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In this commercial soccer player Ronaldinho pulls on a new pair of boots, juggles the ball and then manages to bounce the ball off the crossbar of the goal at a reasonable distance and the ball returns to his feet.

There was plenty of debate at the time on whether the add was a fake or not.

What I would like to know, has there been anyone since who has been able to reproduce this trick, even if it's just once? To get the ball to bounce off a crossbar at a reasonable distance and have it return within a reasonable distance?

  • Hmm.. I guess you need two factors for that - initial ball velocity must be very high and you have to hit the crossbar just right. Maybe top players like Ronaldinho are trained to such extent they can achieve that. – sharptooth Apr 7 '11 at 5:31
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    While I can't cite a specific example of this being done under test conditions, it's certainly something you see occasionally if you watch enough football games. Therefore, it's feasible that it could be done successfully once, given enough attempts. (Even I could have a crack at it!) The chances of repeating it two or three times with successive kicks, however, as in the Nike commercial, must be astronomically remote. – Snubian Apr 7 '11 at 5:36
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    My problem with it is the small scale interactions at play, that could easily ruin the attempt. The width of the crossbar and the angle and position at which the ball strikes it are crucial - just an inch either way would send the ball off at the wrong angle. For me, this has to be fake. – Snubian Apr 7 '11 at 5:40
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    If he could kick a ball a minute, he'd have over 100 tries in less than 2 hours.... – Paul Apr 7 '11 at 5:44
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    If he was that good, he'd never miss the goal. Not possible. Once, by luck, yes. Three times, no way. – Lennart Regebro Apr 7 '11 at 6:53
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Here's the text of a Norwegian article that purports to talk a director of communications at Nike about the commercial. I can't really speak to the veracity of this article, though, and the title is certainly deceptive.

Ronaldinho admits cheating

By Ole Kristian Strøm

Published 18/11/1905 - 6:49, modified 11/18/2005

Ronaldinho himself, according to the BBC and several other sites, claiming that everything is authentic.

In the commercial for a new Nike soccer shoes nullify the Barcelona star, apparently the laws of physics.

He bangs the ball on goal, hitting the crossbar - and the ball comes back to the Brazilian, which dampens it, and continues to perform tricks.

Four times in a row.

"It's a pity to reveal, but where he hit the crossbar four times, we've been playing around with some digital solutions," said Vita Clausen, director of communications in northern Europe for Nike.

Got help

"If there is a football player who can do something like that, it's Ronaldinho. He is a wonderful and magical footballer. But in reality, a man inside the line and kicking the ball back to Ronaldinho. But he actually hit the crossbar twice in a row while shooting," said Clausen to dr.dk.

Nike has since cut off the man, so we only see Ronaldinho as juggling. The debate has raged on the Internet. Ronaldinho himself has on several websites cited in the following:

  • It's true. It is not cheating. I usually tend to shoot the ball so against the crossbar in the course of training. I only did what I usually do.

  • Is impossible

  • It was not meant that there would be no advertising. It would just be something that people could enjoy on the Internet.

But then it that is so, and this I am proud of.

Zinedine Zidane has been quoted as saying that "this is impossible."

Promotional clip is as follows:

After trick their way to the middle of the 16-yard box, Ronaldinho bangs the ball towards goal. It hit the crossbar, is in a beautiful arc back to the Brazilian, which dampen the ball and continues with no tricks.

Then again, he sends off a rocket on goal, the ball hit the left crossbar - and goes back to Ronaldinho, without having touched the ground.

How's also a third and fourth time.

Here's the source of the article, from Denmark's national channel.

That is as close to any official word on the commercial I've found. It seems to me it would be easy to film the player shooting the shots and have a digitally removed person throwing different balls back to simulate the catches. That would also explain why the ball does come back to him a bit quickly. So if the video was trickery to start with, there'd be little point in anyone trying to replicate it without trickery.

(And WOW... The new contextual translating Google does is pretty amazing. There are still some rough spots, but... WOW.)

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