Real’s precision missiles v Barca’s extraordinary teamwork

December 10, 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo’s thunderous free kick for Real Madrid against Olympique Marseille and Barcelona’s slick passing move that led to Xavi’s equaliser away to Dynamo Kiev were given a statistical overhaul in the Spanish media on Thursday.

Under the heading “Precision missiles” in sports daily AS, Ronaldo’s net-buster was measured at 102.7kph over 33.4 metres, and reached a height of 3.70 metres before tearing past Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

(I’d be interested to know the stats around Mario Balotelli’s free kick screamer that he scored for Inter Milan against Rubin Kazan).

It isn’t Ronaldo’s fastest yet, though. The first of the two freekicks he scored against FC Zurich in September was measured at 103kph.

A full diagram of the player in action, showing angles of attack, muscles and even the bones in his foot where he makes contact with the ball (the famous metatarsals and the scaphoid bone, if you ask), were used to demonstrate his “biomechanically perfect style.”

Up the road in Barcelona, they championed Lionel Messi’s more conventional free kick against Dynamo, but went overboard with the statistics on Xavi’s goal.

Mundo Deportivo described “an extraordinary team move” boasting 55 touches and 20 passes in 53 seconds, in which nine players were involved.

Only goalkeeper Victor Valdes and defender Carles Puyol, and the entire Dynamo team were complete spectators as Eric Abidal crossed for Xavi to slide in and score.

It doesn’t match Barca’s goal I wrote about on March 17th of this year, but it was still impressive.

Does this battle of statistics sum up the difference between Real Madrid and Barcelona at present? One a group of brilliant individuals, the other a brilliant team?

Real are without suspended Ronaldo in Valencia on Saturday and Barca probably won’t have Messi because of injury when city rivals Espanyol visit. I suspect Ronaldo will be missed the most.

PHOTO: Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo scores a goal against Olympique Marseille during their Champions League soccer match at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille, December 8, 2009. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson


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Balotelli’s was 34 metres but have no info on speed or height

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

I reckon Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s missile against Zaragoza in October was faster. The keeper got hands on it but it was so ferocious it carried on into the roof of the net. I have not seen anyone who hits the ball harder.

Posted by AudreyHepburn | Report as abusive