This is the up-to-date list of 11 great players with the most free-kick goals in football history.
In line, these players are free-kick specialists. Would I call it a special talent because not every player has got this quality?
Being a free-kick specialist comes with extraordinary skills that blend with accuracy. However, there are different skills to take a free kick which have seen many of these players do.
Some love to curl the ball to the edge of the goal post, while some love to hit the ball in a vertical line direction.
I’m yet to see an ugly free-kick goal in football which I believe I would never see because these kinds of goals are beautiful. I can express more of my love to see a goal from a free-kick spot so, let’s jump into the topic.
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Top 11 Incredible Players With Most Free Kick Goals In Football History
- Victor Antonio Legrotaglie
- David Beckham
- Lionel Messi
- Rogerio Ceni
- Ronald Koeman
- Cristiano Ronaldo
While some of these players are still actively playing, some have called it a quit.
Let’s get to it.
1. Juninho ( 75 Free kicks Goals )
Let me just nail this, Juninho Pernambucano is the greatest free-kick taker of all time. Juninho’s ability to bend the ball with precision and unleash unstoppable strikes is incredible.
As of 2012, Juninho had scored a staggering minimum of 75 free-kick goals in professional football. It was during his time at Lyon that Juninho’s star truly mounted as a free-kick specialist.
In his eight seasons with the French club, he netted an impressive 44 direct free-kick goals out of his overall tally of 100. He possessed a unique technique, using an instep striking method that minimized ball rotation.
This technique has since been used by players like Cristiano Ronaldo.
Differing from the conventional curled free-kick style popularized by the likes of David Beckham, Juninho’s method enabled him to be a threat from greater distances.
Considering the conversation rate ( 77 times ), it is arguable that no other free-kick specialist in football history matches the mastery of Juninho Pernambucano.
2. Pele ( 70 Free kick Goals )
When discussing free-kick specialists, Pele’s name is not often the first to be mentioned, but his impact and raw power cannot be underestimated.
He scored an impressive tally of 70 free-kick goals with his ability to strike the ball fiercely.
While not known for introducing techniques, Pele compensated with force by bending the ball in both directions.
3. Victor Antonio Legrotaglie ( 66 Free kick Goals )
Victor Antonio Legrotaglie is an unsung hero of free-kick brilliance, and he never gets the same level of recognition as Juniho and Pele, but he proved his free-kick mastery, scoring 66 free-kick goals.
His free-kick prowess speaks volumes, with a record surpassing even those of his more celebrated Argentine friends, Maradona, and Messi.
He never played for any European giants even when teams like Juventus, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid came calling, he chose to remain in Argentina.
However, Legrotaglie’s free-kick mastery places him among the top players with free-kick goals.
4. Ronaldinho ( 66 Free kick Goals )
Ronaldinho is arguably one of the top free-kick specialists in football history, scoring 66 free-kick goals. In his illustrious career, Ronaldinho often made defenders look foolish with his skills.
He had scored many unforgettable free-kick goals. Ronaldinho’s free kicks were spectacular, encompassing a perfect blend of power, fizz, curl, and technique.
One of his most memorable moments came in a World Cup match against England, where he launched a pile-driver of a free-kick past David Seaman.
Spotting Seaman off his line, Ronaldinho bypassed the wall and took advantage of the English keeper’s positioning. The Brazilian magician uses a wide range of trickery and technique in his free-kicks, leaving opposing teams in guessing games.
Whether it was curling the ball over the wall or drilling it underneath the swarm of jumping defenders, Ronaldinho’s style is sweet.
His cunning and anticipation were obvious when he confided in Rivaldo after the match, revealing that he had targeted Seaman’s tendency to step forward at free-kicks, aiming to catch him off guard.
5. David Beckham ( 65 Free kicks Goals )
David Beckham is one of the few Englishmen who mastered the art of scoring from free-kicks. While he is not a prolific scorer, Beckham’s ability to convert free kicks was exceptional.
The former Manchester United and England legend entertained them with his accurate strikes. For his nine Premier League seasons, Beckham netted an impressive 18 direct free-kick goals in 265 appearances.
His reputation as a dead-ball specialist was equal to his crossing ability. Beckham’s free kicks possessed pace, curl, and accuracy.
