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Do You Think Ronaldo Should Be Taking Our Free-kicks?

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two free-kicks against Stoke at the weekend, silencing the vile away fans and stopping the home fans from rolling their eyes. Ronaldo has rushed to the ball every time a free-kick has been awarded just outside the penalty area. When in the opening few minutes against Stoke he steadied himself over the ball, I was already anticipating the cheers to come from the away end when he blasted it in to the wall.

However, he didn’t blast it in to the wall. He caught it just right, causing it swerve the ball in the air, leaving Sorensen baffled and red faced when the ball hit the back of the net.

The second free-kick he scored again caught the keeper off guard. He didn’t rely on power or a swerving ball, rather accurately placed it in the bottom corner of the goal.

In between these free-kicks was another which struck Sorensen with force, with him only able to parry it down in to the six yard box. On this occasion, our opposition got away with it, one of their players clearing before one of ours put in the rebound.

Sir Bobby Charlton is impressed, but are you?

“‘Cristiano’s free-kicks hadn’t been going in,” said Charlton. “But thankfully they did last weekend. His rate of scoring is fantastic. He had a great season last time around and is heading for another one.”

Owen Hargreaves has shown he can take a great free-kick, as has Wayne Rooney. Carlos Tevez can take them and Ryan Giggs has been known to score one or two. But do you want Ronaldo to stay as our primary free-kick taker?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Wiggsman says:

    Not a chance – we’ve become acustomed to great free-kick takers in the shape of Kanchelskis, Cantona and Beckham…..but Ronaldo’s ratio of efforts/goals is pants… he rarely tests the keeper. I think fans forget just how good Becks was as his ration was sick, but he could also score different types.

  2. Wiggsman says:

    Let Rooney take them!

  3. TonyBee says:

    Fuck, yes…. but only the freekicks in the opposition half….!!!! Joking apart it,s goota be good for us if he feels in the mood to try his trickery just outside the box ….jeez the serve and dip on that first Saturday goal was a joy to behold…..a quick question to others; Who is better CR7 now, or Becks when he was No7 for us?

  4. PeeJay says:

    Ronaldo averages about 1 freekick every 7-8 taken, not bad is it?

  5. sanj says:

    ronaldo’s technique is not your standard dead-ball technique and thus has a lower rate of success. i still think he should take most of the free-kicks, but he should be utilized as a decoy more often- just look at hargo’s free-kick against the arse last campaign… also, he needs to pass more often-stoke had almost their entire 11 in the wall on saturday.

    wiggsman- ron has definitely shown he can score different types, too… let’s be serious! he has swerved them in, placed them in corners, and even kicked the ball under the wall.

    i think a better idea would be to let anderson take every free-kick until he breaks the duck!

  6. Mic says:

    I think the ones closer to the box, where the ball HAS to go over the wall, they should be left for Hargreaves, the ones from distance or the ones from an odd angle or one where the wall is difficult to place, they should be his, the second one against Stoke is one where it had to be powered past the wall and beat the keeper and that’s Ronaldo territory.

  7. CJ says:

    depends where it is. If it’s right in front of the goal let Ronaldo take it, if it’s on the corner of the penalty area let someone else cross it. Cause to score from there you have to be able to curl it quite high. All Ronaldo does is bend the ball.

  8. Spencer says:

    Yes he should.

    And if Fergie had a problem with him taking free kicks he would tell him so.

    Ronaldo and Hargreaves are the best free kick takers we have and one is injured for the season.

    I went to Carrington last season and Ronaldo and Hargreaves were on another planet in free kick practice. Ronaldo took 10 and missed one and Hargreaves took around eight, closer to the box and missed one also.

    Tevez and Rooney were woeful. They took around 15 each and scored about five. At one point Rio joked ‘lads, stop it now before you embaress yourselves further’.

    People forget and the stats will back me up on this that Beckham scored around six/seven free kicks for us per season and thats what Ronaldo got last season and probably will next season.

    Ron let Anderson take a free kick (I think against Hull) and it went in to row z.

    Peter Schmeichel was on TV yesterday and he said though its easy to blame the keeper fo mishandling Ron’s shots, his free kicks and shots on goal are very hard to manage and he knows that for a fact. Due to the power etc.

    The thing is, knowing that he was under a bit of pressure with his free kicks, that spurred Ron on. He thrives under pressure and that is one of the many differences between Ronaldo and Rooney. One uses ‘best player in the world’ ‘white pele’ etc statements to maintain that sort of form while the other cracks under the pressure

  9. Unitedblogger says:

    Well as most above have pointed out, it depends on where the free kick spot is. There are times when it’s too ambitious, we’ll be better served if we find someone like Vidic or Rio at the end of it rather than a direct attempt. There are other occasions when the angles are not ideal for Ronaldo, someone like Giggs/Hargo can take them when positioning is more crucial than the pace and swerve that Ronaldo gets.

