Cristiano Ronaldo helped redefine the art of free-kicks in the mid/late 2000s, perfecting the knuckleball technique that has copied the world over in the last 15 years.
That has made his lack of success from free-kicks in more recent years rather curious. His wayward free-kicks during his time at Juventus made the Portuguese the unfortunate butt of jokes – that he kept failing to score and yet also kept taking them.
Having once made an impressive habit of scoring direct from free-kicks during his first spell at United and in his early days at Real Madrid, his last at club level prior to this weekend was back in July 2020 for Juventus. His last before that was for Real in the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup final.
Even at international level, he hadn’t converted a direct free-kick since September 2020.
His winning goal against Norwich in the Premier League on Saturday was not a vintage Ronaldo free-kick in the same bracket as that strike against Portsmouth in 2008, for example. But, to borrow a cliché, they all count the same if the ball ends up in the back of the net.
Courtesy of Tim Krul’s weak parry, it did, and it completed his hat-trick.
The latest milestone of a ridiculous career absolutely full of them – Ronaldo is already the FIFA-recognised top goalscorer of all time – is 50 club hat-tricks.
Overall, including at international level for Portugal, he has scored 60 hat-tricks to date.
Source : 90min