Ronaldo would insist he practice free kicks against me, says Van der Sar

Ronaldo would insist he practice free kicks against me, says Van der Sar

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar says the secret behind the signature powerful free kicks of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is hard work.

The Portugal international’s trademark free kicks have been a feature of his play since his Old Trafford days, and although his accuracy levels may have dipped with age, the power behind each kick remains.

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Speaking in the November issue of FourFourTwo magazine, Van der Sar said: “After training sessions, he would often work on his free-kicks and then come to me and say: “Edwin, can you go in goal?”

“I’d say I was old so he would be better off using one of the youth-team keepers, but he would insist I went in goal as he wanted to score past me.”

“I would tease him a lot and say things like: “You won’t score against me, Ronnie, you know it. Ask the reserve goalie, that’s better for your confidence.”

“He’d get agitated and reply: “No, no. You’ve got to go in goal!”

The 46-year-old also said the difference between Ronaldo and his former teammate Wayne Rooney was the Portugal international’s stronger work ethic.

“They both worked incredibly hard on the pitch, but Cristiano took it up a level. Off the field, Ronaldo was also focusing on everything extensively, such as resting up properly and strengthening his body.”

Ronaldo’s goal-scoring exploits since moving to Real Madrid in 2013 have become the stuff of legends, with 411 goals scored in 401 games.

The forward may be 32 years old now and going through a bit of a goal drought in the Spanish league, but his goal-scoring instincts remain as sharp as ever.

Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund will testify to that fact, after Ronaldo scored a brace at the Signal Iduna Park in Germany to lead Real Madrid to the top of their Champions League group and score his 23rd and 24th Champions League goal against German clubs.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo and his free kicks will be in action for the Portuguese national side over the international break. CR7 will lead his nation out for their final two World Cup qualifiers – at Andorra and at home to group leaders Switzerland.

Portugal are assured of a play-off spot at the very least but Ronaldo will want to ensure qualification to next summer’s tournament to wrapped up sooner rather than later… and will target all six points to do just that.