When a player charges towards the opposition’s penalty area and just yards away from a shooting chance, the ref blows a whistle for a foul. Then the ball is carefully placed 20+ yards outside the box. Opponent’s goalkeeper gets their wall of players organized and positioned all. This time another team need to sorts out who will take the kick and how they’ll try to have scored.
This kind of scenario has played itself out countless times in the various Soccer leagues. Probably we all know that more likely than not the player will smash the ball against the wall or blaze the ball high over the goalpost. Statistically, the chances of scoring a free kick are slim. Sometimes, when it works it can be an absolute thing of beauty, more specifically a piece of art.
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The team doesn’t just let anyone take a free kick when the chance arises for them to score. Most sides have a few players who have demonstrated the ability. These players need to consistently combine power with accuracy in an effort to get the ball over (sometimes around) the wall and on target obviously. In a few recent years, certain players have made a name for themselves as great free kick takers. There are some legendary free kick takers in soccer history. Roberto Carlos, Marcelinho Carioca, David Beckham, Zico, Juninho and Michel Platini are some of those greats who could more often execute the free kick past the goalkeepers.
What made such players special was that they could make the ball do things exceptionally. Most importantly, they could get the ball to curve, even swerve or dip with such precision it seemed a magic trick difficult to follow. Definitely, they could also give the ball more than enough power to fly into the net before the keeper could reach before goal.
Top 10 great free kick takers in soccer:
This list does not contain the names of Carlos, Juninho or Beckham. Here we are actually trying to make a discussion about the great and best active free kick takers in soccer. We are expecting a blend of youth and experienced veterans those who are capable and proven free kick takers of this generation.
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Of course the issue is subjective and by limiting it to the Top 10, some players of your choice must be missed. Still, let’s have try, if we could have selected one of these best active free kick takers in soccer world.
Club: FC Barcelona
National Team: Brazil
Probably the most popular and most sensational marketed players in world soccer of his generation. Neymar has definitely made a name for himself in both La Liga team Barcelona and the Brazil National Football Team. During his time with Santos, Barcelona and the Brazilian national team, the best free kick taker has demonstrated his lethality in and around the box.
So many memorable highlights to choose from but in terms of free kicks perhaps the strike against Belarus in 2012 Olympics and the goal against Panama during a pre-World Cup friendly this June demonstrate the accuracy and technique Neymar can provide.
No doubt, what worries La Liga and International keepers the most. Most obviously this very skilled player is still just beginning his career. Definitely he has many more years to work his magic. Neymar is at number 10 of this best active free kick takers list.
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09. Yaya Toure
Club: Manchester City
National Team: Ivory Coast
Yaya Toure is more famous as Manchester City’s midfield powerhouse. The Ivorian is usually dominating the midfield and helping to coordinate City’s attacks. And when talking about free kick takers, Toure has steadily developed a reputation for being able to find the back of the net more often.
This past season in the Premier League, he scored four excellent goals from free kick times. Toure has demonstrated the ability to get a ball over the wall and make it drop very quickly. Yaya Toure is currently considered as the 9th of the best active free kick takers in world football.
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08. Steven Gerrard
Club: Liverpool FC
National Team: England
Steven Gerrard can be said as at the twilight of his career. Captaining the Liver FC, Gerrard has led his team to a Champions League title and several domestic cup titles. Over his club and international career, he has scored in excess of 170 goals. Of course some of them were extreme beautiful and notable free kicks of all time. Probably some of the best free kicks that the English football has ever watched.
Gerrard may not be scoring from free kicks as much recently. No one can deny his power and accuracy when standing over a set piece. Some of his best goals includes against Arsenal and Aston Villa in 2007-2008 season. Steven Gerrard is at number 8 in the list of top 10 best active free kick takers 2015.
07. Gareth Bale
Club: Real Madrid
National Team: Wales
Of course, Gareth Bale developed his name while playing for EPL side Tottenham Hotspur. Being known as a famous free kick taker in the world, the Welshman’s first notable strike came against North London rivals Arsenal at White Hart Lane. Over the following years Bale developed a reputation for having a powerful free kick technique which seemed to get a little deadlier each time. Though all these were not produced that much accurate.
