Ronaldo's gone and the ramifications are more than most realize.
While pondering about how Ronaldo's departure could help some players, I started thinking about a role that, until now, was unconditionally Ronaldo's... free kick taker.
The question is, who takes them for Manchester United now?
Well, the first candidate is Hargreaves, who scored THAT goal against Arsenal. On top of it, he scored another earlier that season against Fulham and many more in his Bayern days.
Unfortunately there are a couple problems with Owen's taking freekicks.
First, there's the fact that he may not actually be able to play until around January. Depending on which stories you believe, the earliest seems to be late September.
Second, while he is absolutely fantastic at getting the ball up and over the wall allowing him to be accurate at close range, he doesn't usually get the power neccesary to strike from distance.
Of course, he could cross the ball from distance as he is a great crosser, but that's not what the question is about.
If not Hargreaves, second would be Rooney. Perhaps it's a bit surprising Rooney hasn't taken more freekicks as he scored with one on his debut (a great one at that).
Rooney would be a good choice because he could get the accuracy for close range, and he has some of the strongest shots in the world (ask Frank Lampard). Distance shots wouldn't be too big of an issue.
Then there is Nani. If Nani is given the chance to prove himself in a steady run of games, he could find himself a regular, and thus the free kick taker.
He is more like Ronaldo, able to dip and move the ball in very interesting ways. He could probably be a great freekick taker if given time.
So these are probably the three most likely. There are others able to take them, but I doubt SAF would allow Rafael, Carrick, or Vidic to take them. Let me know your thoughts.