- Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kick scoring abilities are a “myth” says former England star Ian Wright.
- Ronaldo missed two free kicks as Portugal crashed out of Euro 2020 at the hands of Belgium Sunday.
- It means the 36-year-old has now scored one free-kick in 51 attempts at major international tournaments.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A British soccer pundit called Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kick taking abilities a “myth” as Portugal crashed out of Euro 2020 at the hands of Belgium on Sunday.
The reigning champion was beaten 1-0 in the last 16 by Robert Martinez’s side courtesy of a late first-half strike from Thorgan Hazard.
During the match, Ronaldo took and missed two direct free kicks, further extending his woeful record from dead ball situations.
His first effort, which came in the 25th minute, proved to be a comfortable save for Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois, and prompted criticism from the former England striker Ian Wright.
“How many of those free kicks does Ronaldo actually score?” asked Wright speaking at half-time on UK TV network ITV.
“It’s kind of like a myth, that Ronaldo is on it, watch out everyone. Nothing happens.”
Wright’s theory was proved right after the break, when Ronaldo crashed his second free kick – which was taken from a perfect position just outside the penalty area – straight into the wall.
The Juventus forward’s two misses mean he has now taken 28 direct free kicks at the European championships since making his tournament debut in 2004 – at least four times more than any other player during the same period – and has scored none.
At World Cups, Ronaldo has also taken a total of 23 direct free kicks, scoring just one.
His record from the dead ball at club level isn’t much better.
Between 2009 and 2018, the Portuguese star scored 33 free kick goals in 444 attempts for Real Madrid – which equates to a conversion record of 7.3%.
For Juventus, that conversion rate has plummeted to just 1.4%, with Ronaldo having scored just once in 72 attempts across the last three seasons.
To put that into context, the rolling average conversion rate for free kick takers in the English Premier League is 9.2%.
Carlo Pinsoglio, Juventus’ third choice goalkeeper, suggested in March that Ronaldo’s shocking conversion rate in games was merely down to bad luck.
“Cristiano always takes free kicks in training and he scores them all the time,” he said. “I don’t know why he can’t do it in games, maybe it’s just bad luck.”