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The Art Of “The Ronaldo”

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best dribblers in the world. This earns a lot of free kicks.

Cristiano Ronaldo has a tendency to go to ground easily. This earns a lot of free kicks.

Cristiano Ronaldo has become one of the best free kick takers in the world.

Cristiano Ronaldo is annoying to play against.

The spotty-faced Manchester United winger started this Premiership season as the villain of all villains following his part in Wayne Rooney’s dismissal at the World Cup, but for a lot of us at CaughtOffside that hate has been moved to one side – replaced by jaw-dropped admiration of his ability from dead ball situations.

He has picked up where David Beckham left off, only instead of bending it into the top corner he’s blasting the ball with some kind of bizarre half-toe-punt half-scuff technique that he may well have discovered by accident. The end result? The ball travels a billion miles an hour and not even Ronaldo knows which way, or how many times, it will curl. Portsmouth keeper David James was easily beaten a couple weeks ago and tried to hide his shame,

“He hits an unbelievable ball and as soon as you go to try and save it, it’s in the back of your net.

“You know when he steps up he is going to absolutely spank it but you cannot read the flight of the ball.”

The various techniques for striking a free kick are fairly well documented, from the Brazilian “Falling Leaf” that Ronaldinho will claim he used to deceive David Seaman from 40 yards, to Beckham’s now-trademarked striking form.

It all started with a free kick against Fulham that sent Niemi the wrong way (on a free kick), continued at the start of this season when he forced Tottenham’s Paul Robinson to palm away what initially looked like a simple save (resulting in a goal for Ryan Giggs), and culminated with his picture-perfect blast against Portsmouth.

No doubt that, by the end of the season, Cristiano Ronaldo may well have enough free kick highlights to fill the Premiership’s top 10 best goals of the season. But for now, here’s the three as above for you to enjoy and admire. Chelsea will be hoping there won’t be another one after Sunday.