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So who is/was the best free kick taker ?

  • Cristiano Ronaldo

    Votes: 8 22.2%
  • David Beckham

    Votes: 28 77.8%
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· Registered
1,545 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Legs wide, four or five yards from the ball, hands by his sides as he plots the trajectory. Then a couple of steps forward, studs springing off the turf. The left foot plants itself inches from the ball, the left arm points sideways, his body tilts and the toes in his right foot connect with the ball, centre right. The missile launches, gathering pace, swerving a little one way then a lot the other, and by the time the goalkeeper has figured out the flight it is milliseconds away from slapping the net cord.

On Wednesday, Craig Gordon, the Sunderland and Scotland goalkeeper, merely gawped as the ball roared into his goal. It was Cristiano Ronaldo’s second spectacular free kick in a month after his bullet against Sporting Lisbon. Goalkeepers are baffled and beaten.

In March, when Manchester United faced a Europe XI, a free kick by Ronaldo from a central position drifted left then right and Santiago Cañizares, the goalkeeper, was duped. In February 2006, when United beat Fulham at Old Trafford, Antti Niemi was in a good position to save the kick but was so deceived by the movement that he went to his right and the ball sailed past his left shoulder.

The combination of being unable to determine the trajectory and the power of the shot reduces the reaction time of goalkeepers, so Ronaldo does not always have to find the top corner to score. Time for a Bend it like Ronaldo film? His style is very different. David Beckham’s technique is traditional while the Portuguese makes the most of modern technology.

Beckham’s run-ups are longer and from an acute angle, which allows him to generate extra spin and control as he massages his instep around the ball, striking it well wide of the centre to send it spinning.

Why is Beckham so effective? Talent, practice and the Magnus force. That is the name for the effect by which spin reduces the air pressure on one side of the ball and increases it on another, making it swerve.

Physicists have estimated that over 30 metres, a ball can deviate upwards or sidewards from its normal straight course by as much as four metres. Dr Ken Bray, a sports scientist at the University of Bath, found that Beckham kicks the ball at 70mph and makes it spin ten times a second. By angling the spin direction, Beckham pulls the ball down as well as across, using top spin, like a tennis player, so the ball slows and dips.

Ronaldo’s shots do not sink, spin or slow as much. They are the football equivalent of baseball’s knuckleball: a pitch that seems to dance randomly in mid-flight because when a ball rotates little, its trajectory is more disrupted by the flow of the air around it. Today’s smooth footballs are aerodynamically closer to baseballs than past designs because they have fewer panels and seams.

The explosive nature of Ronaldo’s free kicks may be partly explained by the Barclays Premier League’s balls, which contain a layer of nitrogen-expanded foam. “It acts like a trampoline, propelling the ball quickly off the foot,” a Nike spokesman said.

The winger’s boots are light and thin, giving him extra feel. Ronaldo’s feet are size nine, but he wears smaller boots because he believes it improves his touch.

Given the difficulty of hitting a ball accurately when it is lashed with the laces, Ronaldo gets it wrong more often than not. In 4½ seasons, he has scored only four goals from free kicks in the top flight; in 2001-02 alone, Beckham scored four. That represented a conversion rate of 15 per cent. In 2005-06 and 2006-07, Ronaldo’s success rate was 5 per cent, or one goal every 20 attempts. Overall in the Premier League, about one in ten free kicks finds the net. So while Ronaldo may be brilliant, he is also below average – although his victims, such as Gordon, would surely disagree.

Daily Mail Jamie Redknapp
Ronaldo the rocket man

20:58pm 27th December 2007

Can you believe that one of Christiano Ronaldo's Manchester United team-mates wanted to take that free-kick at Sunderland? It was a short debate.

"No, leave it to me. Watch this . . . top corner," he replied. And that's where it ended up.
It is pure theatre watching Ronaldo. He is on top of his game, oozing confidence and when he prepares to take a free-kick, there is a buzz of expectation around the stadium — you can just see the fear in the opposition defenders and goalkeeper.
They know what's coming, what they don't know is how to stop it.
When Ronaldo prepares to strike for goal, he stands back — a bit like Jonny Wilkinson preparing to take aim from a rugby penalty. He opens his legs, rocks from side to side as he shifts his weight and focuses on the target.
Then he clumps the ball, whacks the plastic off it, punts it, stuns it with force and power and control and aim. The end result, more often than not, is another spectacular goal.
How does he do it? When he strikes the ball, he runs straight and also connects with the front of his foot, uses his laces and gets the ball to dip and whip. And he's mastered the art, too.

Try it yourself and you'll see how difficult it is. I heard that he used to strike the valve, which compresses the ball and makes it move and swerve as it changes shape in the air.
I'm not sure if he has the same technique now, we'll have to watch and see. I hear that he might just have modified his method to better the end result.
Craig Gordon couldn't tell you how it happens. The Sunderland goalkeeper barely saw the ball, such was the speed and the movement as the shot flashed past him on the way to Manchester United's 4-0 win and a place back at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
Let's not forget the accuracy, too.
Ronaldo put the ball exactly where he meant to and, as someone who liked taking free-kicks, I can tell you that's not always so easy; I saw plenty sailing over the bar.
Ronaldo will practise that skill every day after training, possibly for half an hour, hitting 30 or 40 shots. Like an outstanding golfer, repetition will be the key.
When I took a free-kick, I would try to hit the ball cleanly and put my foot through it. I couldn't take them like Ronaldo, but the ball has changed now. It's easier to deceive the goalkeeper. That's my excuse anyway.
I remember scoring an important free-kick against Blackburn on the last day of the season for Liverpool at Anfield. We won the game, but they won the title.
David Beckham was the standard bearer, but his technique was different from the current Manchester United No 7's.
Beckham would approach a ball from the side and then wrap his foot around to curl the ball with pace and bend. We all remember his last minute goal for England against Greece at Old Trafford. In club games when he was taking aim, you would always think: 'Oh no . . .'
Gianfranco Zola had a great talent for getting the ball up and over the defensive wall quickly and then back down as the ball spun and gathered pace on its way towards the goal. He didn't have the same power as Ronaldo, although he carried similar menace.
Ruud Gullit was another former Chelsea player who would make you regret conceding the free-kick. He was a great technician with the ball, you would instantly dread the outcome and stand there expecting trouble.
Another favourite of mine, a brilliant free-kick taker, was my former Liverpool team-mate Gary McAllister, who could also take a fantastic corner. He would stroke the ball, hit it in a delicate way and float his shot away from the goalkeeper. Accuracy, more than power, was his weapon.

