Top 10 Best Free-Kick Takers of All Time 2022

Best Free Kick-Takers of All Time: In football, it is possible to score goals in different ways, one of which is the direct free kick. Few footballers, however, are able to register on a regular basis. It takes both precision and power combined to get around the wall and beat the goalkeeper.

Best Free Kick Takers of All Time

Some of them, however, have become masters in the art of taking free kicks, and scoring whenever they had the opportunity.

Top 10 Best Free Kick Takers in The World

Here is Our Ranking of The 10 Best Free-Kick Takers of All Time.

10. Rogerio Ceni

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  • Number of free kicks scored: 59

In more than two decades of their career, Rogerio Ceni has scored more than 100 goals for São Paulo. A feat is all the more ridiculous that Ceni is a goalkeeper. All of his goals have come from set-pieces, whether from penalty kicks or free kicks. He is surely the most unexpected player in this ranking of the best free-kick takers in history. 

Rogerio Ceni spent his entire career at Brazilian club Sao Paulo FC, where he played more than 1,200 matches. Among the many trophies he has won, we can mention 3 Brazilian championships, 2 Copa Libertadores, and 2 times the Intercontinental Cup.

Having become a legend in his club, Sao Paulo FC has decided to no longer award the number 1, in tribute to his fantastic career. While it’s not very practical to let a goalkeeper take a free kick, Rogerio Ceni is precise enough to make it a worthwhile risk. 

With 132 goals, he has scored more goals than any other goalkeeper in football history. Ceni will even be called up for selection and established 17 times. In 2002, he is the world champion of Brazil, but will not participate in any match in the competition.

9. Roberto Carlos

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  • Number of free kicks scored: 35

Roberto Carlos is one of the first names that comes to mind when thinking about free kicks. Many players have scored more goals than him, but the Brazilian made history with his incredible free-kick against France in 1997.

A goal that defied the laws of physics and marked the spirits. His presence among the best free-kick takers of all time is therefore well deserved. Beginning his career in Brazil, Roberto Carlos first revealed himself at SE Palmeiras, where he is the champion of Brazil 2 years in a row.

After a short stint at Inter Milan, he joined Real Madrid for 11 seasons. As well as his meteoric rises on his left side, Roberto Carlos scores 25 free-kick goals in total for the Madridistas. During this period he won, among other things, 4 times La Liga and 3 times the Champions League.

With Brazil, Roberto Carlos is also enjoying a very fine international career. A very fast and physical player, endowed with an overpowered ball strike, he is often considered one of the best full-backs in history. Roberto Carlos wins the Copa 
America in 1997 and 1999. He is especially world champion in 2002, after the defeat in the final 4 years earlier. In total, the Brazilian has 125 caps and 11 goals for the Seleçao.

8. Cristiano Ronaldo

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  • Number of free kicks scored: 55

Cristiano Ronaldo is the prototype of the modern striker, combining strength, speed, and skill, not to mention finishing. One of the most formidable weapons available to the Juventus player from Turin is his skill on a free kick from less than 30 meters from goal.

This is one of the assets that allowed him to also be part of the ten best scorers in history. During his incredible club career, CR7 won everything. After his debut at Sporting Portugal, he went through Manchester United and Real Madrid before joining Juventus. 

Among his many trophies, we can notably mention 3 Premier League titles, 2 in the Spanish La Liga, and above all 5 times the Champions League. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 13 free kicks for the Red Devils, one with Juventus, and above all 32 free kicks in 9 seasons at Real. 

With Portugal, Ronaldo also managed to shine on the international stage. After a lost final at Euro 2004, he won Euro 2016 as well as the first Nations League. In 170 selections, he scored 106 goals, 10 of which came from free-kicks.

The Portuguese international has scored a total of 57 direct free-kick goals during his career. He is also the player who has scored the freest kicks in the Champions League, with 12 goals scored. It is therefore logical that CR7 is present in this Top 10 of the best free-kick takers in history.

7. Lionel Messi

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  • Number of free kicks scored: 58

The first footballer to win the Ballon d’Or five times, Lionel Messi is an absolute phenomenon. Since 2008, the Argentinian has been FC Barcelona’s most important man and has delivered exceptional performances for his club and for Argentina.