  10. SULLY [South Africa] says:

    Scott how dare can you even think of putting this stupid debate up??? Fuckin’ hell there is no competition for dead-ball situations. Fuck me some idiots are going for Anderson, an awful, awful shooter of the ball. Ronaldo’s sheer class. His style is just unique. Give me Ronaldo any day. Viva Ronaldo

  11. Liam says:

    I personally don’t like his free kicks. I can see how people think he is a good free kick taker because when they go in they are great but 9 times out of 10 they hit the wall. Tevez was very good at them for West Ham and he should get a chance. It really annoys me when Ronaldo manages to hit a one man wall from 40 yards out.

  12. RedDevil says:

    Defo Ronaldo! He is the best free-kick taker Ive seen in United since Becks. Beckham curled the ball very often and tested teh keeper. But when the goalie saved it, the ball usually went into his arms or to a corner. When Ronaldo manages to get the ball over the wall, you know it is either gonna be a goal or a rebound right back into the 6-yard box because it is impossible to save it! When was the last time you saw a goalkeeper HOLD a “Rocket Ronaldo”? :razz:

  13. denton davey says:

    Like the little girl, with the curl right in the middle of her forehead: when he’s good, he’s very, very good, but when he’s bad, he’s horrid.

  14. NickOGS20 says:

    1 – While he wastes a fair few, I’m fairly sure SSN ran some stats at the end of the season showing Ronaldo’s ratio of goals to attempts and attempts-on-target to attempts were better than anyone else in the league.

    2 – “Owen Hargreaves has shown he can take a great free-kick, as has Wayne Rooney.” – Hargreaves sure, but Rooney? Great? Really? When have you seen Wayne take a decent one since his debut against Fenerbahce?

    Would like to see Giggs take a few more and I think Berba deserves a go from close range, remember him scoring a couple for Spurs. But otherwise Ronnie’s good enough for me.

  15. robbutland says:

    look at the ratio of kicks to goals, and when someone else comes close hand it over.

    however it was refreshing to see hargo beat arsenals wall last year to win us the game. i also think Anderson should be given the chance in the positions that would usually see giggs take them, and also we have nani, who is great with a dead ball.

    a squad brimming with talent. i just wish our strikers were a bit more prolific e.g. goals every game; we rely on ronaldo alot.

  16. Tevratov says:

    Carrick aint that bad either

  17. Wiggsman says:

    Nah – Ronnie is shit – he justs hits it and hopes to get the pace and swerve and just because he smashed a few in last season doesnt mean he’s great – becks did it for years and has done since he left…..Julian Dicks had 1 great season of FKs at West Ham….doesnt mean he was great, just that the rest of Wst Ham were shite. Fuck that let Rooney or Hargo start wrapping their foot around

  18. TinManUnited says:

    Damn, I can’t believe there are people on here who think Ronaldo free kicks are shit. WHat the hell have you been watching. I’d rather him hit the wall 9 times out of ten then see someone else put the ball straight into the keepers arms. At least when it hits the wall the ball is still up for grabs, and half the time he picks up the rebound. Besides free kicks should be given to someone who is going to be playing every game, and that’s Ronaldo. Those games that he doesn’t play is when the others can take a chance, but they won’t be as effective, I can gaurantee that.

  19. pet says:

    His free kicks are not that bad only that they rarely get there, those are at a distance can be be taken by him but those a little near should be taken by othr players who are a little clever on that, carrick, Hagreaves, Rooney, Te4vez all can take free kicks, they should therefore be shared depending on the distance of the spot.

  20. Demby14 says:

    Cristiano should take the free kicks where Alex (From Chelsea) and Kolo Toure (Arsenal) do… Far out (25-30 yards)! This gives his ball time to move and splatter egg on the keepers face. The closer free kicks have to be taken with accuracy, may Hargreaves return soon, but until then, Rooney or Giggs have the curl on them and the dip! Ronaldo shouldnt take the free kicks on the side… His big gelled head should poke in all the header chances in the box. ?

  21. miele says:

    Ronaldo should train himself to either score or actually take out 1 opposition player for the rest of the game. Cruel but effective, no?

  22. Failsworth Devil says:

    I would like to see what Berbatov has in his locker…with regards to free kicks… as ive never seen him take one.

    CR7 is probably our best free kick taker at the club… even though Mr Hargreaves when fit… does have an excellent free kick ratio… probably the best at the club… but doesnt take that many, so that might be the reason why.

