Cristiano Ronaldo’s incompetence proved Portugal’s downfall as it crashed out of Euro 2020

Cristiano Ronaldo takes a free kick during Portugal’s Euro 2020 match against Belgium
Cristiano Ronaldo. Getty/Thanassis Stavrakis
  • Cristiano Ronaldo’s poor record from free-kicks continued as Portugal crashed out of Euro 2020.
  • The 36-year-old missed two direct dead balls as Fernando Santos’ side was beaten by Belgium.
  • Ronaldo has now scored just once from 51 free-kicks at major international tournaments.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s woeful record from free-kicks at major international tournaments continued as reigning champion Portugal was knocked out of Euro 2020 by Belgium.

The 36-year-old forward took and missed two direct free-kicks as Fernando Santos’ side was beaten 1-0 in the last-16 on Sunday night.

Ronaldo’s first dead ball effort was a comfortable save for Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois, while his second – which was taken from a perfect position just outside the penalty area – crashed into the wall.

The Juventus forward 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.

-Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) June 27, 2021

For Juventus, Ronaldo has an equally bad record from free-kicks having scored just once in over 70 attempts across the last three seasons.

Carlo Pinsoglio, the Turin club’s third choice goalkeeper, suggested in March that Ronaldo’s shocking conversion rate 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.”

-TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 27, 2021

Portugal scraped through a competitive Group F to the make it to the Euro 2020 knockout stages.

Ronaldo scored twice in a 3-0 win over Hungary in his country’s tournament opener, before it was beaten comprehensively by Germany and drew with France.

Against Belgium, which is the number one ranked team in the world, neither side was able to assert its dominance in what was a nervous first 30 minutes at Spain’s Estadio de La Cartuja.

Belgium’s Thorgan Hazard, however, broke the deadlock just before half-time with a swerving strike which took Rui Patricio by surprise.

After the break, Portugal dominated possession and came close through Raphael Guerreiro, whose late effort rattled off the post, but it was again unable to penetrate Belgium’s defensive back five.

“In these kinds of games you have to grab your chances with both hands,” Hazard said after the match.

“And voila, the goalkeeper expected me to choose the other corner, so the ball went in. I am happy I could score for my country!”

Belgium will face Italy, which beat Austria 2-0 in the last-16 on Saturday, in the quarterfinals on Friday, July 2.