Never told Cristiano Ronaldo how to shoot free-kicks, says Rafa Benitez

rafa and ronaldo

cr7 and rafa benetiz

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez insists that it is not true he tried to teach Cristiano Ronaldo how to take free-kicks while being the head coach of Real Madrid.

The Spanish gaffer knew for guiding Liverpool to a historic Champions League triumph in Istanbul, currently works in China as coach of Dalian Professional.

Benitez recently took some time out to chat with Spanish publication, MARCA and invalidated some of the controversies that surrounded him in his 6-month coaching tenure of Real Madrid in the 2015/2016 season.


Benitez is said to have encouraged the Portugal star to review footage of his own past performances in order to improve and, according to some reports, even attempted to instruct Madrid’s record goalscorer how best to shoot from dead-ball situations.

“That’s a lie. At no time did I tell him how he had to take them,” Benitez told Marca.

“The only conversation I had with Cristiano about free-kicks was in Australia, during pre-season. I told him we had analysed, together with my goalkeeper coach, the free-kicks he took when he was at Manchester United and the trajectory of the ball in relation to the position of the wall.

“Our idea then, as Liverpool coaches, was to try to counter their [United’s] free-kicks. But that’s it. At no time, as coach of Madrid, did I tell CR7 how free-kicks should be taken.”

Benitez also went on to provide clarity on the rumor that he asked Luka Modric to stop passing the ball with the outside of his foot.

“I only told him that, of course, when you have a simple pass, you have to hit it with the inside [of your foot] because then it’s easier for your team-mate,” Benitez said. 

“When I played, I also used the outside, but in 10-15-meter passes.

“Anyone who knows me knows this is a lie [that I told Modric to stop]. However, it’s very easy to release lies and make them appear true.”

Rafa Benitez and Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly had a frosty relationship at Real Madrid.

Ronaldo famously laughed off a question about the incident at the time before saying:

“You can always learn from your coaches. Some things can be learned and not others.

“I saw different things from him than from other coaches, but obviously there are things no one can teach you. You’ve either got it or you haven’t.

“You can get something positive from coaches. I’m not only talking about free kicks but how you strike the ball, how you dribble, but that’s their thing.

“Benitez would say ‘ok.’ There are some things you can’t debate with someone else because you think differently, so you just say thanks and that’s it.”