    I would defo like Wazza to take more free kicks..and is sommat we should be trying out when we are 3-0 up in games… let different players have a go…

    I reckon Rafael might have a good pop at em if given the chance.

  23. Manutd forever says:

    I really think Ronaldo is currently our best free kick taker.Although he might have a less ratio of freekick per goal but that is just because of his unique style of taking spot kicks.He is extremely dangerous with his freekicks and his freekicks have been a treat for us(against portsmouth ,bolton,sporting,etc.).
    Although i think that when the ball is too close to the box then hargo or Tevez can also score as they also are good at freekicks(although not as good as ronaldo).

  24. Jake says:

    I’ve always thought he shouldn’t take them. He’s scored enough to make me think again, i.e. against Sporting Lisbon last year but it only takes another couple of games before I’m back to thinking he shouldn’t. Never has a free-kick taker relied so much on pot-luck as Ronaldo does, the swerving ball is still a little bit of a joke and you would imagine a good keeper would be able to adjust the couple of inches to punch it back out (don’t know what that makes sorensen). At a club like United there are so many good strikers of the ball and better ones at swerving free-kicks than Ronaldo, Rooney, Hargreaves when fit, didn’t Berbatov take Tottenham’s, Tevez, Giggs…the list could go on. United are a top club wihout any real prima donna’s but you get the impression that what Ronaldo decides on the pitch goes and people just say ‘ooooh, he’s a typical goalscorer, always wanting the ball’….This is ridiculous, it’s the lack of a Roy Keane figure who wouldn’t care about telling Ronaldo to give the ball to Berba that we miss in those situations…instead of this rotating +30 Manchester lad captaincy, just give it to 30yr old Rio permanently, he’d tell Ronaldo what to do and he has the big enough stature in world football for Ronaldo to listen although according to Fifa and UEFA John Terry had a better season last year than Rio….what a joke

  25. Stephen says:

    Surely it should be horses for courses, the best players taking the kicks from their most favoured angle?

  26. Sam says:

    hargreaves is a lousy no good free kick stealer. he wasn’t supposed to take them 2 against fulham and arsenal. that’s what we need more off. It’s a shame he’s injured but other players should look to do it as it catches everybody cold

  27. DanS says:


    Granted his freekicks haven’t been hitting the spot this season (so far), but the two against Stoke, amazing.

  28. Ben says:

    I feel that Ronaldo should take most of the free-kicks, as although his goal rate isn’t the best, who’s is in the Premier League?

    When he gets the ball past the wall, in often flies in or is poorly parried away by the keeper setting up goals (like O’Shea and Berbatov, lets not forget). The only time I think he shouldn’t take them is when the ball is really close to the box, because Tevez, Hargreaves and Rooney have proved their ability in that area. However, saying that, Ronaldo scored one like that in the last game and in the past.

    So really, Ronaldo should take as many as he has been, but I think someone else should take one once in a while as a curveball for the keepers.

  29. Tom F says:

    I think Ronaldo does as much, if not more damage than anybody else taking them full time.

    I think it’s the set pieces themselves that need looking at not the kick-taker. We need more variation, more short passes around the edge of the box and not always the obvious shoot or cross. Saying that, Ronaldo’s first goal the other day couldn’t have been more obvious.

  30. Aaron says:

    Ronaldo has been struggling becasue Nike designed the new ball so it won’t swerve as much. Thats why he hasn’t had many of those nice swerving free kicks like he did last season.

  31. micheal says:

    ronaldo’s free kick ratio is getting there and I would pick ronaldo’s free kicks and the style over beckham any day of the week. If it is not going in the back of the net his style is so awkward and annoying to handle for keepers and defences it bounces back out and a united player may get on the end of it.

    This article is a farce it would have been credible article between august 2003 and may 2006, but since the start of the 06/07 season and presently I would give all the free kicks to ronaldo. tevez is hardly playing at the moment and Rooney has not proven to be great free kick taker. Hargreaves is never fit to take them, and is giggs free kicks ratio are they any more better then ronaldo’s not a chance in hell. will giggs play more games then ronaldo this season no, so in all ronaldo is by a universal mile our most effective and our best free kick taker.

  32. AZY says:

    He scores a mighty lot against Portsmouth..doesn’t he.
    the one team that tends to receive his power dead balls.

    Ronaldo7 who else would u give but him..
    he just popped 2 in last week and ur saying how he shudnt take all the dead balls. shame.

  33. unitedgirl15 says:

    For me it’s either Hargreaves or Ronaldo.
    And since we have no Hargreaves, it gonna be Ronaldo.


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