Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez has entrusted his talisman Cristiano Ronaldo with free-kick duties in spite of the 30-year-old’s poor record in recent times.
Karim Benzema was on the mark, as Real Madrid knocked off Granada to register their third win in La Liga this season with a 1-0 score. It comes as a surprise that talisman Cristiano Ronaldo failed to get on the score sheet after the high standards he has set for himself, and especially after finding the net eight times in his last two outings. Although his ability to score from open play has never been doubted, his free-kicks have become a worrying factor. Ronaldo scored just twice in thirty three attempts last season, and is yet to score from a free-kick this season.
Rafael Benitez was asked about Ronaldo’s underwhelming free-kick record. “We practice free-kicks in training every now and then and Ronaldo finds the net plenty of times,” Benitez said at a press conference.”You have to believe in him and know that he will eventually score more goals from free-kicks again. We all believe in Cristiano.”
Rafa did mention other options, and perhaps James Rodriguez or Gareth Bale, who are both left-footed, should be the only ones standing over a free-kick from the right side. “Of course, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale can also take free-kicks, but they were not there against Granada”, the manager added.
The Madrid-born manager also hailed goalkeeper Kevlor Navas who is yet to concede a goal in competitive football with Real Madrid this season. He was quoted as saying: “We have been very strong in defence. But we have to improve. We cannot afford to give away two or three chances. We lacked movement and precision.
“Keylor Navas has done very well to solve any problematic situations. That he has kept five clean sheets means he has been doing a lot of things very well. But we must keep on working to improve.”