Cristiano Ronaldo Reportedly 'Thrashed' by Zinedine Zidane in Free-Kick Showdown

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2016

Real Madrid's new French coach Zinedine Zidane (L) and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo take part in a training session at the Valdebebas training ground in Madrid on January 8, 2016.   AFP PHOTO / GERARD JULIEN / AFP / GERARD JULIEN        (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
GERARD JULIEN/Getty Images

Newly appointed Zinedine Zidane has taken a different tack in establishing his seniority at the Bernabeu after reportedly "schooling" poster boy Cristiano Ronaldo in a free-kick showdown.

According to Spanish website Sportyou, the former Galactico saw Ronaldo practising his set pieces and said "watch and learn how to take a free-kick" before challenging his star player to a free-kick shootout. Zidane netted "almost all" of his 10 attempts, while Ronaldo converted just twice (h/t Marca).

Ronaldo's free-kicks aren't as potent as they once were.
Ronaldo's free-kicks aren't as potent as they once were.Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The report added that Ronaldo responded well to the embarrassment, however, putting his ego to one side and even coming close to offering his boss a piggy-back, despite coming off second-best.

It's been just over a fortnight since Zidane was installed as Rafa Benitez's successor at the Real Madrid helm, but signs continue to suggest the players are happier under the former Real Madrid star and France legend.

Free-kick taking has been noted in recent seasons as a declining aspect of Ronaldo's game. Goal's Ben Hayward even suggested the Portuguese could do with asking Barcelona star Lionel Messi for tips at January's Ballon d'Or award ceremony:

Marca's report suggested sacked Real manager Benitez also asked Ronaldo to brush up on his set piece, but the three-time Ballon d'Or winner was "far less receptive" to the Spaniard's requests.

Ben McAleer of WhoScored.com compared the figures of some of Europe's best free-kick takers late in 2015, and Ronaldo was highlighted far down the list, behind Real team-mates James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale:

The Telegraph's Alistair Tweedale backed those statistics up in December and reported that Ronaldo had failed to convert a single one of his 20 free-kick attempts in domestic games this season.

Because of his status at the Bernabeu, however, the 30-year-old may still take the bulk of the dead-ball opportunities when he sees fit, even though there may be superior alternatives in Zidane's squad.

While the manager may share a tighter bond with his players than predecessor Benitez, that also leads to the question of whether he'll feel more comfortable upsetting the status quo by sharing free-kick responsibilities.

Zidane (middle, right) and Ronaldo (middle, left) at Real Madrid training.
Zidane (middle, right) and Ronaldo (middle, left) at Real Madrid training.Paul White/Associated Press

Zidane will have undoubtedly been pleased to see his star forward take his recent free-kick defeat on the chin, showing a humility that isn't always evident in Ronaldo's game, especially under losing circumstances.

His playing days may be far from over, but Real coach Zidane evidently still has a lot to teach even the best in the business, and that tutelage could see Ronaldo return to his former glory.