What is more satisfying to see in a football match than scoring a long-distance free-kick goal?
Football stars have spent years mastering this incredible technique.
We often see outstanding bangers from dead-ball situations from great players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Paulo Dybala, and Neymar.
But WHO are the best free kick takers of all time?
Let’s find out!
Who Has the Most Free Kick Goals?
- Number of free kicks scored: 77
- Teams: Vasco Da Gama, Lyon, Al-Gharafa and Sports Club do Recife
Brazilian Juninho Pernambucano is one of the greatest free-kick takers of all time. He made a name for himself with his magnificent bending free-kicks, which became his trademark.
He is still the number one free-kick specialist for years, with 77 free-kick goals scored.
Juninho had mastered his knuckleball technique and once said he had copied from Marcelinho. He was one of his inspirations and had extraordinary skills with the ball.
- Number of free kicks scored: 70
- Teams: Santos and New York Cosmos
One of the greatest and best-retired football players in history, the brilliant Pele, had a fantastic career.
He scored nearly 1300 goals for his country and clubs, 70 of which were free-kick balls.
Pele led Brazil to three World Cup Championships. But what’s more impressive about him is how he managed to bend the ball, leaving the goalkeepers helpless.
- Number of free kicks scored: 66
- Team: Gremio, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Milan
Ronaldinho is another Brazilian genius on our list of best free-kick takers. He is a two-time FIFA Player of the Year and winner of the European Cup and Copa Libertadores.
He liked to trick the opponents by curling the ball over the wall or drilling underneath the jumping defenders.
During his 17-year career, he scored 266 goals and experienced the most remarkable success playing for Barcelona and Milan.
Did you know that Ronaldinho was one of the football players that served a prison sentence?
- Number of free kicks scored: 65
- Teams: Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, Milan, PSG
Next on the list is the English free-kick specialist David Beckham.
He was a six-time English Champion and a Champions League winner while playing for one of the teams with the most fans, Manchester United.
He scored 129 goals in his career, of which 65 were from a dead-ball situation. Even a movie filmed about his bending free-kicks named “Bend it like Beckham.”
Moreover, the most memorable free-kick goal was the one against Greece. He helped his national team England qualify for the 2002 World Cup.
- Number of free kicks scored: 62
- Teams: Argentinios Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, Newell’s Old Boys.
The famous Argentinian number 10, Diego Maradona, will always be remembered for his style of play.
The “El Pibe de Oro” has scored 62 free-kick goals. The most legendary was the one when playing for Napoli against Juventus in 1985, also called the “Divine Free-Kick.”
Whether it was from the edge of the penalty area, a 25-metre distance, or smashing around the wall, team-mates relied on Maradona for taking the free kicks.
- Number of free kicks scored: 60
- Teams: Barcelona, PSG
The first football player to collect seven Ballon d’Or awards and the most valuable player in Barcelona’s history, Lionel Messi, is a rare phenomenon.
His mind-blowing technique called “sprained ankle” became his trademark.
Messi perfected his free-kick style with the help of the great Maradona. So by now, he has 58 free-kick goals scored, of which 50 for Barcelona and 9 for his national team and 1 for PSG.
However, his number of free-kick goals is only expected to rise in the future and for PSG.
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- Number of free kicks scored: 58
- Teams: Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus
Besides being one of the highest-paid football players, Cristiano Ronaldo is also one of the top free-kick scorers of all time. He is an example of a modern forward combined with enormous pace, skill, and deadly finishing.
Ronaldo’s talent for taking free kicks has brought him to 58 goals from the dead ball situation, mostly scored from far out the box.
He mainly uses his famous knuckleball technique, thus making it difficult for goalies to save the ball. Furthermore, besides taking scoring great free-kick goals, he is also one of the best penalty-takers in football.
- Number of free kicks scored: 60
- Teams: Groningen, Ajax, PSV, Barcelona, Feyenoord
Although he may not be among the best managers of all time, Ronald Koeman has had a lot of success in his managerial career and now he is the current manager of The Netherlands. He earned his nickname “the King of Free Kicks” throughout his playing career.
Besides being one of the best defenders, he is also the highest-scoring defender, netting 239 goals.
With excellent ball technique and range of passing, he played an integral role in Barcelona’s 90s Dream Team.
The most significant free-kick in his career is the one against Sampdoria. It handed Barcelona their first European Cup.
- Number of free kicks scored: 45
- Teams: Brescia, Inter, Reggina, Milan, Juventus, New York City FC
The magnificent Andrea Pirlo made a name for himself as a superb passing midfielder. But what’s more impressive is his free-kick specialty.
Pirlo’s free kicks weren’t very powerful or bending, but the accuracy was hard to defend.
He marked 45 free kicks throughout his career, making him the record holder for most free kicks scored in Serie A.
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- Number of free kicks scored: 35
- Teams: Uniao Sao Joao, Palmeiras, Inter, Real Madrid, Fenerbahçe, Corinthians, Anzhi, Delhi Dynamos
Last but not least on our list of best free-kick takers is the Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos.
He was rocketing powerful free-kicks over 100 miles per hour, so tough for any goalkeeper to intervene.
During his 24-year career, he had scored 35 free-kick goals. So 25 of them while playing 11 seasons for one of the most hated football clubs, Real Madrid.
But the goal against France in 1997 was something on another level, defying the laws of physics. It guaranteed him a place on the list of the greatest in football history.
Not everyone has the talent to get the ball around the wall straight into the net with such precision and power. So, we singled out these best free-kick takers of all time as the most remarkable ones.
So, it’s up to us to see if today’s stars can overcome these outstanding records in the future.