APOEL Nicosia which Real Madrid went on to win 8-2 in aggregate. Not the most vital goal of Ronaldo’s career, but definitely one of the best free-kicks he had ever taken.

The angle was one of the tightest ones to work with and evidently a very small target to hit. The set-piece was positioned just outside the penalty box towards the left side of the goal and Ronaldo produced one of the most stunning free-kicks as he curled in the ball to the far-post.

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The strike had everything – power, curve, and most importantly precision. The ball flew over the wall, dipped just at the right moment as it nestled into the net after hitting the crossbar. Another incredible goal made to look easy by the Portuguese superstar.

#2 Friendly vs Europe XI 2007

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Ronaldo’s unstoppable free-kick

Although it was only a friendly match, the occasion itself was very significant. It was the celebration of both the 50th year of Manchester United's participation in UEFA competitions and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.

The Europe XI had the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andrea Pirlo in their line-up. However, the match became a memorable one for football fans because of Ronaldo’s blistering free-kick. In the 35th minute, Park Ji-sung had been fouled 30-yards away from the goal and Ronaldo lined up to take the resulting free-kick.

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Santiago Canizares, who was the goalkeeper of the Europe side, anticipated that the Portuguese would shoot for the open side of the goal and took a step to his right. He was left bewildered when he saw Ronaldo’s strike fly over the wall as the ball went into the top corner on the other side.

#1 English Premier League vs Portsmouth 2008

On his way to score the best goal of his career

Arguably, one of the best goals Ronaldo has ever scored in his career came in January 2008. Manchester United were hosting Portsmouth in a Premier League fixture and Ronaldo stamped his authority with a thunderous free-kick.

Positioned slightly to the left of centre towards the Portsmouth goal guarded by David James, the ball was placed around 23 yards out. As Ronaldo stood over the free-kick, he consulted with Wayne Rooney before taking the shot in his trademark fashion.

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Everything about the strike was perfect. The ball cleared the wall and dipped just at the last moment as it crept into the top-right corner past the hapless goalkeeper. James could only get a view of the ball when it was already too late, the power of the strike leaving him as just another spectator at Old Trafford.

Edited by Staff Editor
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