Play nicely, please.
It’s a well-known fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is a free-kick fraud. Don’t @ me.
Despite scoring one free-kick every 185 games with Real Madrid, football’s most modest man still persisted on taking them.
Toni Kroos occasionally pulled rank for Los Blancos, more so when Ronaldo was off the pitch. The German really should have just taken the lot.
Gareth Bale also threatened the Portuguese’s rule over set-piece duties, however failed to dislodge him consistently.
You would think that upon arrival at Juventus, the famous No7 would simply pull rank on set-piece duties.
The 33-year-old comes into a side that already boasts two of Europe’s best free-kick takers.
Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic are the very definition of set-piece specialists. The latter in particular earning himself significant praise.
Lyon’s former Brazilian midfielder Juninho singled out Pjanic as “the best free-kick taker in the world today.”
High praise from a man who did this for a living…
Before CR7 had played his first game for the Turin club, Pjanic insisted that the new arrival would take over set-piece responsibilities.
“At first when we trained on free kicks it would either be me or Dybala to take it. Now, it’s 100% him,” he said.
So, now that Ronaldo is five games (and one red card) into his time with the Old Lady, just who exactly has been winning this three-way tussle?
Max Allegri admitted that whilst Ronaldo and Dybala are sharing penalty duties this season, a plethora or players are wanting to try their luck from free-kicks.
It seems however that Ronaldo has got his way once more.
The former Man United star has been the primary free-kick taker in Juventus’ opening fixtures, much to the disappointment of some supporters.
The 33-year-old has pulled rank to such an extent that dead-ball situations in wide areas are being treated as goalscoring opportunities for Ronaldo.
Clearly just leave them for Pjanic to float in.
Ronaldo did however almost vindicate Allegri’s decision straight from the off, coming close to scoring a free-kick right on his debut against Lazio.
His powerful strike could only be parried by the goalkeeper and was tucked home by Mario Mandzukic on the rebound.
The Portugal’s talisman registered his first assist. I’m sure he was delighted.
Since then however, Ronaldo’s free-kicks have been a repeat of the bulk of his efforts for Los Blancos.
The irony is that since he left the Bernabeu, Isco has stepped up in his absence and been producing the goods from set-pieces in devastating fashion.
Juventus scored a whopping eight goals direct from free-kicks last season, the highest of any team in Europe’s top five leagues.
The Turin giants are however set to find them few and far between this campaign. Thanks, Cristiano.
Throwback to when Juventus used to score free-kicks.
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