Bend it like Beckham: Ronaldo

Having a dead-ball specialist carries such a threat in the modern game. The Manchester United versus Liverpool game and the Arsenal versus Chelsea game were both decided by goals from set plays.
Every team needs one specialist and United have the best.
Didier Drogba smashes the ball for Chelsea and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard can also finish from long range and has scored some spectacular goals himself.
He, too, is different from Ronaldo and likes the ball slipped to the side to give him the angle as he runs on to a moving ball.
Ronaldo had a slow start to this season. He was sent off at Portsmouth, it took him until the end of September before he scored his first League goal and he didn't come flying out of the blocks.
I had him in my Fantasy League team and after three or four games, I thought I'd made a mistake.
Now he is the top scorer in the top flight, he has scored 17 goals in all competitions and is on course to beat last season's haul of 25 goals. Looking at the records for last season, he is already five ahead.
On current form, the Footballer of the Year is again the best player in the country. Don't simply take my word for it, look at the records. In his last 13 games he has scored 15 goals.
The next time they win a free-kick in the danger area, it might be wise for his United team-mates simply to let him have the ball.

· Banned
4,612 Posts
Jamie Redknapp must be one of the most annoying little people in the world

For me the difference in Beckham and Ronaldo is simple......

When I see Beckham lining up a kick from just outside the box - it felt like a
penalty - he was either going to score or make the keeper scramble to save it.

When I see Ronaldo lining up a kick from just outside the box - I always think
- "Well he'might' score I just hope he hits a good one".......

I lost a lot of respect for Beckham now for differing reasons but despite this - he
was/is the best easily !!!

· Registered
242 Posts
red_dec7 said:
stupid thread ronaldo hits the odd 1 an when he does there fantastic but most of the time they barely get past the wall
beckham was an proberly still is the best freekick taker in the world
Totaly agree.
Atm, its Beckz, but Ronaldo's young, give him some time, get the technique right and stuff :)

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1,430 Posts
no contest for me becks all the carly said every time becks used to get a free kick you always felt he would score with ronaldo u feel he's gonna put it in row z

but what i will say is that when becks first started playing for utd in his 1st few seasons his free kicks were not great he got better with time and so will ronaldo

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866 Posts
christ on a bike this is a no contest. It wasn't so long ago I was pulling me hair out waitin to see ronnie hit the wall or row z. Havin said that he has improved and scored a couple in the last couple of months. But with the amount that Becks got it is a no contest.

red_dec7 said:
beckham was an proberly still is the best freekick taker in the world
Think again. To date, Juninho has scored 35 freekicks for Lyon and his range is far wider than Beckham's. Compared to Juninho...Beckham is an average FK taker.

From wiki: Juninho has been described as one "of the world's most feared strikers of a static ball". A survey by the French sports daily L'Equipe from December 2006, revealed that 45% of Lyon's goals (at the time one of the best attacking teams in Europe) resulted - either directly or indirectly - from set-pieces and freekicks delivered by Juninho

· Moderator
26,045 Posts
The truth about Ronnie's freekick

The truth is out... Source: ITV-Football

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed the theories over Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kicks and says his success is down to practice.

The Red Devils winger curled home a superb free-kick against Sunderland on Boxing Day which had the purists buzzing.

His set-pieces in United's 4-0 triumph at the Stadium of Light led to a number of suggestions on how Ronaldo manages to get such swerve and dip on the ball.

One theory is that the Portuguese international tries to make contact with the valve on the ball, which then moves around violently making it almost impossible for a goalkeeper to stop.

But Ferguson rejected the notion as "rubbish", insisting Ronaldo benefits only from the extra work he does on the club's Carrington training pitch.

"All I have heard about over the last day or two is about the ball and how Cristiano shapes up," said Ferguson.

"It is rubbish. He takes about 30 free-kicks after training every day. Not only are the balls not the same ones we use in matches, I have never once seen him pay any attention to where the valve is.

"The most important thing is practice. Practice makes perfect."

There you have it. From the horses' trainer's mouth.

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5,402 Posts
Come on... Beckham every time.

Remember that feeling when we won a free kick in a deadly position, it felt like a goal already.

I definately don't get that feeling with Ronaldo... He can sometimes his a great free kick that looks amazing. Most of them are off target though.

Ronaldo is improving...

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3,218 Posts
unitedred said:
Its gotta be Becks for me, not just for his freekicks, his all round delivery was second to none. Best set piece taker around alongside Juninho. They score so many and also set up so many goals.

Exactly, in fact just watching the treble video of an afternoon, it is unbelievable the amount of goals we scored as a result of perfect corner kicks and especially crosses from the golden boy. :)
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