His immense talent allowed him to be part of the Top 10 of the richest sportsmen in the world. Messi has spent most of his career at FC Barcelona. Like his eternal rival CR7, he has won all the biggest trophies with his club.

He was 10 times the La Liga champion and won the Champions League 4 times. In 778 games played for Barca, Messi scored 672 goals, including a few from free kicks. Since 2021, he has been a Paris Saint-Germain player.  

Excellent in the club, but he does not manage to shine so much in selection. Despite everything, he participated in a World Cup final and 3 Copa America finals and finally won his first major trophy with the Copa America 2021.

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Good in all areas, the Pulga is also good in the exercise of blows frank. With already fifty free kicks scored during his career, Messi has shown that he can be dangerous on set-pieces as well. This is what makes him one of the best free-kick takers in history.

6. David Beckham

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  • Number of free kicks scored: 65

Known for his long millimeter passes, David Beckham was also a great specialist in set-pieces. Despite the fact that he is not a very fast player, he was able to adapt thanks to his technical qualities. English is most definitely among the best free-kick takers of all time.

Beckham is best known for his stints with Manchester United and Real Madrid, two of Europe’s greatest clubs of all time. He was often used for his very precise long game. 

Six-time English champion and winner of the Champions League with the Red Devils, he also won La Liga with Real Madrid. David Beckham will end his career at the Los Angeles Galaxy, and short spells at AC Milan and PSG. 

Beckham was capped 115 times and scored 17 goals for England. His consistency was a major asset and, of course, he often scored when his club or country needed him. Like his memorable free-kick goal, when he equalized for his national team against Greece in the dying moments of the match, helping them qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

5. Ronaldinho

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  • Number of free kicks scored: 66

Ronaldinho is arguably one of the best players of the late 90s and 2000s. One of the skills that made him famous, apart from his amazing dribbling ability, is his ability to score direct free kicks. Ronaldinho is also in our Top 10 best dribblers of all time. Even if his dribbling went down in history, the Brazilian was also formidable from a set-piece. 

After 3 years at Grêmio in Brazil, Ronaldinho joined PSG, where he revealed himself to the whole world. He even becomes one of the best players in the history of PSG. Very quickly, he left for FC Barcelona ​​and will experience the best moments of his career there. Twice Spanish champion, he won the Champions League in particular in 2006.

After spending 3 years at AC Milan, “Ronnie” ended his career in various Brazilian clubs. During his club career, he scored numerous goals from free-kicks, including his hat-trick against Udinese.

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Winner of Copa America in 1999 and world champion in 2002, Ronaldinho also enjoyed a successful international career. One of his most memorable free-kick goals was the one he scored from 40 yards against England to knock them out of the World Cup in 2002. That’s what took him to 5th place in our ranking of the best free-kick takers in the history

4. Zico

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  • Number of free kicks scored: 62

There was a time when the talented Brazilian attacking midfielder Zico was the benchmark when it came to set-pieces. In addition to his excellent vision of the game, his precise passing, and his efficiency in front of the goal, he is one of the best free-kick takers of all time.

He was the one who set the standard and showed how essential they could be in evolving football in the 70s and 80s. Legend of the Brazilian club Flamengo, Zico will have spent 18 seasons there in total. In 731 games, he will have scored more than 500 goals for his club, including many goals from free-kicks.

He notably won the Brazilian championship 4 times and the Copa Libertadores in 1981. The same year, Flamengo beat Liverpool 3-0 and won the Intercontinental Cup. 

Zico was also very successful with the Seleçao. Zicodid not win any major title, despite 52 goals in 72 games, including once again, several from a set-piece. Near the penalty area, the Brazilian only took a mere two-step momentum but could still generate as much power as he felt was needed to send the ball into the net.

3. Michael Platini

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  • Number of free kicks scored: 60

The French playmaker was arguably the greatest European footballer of the 80s. A true footballing legend and a talented player who scored magnificent goals. One of the most important aspects of Platini’s game has been his sensational set-piece skills around the penalty area.

With a delicacy and a perfect curve, the ball rolled over the wall and ended up in the back of the net. It was simple but so effective. Michel Platini began his career with AS Nancy, where he won the D2 championship and the Coupe de France in 1987. After a stint at Saint-Etienne and winning a French championship, he joined Juventus Turin in Italy.

