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Cristiano Ronaldo's Shootout PK Was Predictable, Says Bayern Munich Keeper

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 25:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid prepares to take his penalty during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final match between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on April 25, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Christopher HallAnalyst IApril 28, 2012

When Lionel Messi missed a penalty kick that could have sent Barcelona through to the Champions League final, everyone was shocked.

When Cristiano Ronaldo followed suit and had his kick saved in the penalty shootout that eliminated Real Madrid against Bayern Munich, lightning had effectively struck twice.

But Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer says he knew exactly where the Portuguese superstar was going to send his penalty.

Neuer told the German magazine Bild (h/t that Bayern's goalkeeping coach had shown him footage of Ronaldo taking penalties.

And he says it made all the difference.

"I learned that Ronaldo prefers to send the ball low to his left," Neuer said. "In the penalty shootout, I was convinced that he would aim for his favorite spot."

The confidence of hindsight perhaps?

Maybe not.

When Ronaldo converted a penalty early in the first half of the semifinal second leg, Neuer also guessed low and to the left.

On that occasion, Ronaldo went to his right.

In the decisive shootout, however, the Real Madrid man did indeed send his kick low and to the left. Neuer sprang toward the corner and kept it out of goal with a strong right hand.

Another save on the penalty from Kaka, and Sergio Ramos' miss, gave Bayern all the chance they needed to close out the semifinal and advance.

Whether luck or planning, Neuer's save propelled his side to the Champions League final. That will be played in their home arena on May 19th.

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