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How Many Free Kicks Has Cristiano Ronaldo Scored in His Legendary Career?

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of football‘s most iconic and decorated players, thrilling fans with his dazzling skills and seemingly superhuman goalscoring exploits for nearly two decades. The Portuguese phenomenon has netted over 800 career goals, including an astonishing 58 directly from free kicks.

But how does this free kick haul compare to his rival Lionel Messi and other set piece specialists? Let‘s analyze the data and highlights to appreciate Ronaldo‘s mastery of the dead ball.

By The Numbers: CR7‘s Free Kick Goals

As of February 2023, Ronaldo has scored an impressive 58 free kick goals over the course of his club and international career according to various statistical databases.

While this pales slightly compared to Lionel Messi‘s total of 61 free kick goals, it demonstrates that Ronaldo is clearly one of the most dangerous direct free kick takers of his generation.

To put Ronaldo‘s number of goals into perspective, here is how he compares to some other prominent free kick takers:

PlayerFree Kick Goals
Lionel Messi61
Cristiano Ronaldo58
David Beckham65
Juninho Pernambucano75

So while Ronaldo isn‘t the most prolific free kick scorer ever statistically, he is firmly in the conversation with the very best specialists of all time.

Ronaldo vs Messi: Statistical Comparison

Ronaldo has battled with Lionel Messi his entire career for supremacy in the world of football. Let‘s see how their numbers stack up:

Career Goals795805
Free Kick Goals6158
Shots from Free Kicks433533
Free Kick Conversion %14%10.9%
Key Passes1,7311,170
Dribbles Completed2,8962,470
Ballon d‘Or Wins75
UEFA CL Titles45

A few takeaways:

  • Messi has been more efficient scoring direct free kicks, with a 14% conversion rate compared to Ronaldo‘s 10.9%.

  • But Ronaldo has taken about 100 more free kicks in his career than Messi.

  • Overall, Messi creates and assists more chances than Ronaldo from open play.

  • Ronaldo has scored more goals in total and won more Champions League titles.

So in terms of free kick scoring production, Messi edges out Ronaldo slightly on a goals per free kick basis. But CR7‘s sheer volume of free kicks taken and goals scored still puts him among the very best set piece takers historically.

Analyzing Ronaldo‘s Free Kick Technique

Ronaldo‘s free kick goals over the years have come in many different forms. But a few aspects stand out when analyzing his technique:

Power – Ronaldo can absolutely hammer a free kick, generating tremendous force through his run-up, body shape, and whip-like leg swing. This allows him to fire balls over the wall at up to 80 mph.

Placement – Rather than simply blasting shots, Ronaldo has mastered placing his efforts just out of the goalkeeper‘s reach into the corners. Free kicks like his World Cup strike against Spain demonstrate this accuracy.

Bend – Ronaldo can bend shots up and down with both swerve and dip. His trademark is the knuckleball free kick like against Portsmouth, making the ball move erratically.

Adaptability – From close-range placement to long-distance power, Ronaldo tailors his technique to the situation. This unpredictability makes him even more of a threat.

Ronaldo can strike free kicks with his laces, inside of the foot, or toe poke depending on the angle, distance, and trajectory he envisions. No matter the scenario or defensive setup, Ronaldo has the tools in his locker to turn free kicks into goals.

Ronaldo‘s Most Iconic Free Kicks

While impossible to pick favourites from Ronaldo‘s collection of stunning free kicks, these goals stand out as particularly iconic:

40-Yard Rocket vs Arsenal (2009) – From nearly the halfway line, Ronaldo unleashed a swerving thunderbolt that caught Arsenal‘s Manuel Almunia off-guard, showcasing his outrageous power.

Last Gasp Winner vs Spain (2018) – Down 3-2 in the dying seconds against Spain at the World Cup, Ronaldo stepped up to smash home a precision bending free kick and complete his hat-trick, proving his big-match mentality.

Double Free Kick Brace vs Celta Vigo (2020) – Ronaldo showed he hadn‘t lost his magic touch on set pieces by scoring two brilliant free kicks in quick succession against Celta Vigo.

Knuckleball vs Portsmouth (2008) – Regarded by many as his greatest free kick, Ronaldo struck a famous knuckleball effort that swerved and dipped violently into the top corner, flummoxing the goalkeeper.

No matter the distance, angle or scenario, Ronaldo has delivered extraordinary free kicks at crucial moments throughout his career. As his free kick reel continues to grow, so does his legacy.

Is Ronaldo the GOAT? Perspectives on His Position Among Football‘s Best

The debate over football‘s greatest player of all time comes down primarily to Ronaldo and his generational rival, Lionel Messi. Fans, pundits and players remain divided. Here are some perspectives on Ronaldo‘s GOAT credentials:

"For me, Cristiano is the best. The numbers don‘t lie." – Carlo Ancelotti, Manager of Real Madrid and AC Milan

"His skillset, athleticism and production stacks up against the all-time greats. Ronaldo has earned the right to be in the GOAT debate." – Gab Marcotti, journalist for ESPN

"While Messi may be the most talented, Ronaldo‘s work ethic and desire to improve set him apart. He has crafted himself into a complete player." – Jamie Carragher, former Liverpool defender

"You cannot argue with what Ronaldo has achieved. He has won trophies and broken records everywhere he has gone." – Ruud van Nistelrooy, former Manchester United striker

"For me, Messi just edges it. His creativity and ability to manipulate matches is unmatched." – Andres Iniesta, former Barcelona and Spain midfielder

The debate rages on, with sound arguments on both sides. But Ronaldo‘s stunning accomplishments and longevity at the pinnacle of football make him absolutely worthy of being considered among the greatest footballers ever.

The Legacy of CR7‘s Free Kick Brilliance

As Ronaldo heads into the twilight of his legendary career, his collection of 58 free kick goals and counting stands as a testament to his mastery of the set piece. Moments like his 40-yard piledriver and physics-defying knuckleballs will live long in the memory.

Ronaldo‘s power, precision and relentlessness from free kicks epitomize the hard work behind his generational talent. His ability to convert free kicks in the clutch illustrates the killer instinct that defines him. Even as the years pass, Ronaldo‘s supreme confidence and consistency on free kicks never wavers.

So while Messi may statistically have the slightest of edges currently, Ronaldo‘s free kick portfolio highlights his greatness. For any future player wanting to master the art of free kicks, Ronaldo‘s technique, preparation and productivity set the standard. He will stand among the very best free kick takers for generations to come.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.