Cristiano Ronaldo ended a near three-year wait to score a free kick as he rocketed home a stunning effort for Al-Nassr on Saturday evening.
The Portuguese forward was in action for Al-Nassr as they took on Abha. Rudi Garcia’s side were attempting to cut the gap to Saudi Pro League leaders Al-Ittihad, but things did not start so well after they fell 1-0 behind in the 26th minute of the clash.
Ronaldo was on hand late on to get Al-Nassr back on level terms. He claimed a central free kick over 30 yards out in the 77th minute of the game.
The 38-year-old made no mistake as he smashed home his effort into the bottom corner past Abha goalkeeper David Epassy, who was left remonstrating with his teammates. It appeared that fans of Lionel Messi got their hands on the Cameroonian’s Wikipedia page in the aftermath of the strike.
His bio read: “In 2023, he [Epassy] was diagnosed with Sadmessifans-Syndrom after Ronaldo scored a free kick.”
Whilst Ronaldo’s impressive free kick triggered wild celebrations from the Portuguese, they were likely to be of relief more so than anything. Despite his previous prolificacy from set-pieces, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had not actually scored a free kick in almost three years.
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His last successful effort came in July 2020 when he slammed home a free-kick against Juventus’ cross-city rivals Torino in a 4-1 victory. That was one of 55 free kicks that Ronaldo has successfully converted during his career.
He failed to add to that record during his second spell with Manchester United before his move to Al-Nassr. Ronaldo’s free kick for his new side helped them hugely to a vital three points in the Saudi title race.
After opponents Abha were reduced to 10 men, Brazilian forward Anderson Talisca netted a 86th-minute penalty to secure victory. Interestingly, the pair actually had an interesting exchange earlier this week as they faced the same opponents in the King Cup of Champions quarter-finals.
In the aftermath of the game, Ronaldo took to Instagram with his thoughts on the match. He wrote: “Good victory team! We move on to the semi-final.”
Talisca then replied to the Portuguese’s post with a simple message. He replied: “Brabo bixo,” which roughly translates to “angry dude.”
Ronaldo had angrily gesticulated towards the referee during the game before he then booted the ball into the opposition half of the pitch after the first half was brought to an end 30 seconds early. The Portuguese was attempting to spearhead a counter-attack and his reaction was met with a yellow card.