Juventus and the Kick That Changed Everything

Cristiano Ronaldo

By Qusai Hussain

With only a few nights left in Madrid, I knew the Champions League second leg game between Real Madrid and Juventus was my last chance to see Real Madrid at the renowned Santiago Bernabéu. I had no intention of returning to the United States until I had seen Cristiano Ronaldo live in action. I needed to see for myself what it meant to be the best player in the world. However, with ticket prices at an all time high, the outcome of the first leg game in Italy, and the score differential between both teams, would determine the ticket prices for the second leg game. Thus, given the significance of the first leg game, I watched very closely.

In the 62nd minute, a Real Madrid defender delivered the ball downfield to Ronaldo. There were only two people between him and the goal: a Juventus defender and legendary goalie Gianluigi Buffon. But because of miscommunication, both Juventus players collided and failed to intercept the ball, leaving the ball untouched and rolling straight towards the goal. With Ronaldo in possession and in the edge of the penalty box, the stadium grew louder, not with excitement, but rather with fear and trepidation. There could only be one outcome and it was not a pleasant sight. Without a clear shot, Ronaldo passed the ball to a Real Madrid forward for a straight kick—a golden opportunity for a goal. However, with his agility and speed, Buffon blocked the ball, defending the net with all of his dignity. It was one of the greatest blocks of the tournament but was soon forgotten and overshadowed.

Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal intercepted the ball after Buffon’s block, and chipped it across the field to Ronaldo. Without hesitation or an inch of doubt, Ronaldo threw his body backward up into the air, and before falling back to the ground, he moved his right ball-striking leg in front of the other leg, creating a scissor-like formation. He overhead kicked the airborne ball rearward in midair. A magnificent acrobatic performance.

Buffon was awestruck, intensely concentrated on Ronaldo and the ball like a spectator in the stands. His legs and hands were stationary. The only thing that moved were his eyes, which followed the movement of the ball from Ronaldo’s right foot into the goal. It is unclear whether Buffon avoided blocking the kick out of respect or because he simply could not.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane reacted in disbelief, resting his hand on his forehead. There were good goals, great goals and then truly magnificent ones, that could only be executed with a detailed script and perfect planning. But Ronaldo did not have a script and Zidane was suddenly reminded of his famous volley kick against Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League final in 2002. Zidane saw himself in Ronaldo’s goal and they both shared this unique moment.

Video Caption: Zidane’s famous goal against Bayer Leverkusen in the UCL Final 2002

A Juventus defender picked up his arms, facing his palms upwards out of vulnerability after the goal. There was not any defender, on Juventus or any other team, that was going to stop that ball. His reaction added a comedic touch to the goal. [1]

The colosseum of Juventus fans emphasized the splendor of the goal. Their disheartened reaction  was quickly followed by a standing ovation, effectively placing scorn and bitterness to the side. And suddenly at that moment, there was a small but special connection that developed between Ronaldo and Juventus supporters. When later recounting on the incident, Ronaldo admitted that such a moment had never occurred in his career and that the ovation would always “stay with [him]”. [2]

Coincidentally, the ovation served Juventus well, as Ronaldo now wears their jersey.


[1] “Cristiano Ronaldo Bicycle Kick: Night Juventus Stadium Rose to Applaud Real Madrid Forward – BBC Sport.” BBC News, BBC, www.bbc.com/sport/football/43636379.

[2] Goal. “Cristiano Ronaldo News: Juventus Star Admits Overhead Kick Ovation Helped Bring Him to Serie A.” Goal.com, Goal.com, 22 Aug. 2018, www.goal.com/en-us/news/cristiano-ronaldo-admits-overhead-kick-ovation-helped-bring/smpn57e8dbg1k51ytsxim0mk.

Other References:

[1] Joseph, Andrew. “Cristiano Ronaldo Sends Soccer World into a Frenzy with Beautiful Bicycle-Kick Goal.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 3 Apr. 2018, ftw.usatoday.com/2018/04/cristiano-ronaldo-bicycle-kick-goal-video-real-madrid-juventus-champions-league-reaction-football.

[2] Mello, Igor. “Ronaldo’s Champions League Bicycle Kick Goal for Real Madrid Earns Praise from Juventus Fans.” CBSSports.com, CBS Sports, 3 Apr. 2018, www.cbssports.com/soccer/news/ronaldos-champions-league-bicycle-kick-goal-for-real-madrid-earns-praise-from-juventus-fans/.

[3] “Ronaldo’s Bicycle Kick Stunner Helps Real Madrid down Juventus in Champions League.” ABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 3 Apr. 2018, www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-04/ronaldo-scores-from-bicycle-kick-in-real-madrid-rout/9616370.

[4] Cristiano Ronaldo’s Bicycle Kick as You’ve Never Seen It Before.” Onefootball English, 19 Dec. 2018, en.onefootball.com/%F0%9F%93%B8-cristiano-ronaldos-bicycle-kick-as-youve-never-seen-it-before/.