Row Z or postage stamp? The Erratic Dead-ball Adventures of Rocket Ronaldo…

March 14 2007

Row Z or postage stamp? I'm not sure he knows...Cristiano Ronaldo has a unique style of taking free-kicks. Whereas established dead-ball experts like Ronaldinho and David Beckham take a sideways run-up and then whip the ball up and over the wall, Ronaldo’s run-up is straight.

The Brazilians Roberto Carlos and Juninho Pernambucano address the ball in a similar fashion, but both strike the ball differently. Carlos hits the ball with the outside of his foot, in an attempt to impart as much swerve on the ball as possible, and when it works – as it did so famously against France in the 1997 Le Tournoi – the results are breathtaking. Juninho hits the ball with his instep, which requires him to adopt a very difficult position when he strikes the ball. And yet he thumps the ball, like Ronaldo, rather than curling it, like Beckham or Ronaldinho. The result is an irresistible combination of power and accuracy.

Ronaldo strikes the ball with the top of his foot. And he – like Carlos – hits the ball on the valve. The aim is to disturb the air inside the ball as much as possible, in order to make it move in the air. But whereas Carlos knows what kind of shape he wants his shot to assume – the well-known right-to-left ‘banana’ swerve – I don’t think Ronaldo does.

Rather, Ronaldo knows that, if he makes the right connection – if he can hit the ball right on the sweet spot and ‘stun’ it – neither he, nor the goal-keeper, nor anyone in the stadium, will be able to predict how it will move. He knows that the current Nike ball is so light it can be made to move two or three times in the air.

All this means that a lot of his free-kicks fly high and wide of their target. But when he gets it right – as he did in last night’s charity game against a European XI – no goal-keeper in the world can repel him.

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One Response to “Row Z or postage stamp? The Erratic Dead-ball Adventures of Rocket Ronaldo…”

  1. yo Says:

    that was good but it can be better by if yo like drew it in diagrams


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