Cristiano Ronaldo's Free-Kick Has Been Analysed By A Sports Scientist And It's Fascinating
Cristiano Ronaldo has a different mentality to others, striving for greatness at every turn.
He has achieved success in almost all of his ventures, scoring on a consistent basis in Premier League, La Liga and Serie A competitions, while picking up those five Ballon d'Or trophies along the way.
But despite all of his success in front of goal, one certain aspect of his game is far from polished. Free-kicks.
Ronaldo free kicks in his prime is the exact definition of when peak physically meets peak technique.- ✰ (@D7RK_KNIGHT) April 18, 2020
After two knee injuries he himself can't even replicate it anymore. Consider yourself lucky if you watched this live. pic.twitter.com/bfOI2aiQ7z
In his career to date, the Portuguese forward has netted some iconic free-kick goals. 44 goals in his first 12 seasons, in fact.
That swerving effort against Portsmouth springs to mind. Not to mention that long range effort against Arsenal in the Champions League semi-final.
But in terms of consisteny, Ronaldo has struggled to find the target of late.
Since 2014, he has only found the net nine times from a total of 174 attempts from free-kicks. That's the worst success rate (5%) of any player to have scored at least five in that time frame.
So what's happened to his free-kick taking ability?
Dr. Rajpal Brar, a sports scientist, has analysed Ronaldo's free-kick struggles in a fascinating video, where he talks about patterns, injuries and other important factors.
Should Ronaldo step aside and allow another player to take over free-kick duties on a full-time basis?
Juventus have other great dead ball specialists in their side such as Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanić.
Earlier this year, Maurizio Sarri addressed the situation earlier this season and said he would leave set-pieces to his player's discretion.
Speaking in a press conference back in October, the Italian said per ESPN:
"The free kicks? We have two right-footed options on the pitch: him [Pjanic] and Ronaldo. So they will have to decide among themselves who takes them, as happens in just about any other side."