Cristiano Ronaldo left red-faced by Eric Dier after tearful Euro 2024 display – Football News

Cristiano Ronaldo left red-faced by Eric Dier after tearful Euro 2024 display

Cristiano Ronaldo has never matched Eric Dier’s accomplishment of scoring a Euros free-kick (Image: Getty)

There have been 24 free-kicks scored in the history of the European Championship, and not one of them was dispatched by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese earned a reputation as a set-piece expert earlier in his career but his poor conversion rate in recent years has sparked widespread criticism.

Ronaldo’s accuracy was called into question again on Monday when he took three free-kicks during Portugal’s Euro 2024 win over Slovenia. One of them was smashed straight at goalkeeper Jan Oblak, while the other two were sent wildly off-target.

All told, Ronaldo has taken 33 free-kicks at European Championships past and present without ever finding the net. Making things worse for the Portugal veteran is the list of unexpected names who have.

Enter: Eric Dier. The former Tottenham centre-back blasted England in front against Russia in 2016, landing him with an achievement which Ronaldo – in a far greater number of attempts – has never been able to match.

“I don’t really know what to say about it,” said Dier after the game, having been chosen to take the free-kick ahead of Dele Alli and Harry Kane. “It was crazy when I scored, it’s a thing that you dream about as a kid really, scoring at a European Championship, especially being on the side where our fans were. It was an unbelievable feeling and one that I won’t forget for a long time.”

Ronaldo will be desperate to put his name on that elusive list when Portugal face France in the quarter-finals on Friday. His old Real Madrid team-mate, Gareth Bale, is on there twice, with both goals coming at Euro 2016.

Portugal v Slovenia: Round of 16 - UEFA EURO 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo missed an extra-time penalty before converting in the shootout (Image: Getty)

Brentford midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard and former Chelsea star Michael Ballack are also among the competition’s free-kick scorers. Ronaldo, despite trying 33 times, is not.

It was a troubled night for the Al-Nassr star in Frankfurt as he and his Portugal team failed to breach Slovenia’s defence in 120 minutes of action. In the first half of extra-time, Ronaldo put himself forward to take a penalty, which was saved by Oblak.

A number of high-quality chances were also spurned by Ronaldo, who became emotional after his penalty miss and had to pick himself back up before scoring in the shootout. Portugal stopper Diogo Costa was the hero, saving all three of Slovenia’s penalties to win the contest, and Ronaldo congratulated him after drying his eyes.

“I could have given my team the advantage, but I didn’t manage it,” said the veteran forward. “I didn’t miss once during the year, [but] when I needed it most, Oblak saved.

“It’s a feeling of sadness and joy at the same time, but the most important thing is the progress. The team deserves congratulations, especially our goalkeeper who made three good saves [in the shootout]. Even the strongest people have their days, I was down and I was sad because the team needed me.”