In 2013 Bale moved to Spanish giants Real Madrid. Another free kick specialist Cristiano Ronaldo being already there, the media played up tensions between the two over free kick duties sometimes. But Bale continued to show his skill. He demonstrated his best with an absolute stunner against Galatasaray in the Champions League 2013. Gareth bale is the 7th best free kick taker we can count.
06. Luis Suarez
Club: FC Barcelona
National Team: Uruguay
It’s very unfortunate that Luis Suarez seems to be in the media spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Before the Uruguayan developed a taste for Serbian and Italian defenders. Suarez also boasted an impressive free kick technique which has caught out more than one keeper.
Last season, he demonstrated his scoring ability from distance with an impressive goal against Hull on a very special day. Perhaps more impressive is his ability to curve a low shot around the wall and into the bottom corner. He also had demonstrated against EPL rivals Everton and Manchester City these techniques. Luis Suarez is at number 6 of top 10 best active free kick takers in the world.
Club: Queretaro Fc
National Team: Brazil
Ronaldo is probably near the end of his career and no longer in the spotlight. But Ronaldinho still deserves a place on this list of best free kick takers. Most people probably know ‘Gaucho’ from his time at Barcelona. He demonstrated that he could score from almost anywhere in almost any situation from 2003 to 2008. In terms of free kicks, he always had gone over, under or around the defensive wall making any attempt to block the kick virtually pointless each time.
Now with Queretaro FC, Ronaldinho has shown the free kick touch has not left him totally. In September 2013 he scored from two free kicks in the same match against Fluminese. So, we are still counting Ronaldinho, and at number 5 to be noticed as one of the specialist free kick takers of our generation.
04. Lionel Messi
Club: FC Barcelona
National Team: Argentina
Probably the most famous clips of Lionel Messi on a pitch involve him zig-zagging his way through a maze of defenders. And then unleashing a shot which bulges the back of the net. Football fans of this time, always seems like Messi highlights are ‘merely’ repetitive coverage of the diminutive Argentine making the opposition look foolish.
Messi can also score free kicks and is quite good at it. During the group stage of the 2014 World Cup, Barcelona superstar struck against Nigeria with a curling 25-yard shot which left the keeper helpless at it. The 21st century football sensation Lionel Messi is considered as the 4th of the best active free kick takers for 2014/2015.
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03. Cristiano Ronaldo
Club: Real Madrid
National Team: Portugal
Some say that Messi and Ronaldo are tied as considering them as best free kick takers. But here in our list we are keeping this Real Madrid superstar ahead of Messi, at least for this single issue of free kick. This Portuguese forward steadily rose to fame during his time at Manchester United. Ronaldo developed his trademark technique for free kicks which involved striking the ball directly with the tip of his boot to cause the ball to swerve. This was almost unpredictable towards the post.
The 2013 World Soccer Player of the Year has scored some sensational goals from free kicks over recent years. Perhaps his best were the 2009 Champions League semi-final strike against Arsenal. Again in 2009 Champions League blast against Marseille in his first year with Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly the 3rd best free kick taker in the world 2015.
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02. Francesco Lodi
Club: Parma FC
National Team: Italy
Italian Francesco Lodi has developed a reputation as one of the best free kick takers over his 14+ year’s soccer career. Currently with Parma FC, Lodi has spent his entire career in Italy’s Serie A. This playmaking midfielder has actually been more effective than most when it comes to free kicks.
In recent years, Lodi has used his side-foot curling technique to leave keepers rooted to the ground. Then the ball just had to fly into the back of the net. He scored from 5 free kicks in 2012/ 2013 season. He is also posted one of the highest conversion rates for free kick takers. And unbelievably that is more than anyone else in this list.
01. Andrea Pirlo
Club: Juventus FC
National Team: Italy
If we can go on about all the club and individual awards Andrea Pirlo has won over his career, we definitely have to figure out that this little space for our article is never enough for just considering them. Undoubtedly Pirlo is best known for his decade-long free kicks at AC Milan in Serie A. and now with the Juventus side he is still astonishing his spectators all around the world.
The 35-year-old has been plying his trade at Juventus. He has scored over 40 free kicks in his career with more than two dozen of those coming in Serie A. Recently against England in the World Cup 2014 Brazil, didn’t score but impressed keeper Joe Hart. The England international was spotted praising Pirlo for his shot after the final whistle..
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