James Maddison has explained how his free-kick technique differs from that of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Maddison is a world-class set-piece taker, much like Ronaldo was during the early days of his remarkable career. The Portugal captain generates unreal power in his shots and the ball moves uncannily in the air. Ronaldo’s style of hitting the centre of the ball with a straight foot is known as the knuckleball.
Maddison, though, has revealed that the knuckleball is not in his arsenal of free-kicks. Explaining the difference between his style of shooting and Ronaldo’s, the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder said (via Daily Star):
“I’m precision. My technique’s very whippy. The knuckleball, that’s out of my wheelhouse.
“He was the first one I saw to do it. He might have nicked that off someone else and kept it to himself. That straight foot kind of where the football would wobble, that’s impossible for goalkeepers.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kicks against Europe XI (2006), Portsmouth (2007-08), Villareal (2009-10) and Denmark (2012) are some of his best knuckleball shots. He has scored an impressive 61 free-kick goals for club and country.
Maddison, meanwhile, is a free-kick specialist in his own right, scoring 15 times from a direct set-piece.
James Maddison reveals his childhood fandom of Cristiano Ronaldo
Growing up, James Maddison was an ardent Manchester United fan. Considering that Cristiano Ronaldo was United’s main man in the mid-2000s, unsurprisingly, the Portuguese superstar was one of Maddison’s favourite players.
The 27-year-old has revealed how he used to watch Ronaldo’s free-kicks after school. Speaking about his fandom, Maddison said (via Daily Star):
“I loved Cristiano growing up as well, just because of the United thing. I used to watch his (free-kicks) on YouTube like everyday at school.”
Maddison joined Tottenham Hotspur at the start of the 2023-24 season after Leicester City were relegated from the Premier League. The attacking midfielder has shown his class for Spurs, scoring three goals and providing seven assists in 15 appearances across competitions.