With Bianconeri, he won the Serie A twice and especially the Champions League in 1985. He also finished top scorer in this competition with 7 goals.

In the France team, Platini is also a legend. He is also part of our Top 10 of the best French players of all time. Twice a semi-finalist in the World Cup, he won Euro 1984 with the Blues. Platini is the 2nd top scorer in the history of the France team, with 41 goals scored in 72 games. Without a doubt, we can say that Platini is one of the best free-kick takers in history.

2. Sini Sa Mihajlovic

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  • Number of free kicks scored: 61

Mihajlovic is a controversial figure who has seen a number of red cards and has been involved in various incidents and controversies. But when he placed his ball to take a free kick, the opposing defenders knew they would be in trouble.

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He definitely has his place among the best free-kick takers in history. A very aggressive defender, Mihajlovic was also known for his very powerful shots. After being champion of Yugoslavia with Vojvodina Novi Sad, Mihajlovic joined Red Star Belgrade. 

He will again be crowned champion of Yugoslavia twice, but above all wins the Champions League in 1991 by beating OM in the final. Following stints at AS Roma and Sampdoria, he joined Lazio. Again he knows the success of winning the Serie A in 2000 and twice the Italian Cup. 

During his spell at Lazio, Mihajlovic netted a hat-trick in free-kicks against his former club Sampdoria in a single game. He is still today, with 45 goals, the player who has scored the most free-kicks in the history of Serie A. Mihajlovic 
was capped 62 times by the Yugoslavian national team, and scored 10 goals. He notably participated in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 but was eliminated in the round of 16 and quarter-finals respectively.

His powerful ball strike, however, will not be forgotten. During a World Cup match, his strike hits Jürgen Klinsmann in the stomach, and the German player will be forced out on a stretcher.

1. Juninho

  • Number of free kicks scored: 74

Say Juninho’s name, and the first answer will probably be: “Free kicks”. He is the greatest and most versatile free-kick taker that has ever existed. His ability to fly the ball through the air, spinning in different directions before finding the net, was phenomenal.

Distance made little difference. Whether 20, 30, or 40 yards from goal, the strikes were often of such purity, quality, and ferocity that goalkeepers simply couldn’t do anything about it.

After debuting at the Brazilian club Sport do Recife, Juninho joined Vasco De Gama. He won the Brazilian championship twice there and the Copa Libertadores in 1998. But it was mainly in Lyon that he became known for his formidable free kicks.

Between 2002 and 2008, Juninho was the French champion 7 times in a row with OL. He will end his career back at Vasco da Gama, as well as in Qatar and the United States. 

In selection, he participated in 40 matches and scored 6 goals. Juninho, however, will not be selected for the 2002 World Cup, which Brazil wins. In 2005, he nevertheless won the Confederations Cup with Seleçao. Juninho scored 44 of the 100 goals he scored for Lyon from free kicks. In his entire career, he has scored a total of 77.

He is the player who has scored the most goals from free-kicks in the history of football. It is therefore normal that he is in the first position in our ranking of the best free-kick takers in history. 

Honorable Mentions

Pelé: An extremely complete player, Pelé was also an excellent free-kick taker. From a set-piece, the Brazilian genius scored 70 goals during his career. Pelé is not only one of the best forwards in history, he is also often considered the best player of the 20th century.

His prowess with the Santos club and the Brazil national team made him famous all over the world. His greatest successes are of course his 3 World Cups won in 1958, 1962, and 1970.

Ronald Koeman: Solid defender, Koeman has a very powerful ball strike which allows him to be very dangerous on free kicks.

He scored 60 of his 239 goals from set-pieces. Passed by several major European clubs, including Ajax Amsterdam and FC Barcelona, ​​​​he won many trophies. His most important are the Champions League with Barça in 1992 and Euro 1988 with the Netherlands.

Andrea Pirlo: If an Italian player could have been part of this ranking of the best free-kick takers, it is without a doubt Pirlo.

A legendary playmaker for AC Milan and Juventus, he is a creative midfielder capable of linking defense and attack. It was also his many free-kicks that made him a legend. Italian champion 6 times, Pirlo also won the Champions League twice with AC Milan.

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