Cristiano Ronaldo part of new Portugal coach Roberto Martinez’s plans
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Cristiano Ronaldo rediscovered his trademark trick on Saturday night as he hammered home a long-range free-kick to help Al-Nassr defeat Abha 2-1 in the Saudi Pro League. The blockbuster star had gone nearly three years without finding the back of the net with a free-kick before his strike at Mrsool Park.
Ronaldo is one of the greatest players to ever walk the earth and has carved out a reputation as a free-kick specialist throughout his career. But ahead of his latest match in the Middle East, he was on a barren run when it came to scoring from set-pieces outside of the box.
That changed in the 78th minute when the Portugal international was presented with an opportunity to shoot from 30 yards after his side had been awarded a free-kick while trailing 1-0. Ronaldo squared up to the ball as he prepared to take the set-piece and proceeded to drive it hard and low through the wall.
Away keeper Devis Epassy got his hand to the ball and would have been expected to keep the shot out. But the free-kick found its way into the back of the net, with Ronaldo’s team-mate Talisca scoring a winner for Al-Nassr from the penalty spot in the closing stages of the match.
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Ronaldo had an excellent set-piece record during his younger days and has scored an incredible 56 free-kicks throughout his career. But Saturday’s strike was his first goal from a free-kick since he netted one for Juventus during a 4-1 victory over Torino back in 2020.
Following the goal, Arsenal fan and broadcaster Piers Morgan took to Twitter to pay tribute to Ronaldo as he posted a clip of the free-kick alongside the caption: “GOATs never lose it.” Morgan interviewed Ronaldo just before the star’s contract at Manchester United was terminated last November, with the player claiming he “felt betrayed” by the club and had “no respect” for manager Erik ten Hag.
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Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr at the end of last year after putting pen-to-paper on a two-and-a-half year deal at the club. And he is reported to earn a whopping £173million per year in the Middle East.
The 38-year-old has suffered with inconsistent form since moving to Saudi Arabia, however, and has scored in just four of his 10 matches for Al-Nassr. But he has still racked-up nine goals for his current employers, netting four goals against Al-Wehda before bagging a hat-trick against Damac.
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