The visit of Villarreal on Sunday was a good occasion for Cristiano to revive his free-kick goalscoring pulse, with the memory of the one from 09-10 and his Tomahawk. He had two opportunities to do it (in the 45th and 78th minutes). But they were high. His statistics in this section have started to decline, and there are more quality free-kick takers in the squad. Apart from Bale, who has a shot which is similar to Cristiano’s, Isco and Toni Kroos are also set-piece specialists, while those who aren’t available, James Rodríguez, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos, are too. Míster Chip reported on his Twitter account that Cristiano has not scored a single goal with his last 51 free-kicks: 21 hit the wall, 14 were off-target and 16 were repelled by the goalkeeper or the posts.
Cristiano scored his last free-kick goal in the 4-0 win against Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the Champions League on 29 April 2014. A smart shot because, instead of imparting power, he sent it under the wall. Ten months have passed. Even longer if we go back to his last free-kick goal in La Liga, which was achieved on 26 March 2014 in Sevilla.
Cristiano and Bale agreed to divide up the free-kicks when the Welshman arrived last season, but Cristiano initially took all of them because Bale had pain in the back of the thigh when he shot. Now it’s perfect and he executes them from the right flank. Cristiano from the left. And those from the middle are also for the Portuguese. It’s Ramos who usually picks up the crumbs left by the two big-hitters…
During their time together in Madrid, Bale has scored with four free-kicks and Cristiano has done so with five. Bale did it against Betis and Sevilla in last year’s Liga, against Galatasaray in last season’s Champions League and against Espanyol in La Liga this season. Cristiano, meanwhile, struck all of his free-kick goals last season. Those goals were scored against Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Elche in La Liga, against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and against Osasuna in the Copa del Rey.
But if Cristiano has struggled with free-kicks in recent times, he certainly hasn’t with penalties. He has scored 55 spot-kicks from 60 during his time in Madrid (91.6%).