As Cristiano Ronaldo and Owen Hargreaves stood over the ball in preparation to take a freekick against Sporting Lisbon last night, I imagine I wasn’t the only red pleading for Hargreaves to take it. We’d seen two great freekicks from Hargreaves against Bolton at the weekend, one forcing a great save, and the other rolling off the roof of the net. This is the closest look we’ve had a goal from a freekick all season, with the job being handed to Ronaldo practically every time this season. When considering we have two or three freekicks a match from dangerous areas outside the box, it is pretty pitiful to admit that we never look like scoring from them. Ronaldo will time and again fire the ball in to the wall which sometimes puts us in a compromising position, with the likes of Ferdinand and Vidic having to race back to stop a counter attack.
We have seen the beauty of Ronaldo’s freekicks a few times in the past though, for both club and country, and they are unstoppable. When he hits it just right there isn’t a keeper in the World who could save them. However, the problem is that Ronnie rarely hits them just right these days, and has never regularly got them on target.
Tevez, Rooney, Giggs and Hargreaves have all shown they are capable of taking a good freekick , and why the duties haven’t been shared among these players, along with Ronaldo, has bemused me for some time.
As Ronaldo stood with his feet spread wide apart, poised to take the freekick, in what could result in our last chance of a game we really wanted, and to a certain extent, needed to win, I groaned. “Not bloody Ronaldo again!” So it was par for the course, just as we’d all reached the end of our tether, that Ronaldo would score an absolute screamer.
So what does this mean for us now? That Ronaldo goes back to having the monopoly on our free kicks, regardless of what side of the goal they’re on? Hargreaves first attempts to be long forgotten, like that of Rooney on his debut? I certainly hope not. Whilst I celebrated as hard as any other red yesterday when the ball flew in the net, I can’t help but have my reservations over what this now means for our free kick duties.
Who do you think should take our freekicks?