Cristiano Ronaldo vs Bruno Fernandes: Man Utd's dilemma over new penalty and free-kick takers with CR7 miles WORSE

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Bruno Fernandes: Man Utd's dilemma over new penalty and free-kick takers with CR7 miles WORSE

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER has a huge dilemma to sort out: Who will take Manchester United's penalties and free-kicks this season?

Bruno Fernandes has been the main man from 12 yards since arriving at Old Trafford.


But after completing the £19.7million purchase to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will want to be top dog.

United won no fewer than 11 Premier League penalties last season – only Leicester had more on 12 – and converted ten of them.

In 2019-20, they scored ten of their record 14 and, in 2018-19, nine of 12 – the most pens won by the 20 teams in both campaigns.

However, if Solskjaer wants the best chance of scoring from the spot this term, he will choose Fernandes.

In stats since 2017, Fernandes has taken 26 and scored 25 of them at a success rate of 96.15 per cent with his hop-skip-jump technique.

That includes 21 from 22 in normal time for United – 49 per cent of his 43 goals for the club – and scoring a staggering 13 last term.

 

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His one blot on the copybook came when Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow saved his effort last October.

He actually missed against Paris Saint-Germain three days later and against West Brom but they had to be retaken – and he made no mistake at the second time of asking.

And Fernandes' record far exceeds that of his compatriot Ronaldo.

The 36-year-old returning legend is far from flawless when it comes to penalties, managing to put away 26 of his 31 over the same time period,or just 83.87 per cent.

However, the Portugal captain makes sure he takes them when playing for his country – Bruno does not get a look in.

At Euro 2020, Ronaldo scored all three of his spot-kicks – one against Hungary and both to secure a 2-2 draw with France.

Of his 118 goals for the Red Devils between 2003 and 2009, CR7 bagged 17 times from the spot.

It is a similar tale comparing the pair regarding free-kicks, too.

Fernandes boasts five goals from 58 attempts (8.62 per cent) since 2017 but Ronaldo is on just ONE from 67 (1.49 per cent).

That solo strike, against Torino in July 2020, was his first direct free-kick scored in 43 efforts for Juventus.

Across his career, though, Ronnie does have 56 to his name – including that famous belter against Portsmouth in 2008 – for club and country.

However, he was overtaken by great rival Lionel Messi in that department over the summer when the now-PSG superstar netted for Argentina at the Copa America.

Despite the significantly inferior record, though, ex-United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Ronaldo is the new penalty taker at Old Trafford.

He told his FIVE YouTube channel: "I think Bruno gives up penalties but doesn’t relinquish free-kicks and corners.

"The free-kicks around the box, he’s going to be on them I think. I think his record demands that he should do that.

"Ronaldo takes the penalties, 100 per cent.

"They agree to give him the penalties but I think free-kicks around the box, Bruno’s just wiping the ball down and putting it down.

"I think Bruno sees the bigger picture, that this guy can get us over the line to win us trophies.

"If that means my percentage of goal involvements goes down but he gets his hands on a big trophy, he’d take that all day long."

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