You ask any football fan, to name the greatest free-kick ever scored and they will probably rattle off a few names. These names are likely to include Beckham’s against Greece in 2002, or Roberto Carlos’ for Brazil against France in 1997. Both worthy contenders. Brushed aside, however, when Cristiano Ronaldo stepped to up to the plate
In considering the awarding of such an accolade, a few things must be taken into consideration.
Undoubtedly, Beckham’s famous curler for England has the context and the stage. He took England through to the World Cup finals in the 93rd minute and catapulted himself to stardom, not to mention dragging the squad through the game with his stand out performance. Indeed goosebumps inducing stuff.
Likewise the technique behind Roberto Carlos‘ effort is sublime, he places an unbelievable amount of power behind the ball. Hit with the outside of his foot, that ball has no business going anywhere near the back of the net. His execution of striking a dead ball with the outside of his boot, doesn’t offer many parallels.
— Football Memories (@footballmemorys) July 16, 2014
These free-kicks, along with many others scored at the top level of football, are similar in the fact that the ball bends one way. A difficult skill to master, but one that many professional footballers, especially attackers, should be able to do comfortably.
A group of mates playing in the park, playing for their local team or at semi-professional level, can, with time, master this skill. Though some never will, both of these types of free kicks, for spectators and teammates, are plausible. They have been repeated in the world of football several times and though gain adulation, no one is truly surprised when they go in.
That is why Ronaldo’s thunderbolt against Portsmouth takes the top perch; an undisputed, revolutionary strike of the ball that made the impossible possible.
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He bends the ball TWO different ways. He doesn’t lash it with the outside of his boot, neither does he wrap his foot around it, but in putting that ball into the back of the net a new era was born.
Ronaldo’s strike may escape some of the qualities that made Beckham’s so special. Like wise it doesn’t have the insane amount of bend behind it that Carlos’ had. It does however possess a revolutionary technique reserved for the highest echelons of world football.
A technique that can seldom be learnt and takes the highest level of natural skill to perform. The precision that it takes to hit a football so perfectly that it travels in two different directions, whilst flying over a wall and dipping enough into a net, is extraordinary.
In performing such an act, Ronaldo netted a free kick that does not offer any parallels.
Anyone can knock their opponent out with an uppercut, but not everyone can do it with a jab.