Yes it’s true, I love Ronaldo, but honestly despite his defection to Real Madrid, what’s not to love? The lad was just pure dynamite, a hurricane, a tsunami and probably the most skilled player of the past twenty years. His free kick gem vs Portsmouth in 2008 makes it to number one on my list because I have never seen anything like it from anyone ever.
I spoke how Beckham’s goal defied logic and physics; well this one defies physics and gravity. It’s not as difficult a shot from it’s angle as it was straight on but the hit defies the laws of physics and gravity and aerodynamics in the manner of it’s flight path and velocity. Most free kicks tend to bend one way or the other. The nature of the ball and the angle of the foot on contact pretty much ensure a ball flies right or left. On occasion if hit properly it can fly right or left and dip or even rise but I have never seen a free kick hit straight that rose and then dipped like a a knuckleball pitch in baseball. The ball had no spin like a knuckleball pitch and so it was controlled by velocity and the air currents it was fighting. And what a wondrous strike it was. 28 Yards out and hit like a Howitzer it flew through the air and completely froze the Portsmouth keeper on the day David James. It made the score 2-0 United, which is how the game ended.
Not the most important free kick ever taken or at the most opportune time but it was a vital goal in a tight contest nonetheless. But nothing can take away from the quality of the strike as it goes down as the finest free kick I have ever seen taken and believe me I have seen a lot in my 40 years of watching this fine game. It may not make your list at number one but it has to make the list nonetheless. For me it epitomizes power and audacity as well as imagination and unparalleled physical talent. Ronaldo and that kick are both one in a billion.
Other greats (yours might differ):