Saturday 08 September 2018, 08:00

Ronaldo’s gravity-defying acrobatics

  • He had the Juventus Stadium on its feet with his stunning overhead kick

  • Ronaldo won the inaugural FIFA Puskás Award in 2009

  • Is it the best goal of 2018? Vote now for your favourite!

Real Madrid made the perfect start to the first leg of last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie with Juventus, with Cristiano Ronaldo putting them ahead after just three minutes.

The best was yet to come, however. With 64 minutes on the clock, the Portuguese star provided a masterclass in how to execute the perfect overhead kick. Keeping his eye on a floating cross, as it came towards him, Ronaldo ran to meet it before launching himself into an acrobatic leap, at the apex of which his right foot connected with the ball and powered it into the back of the net.

So high was his leap that Ronaldo took the ball right off the head of Juventus defender Mattia De Sciglio, who stands 6’0 (1.82m) tall and was in mid-air at the time. As remarkable as it may seem, it was the first goal that Ronaldo had ever scored with a bicycle kick.

Was Ronaldo’s stunner your favourite goal of 2018?

His sublime finish came at the end of a frenetic move he had been involved in from the start, having latched on to a long ball from Marcelo. Ronaldo’s run to the byline to retrieve it pulled Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini out of position, while his subsequent cutback set up Lucas Vazquez for a fizzing drive that was parried by Buffon, diving at full stretch. Dani Carvajal was first on to the loose ball, and when he sent a looping cross back into the danger area, who was there but the ever-alert Ronaldo to conjure up his magical finish.

Buffon could do nothing more than watch the ball fly into the back of the net, while applause broke out around the Juventus Stadium. La Vecchia Signora’s fans know their football, and though the goal had come from the boot of an opposing player, they could not help but show their admiration for a truly stunning strike.

What they said

“To be at a stadium like this, here in Turin, against Juve, where some great players have played, and to be applauded by them is a very special moment. It’s a club I’ve always liked since I was a kid and being applauded by the fans will stay in my heart forever.” Cristiano Ronaldo after the match

“That’s Cristiano for you. He does things that only he can do. I think we can safely say that it’s one of the best goals in the history of football, though it’s probably not as good as mine.” Zinedine Zidane reacts with a smile to comparisons between Ronaldo’s overhead kick and his sublime volley in the 2002 UEFA Champions League final in Glasgow