At the point of contact, his foot was almost perpendicular to the ball’s path, infusing it with the fizz and spin. This technique allowed the ball to curve over the wall, and dip back into the net.
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6. Maradona ( 62 Free kick Goals )
The late legend, Maradona used to hit the ball very hard whenever he was at the free-kick spot, registering several crucial goals from dead-ball situations.
He amassed a total of 62 goals from free-kicks in his career. One particular moment in November 1985 announced Maradona’s free-kick genius.
In a match between Napoli and Michel Platini’s Juventus, the Argentine icon produced a free-kick goal from inside the box that I can not explain.
It wasn’t just sheer power that drove the ball into the net; it was a display of true footballing perfection. Maradona’s goal in Naples, securing a 1-0 victory for his team, remains one of the most remarkable moments in football history.
Even the former Juventus goalkeeper, Tacconi, declared it as Maradona’s finest-ever goal, surpassing even his famous solo effort against England at the 1986 World Cup.
Reflecting on that momentous goal, Tacconi expressed that saving it would have warranted a medal. Maradona’s ability to execute such an impossible goal was out of football.
7. Zico ( 62 Free kick Goals )
Zico is regarded as one of the world’s best players of the late 1970s and early 80s.
And with his exceptional ability to bend the ball in all directions, Zico’s name is among the list of the greatest playmakers and free-kick takers in the game.
As stated on goal.com, he holds the honor of being the player who has scored the most goals from direct free kicks in football history. Zico’s skill allowed him to create magical moments on the pitch.
You see, his ability to generate movement and spin on the ball helped him score stunning goals from set-piece opportunities. Apart from his free-kick brilliance, Zico’s overall playmaking abilities were second to none.
His vision, passing accuracy, and technical finesse made him a complete playmaker, influencing matches with his creativity and intelligence.
8. Lionel Messi ( 61 Free kick Goals )
Lionel Messi has consistently displayed his ability in all aspects of the game with perfection.
While free kicks weren’t initially his specialty, the Argentine superstar’s evolution in this area has been sensational. When Messi became Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer in 2012, he had just five free-kick goals to his name.
However, once he mastered the art, he became a force to be reckoned with. He can curl the ball into either corner of the net, outsmarting even the best goalkeepers.
His creativity makes him one of the best set-piece takers in the modern game. The greatest naturally strikes the ball cleanly, imparting the perfect combination of power and spin.
On 21 June 2016, Messi added another accolade to his extraordinary career.
With a gem of a free-kick against the United States in the Copa América Centenario, he broke Argentina’s top-scoring record, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta’s previous mark of 54 goals.
This particular free-kick was hailed as one of the best scored by Messi.
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9. Rogerio Ceni ( 61 Free kick Goals )
As a goalkeeper, Ceni achieved a remarkable feat, scoring 131 goals throughout his 23-year career, due to his accuracy in free kicks and penalties.
On 20 August 2006, Ceni netted his 63rd goal, breaking the record for the most goals by a goalkeeper. In a match against Cruzeiro, he scored a powerful free kick after denying the opposition’s penalty.
Ceni went on to score another goal from the spot in the same game, raising his tally to an astonishing 64 goals. In addition, Ceni’s skills between the posts were impressive.
He possessed agility, shot-stopping ability, and excellent distribution. However, his achievements as a goalscoring goalkeeper redefined the role of a goalkeeper.
10 Ronald Koeman ( 60 Free kick Goals )
Ronald Koeman was a versatile player on the field who mostly established himself as one of the best attacking central defenders of all time.
Renowned for his vision, technical ability, and eye for goal, Koeman’s long-range passing and shooting prowess from a distance was a plus. He holds the record for the top-scoring defender in football history and Barcelona’s highest-scoring defender.
He was nicknamed the “King of free kicks,” as he got a unique set-piece expertise that made him one of the players with the most free-kick goals. He was also an accurate penalty taker.
The Guardian’s Rob Smyth described his technique, noting that while he could deliver a powerful strike like a sledgehammer, he was also skillful at shorter-range curlers.
He knows how to deceive a defensive wall. However, with 60 official free-kick goals to his name, Koeman’s proficiency was extraordinary for a defender.
11. Cristiano Ronaldo ( 51 Free kick Goals )
You can not talk about football, and not mention Ronaldo, he is one of the most prolific goal-scorers in football history with the ability to find the back of the net in any position.
The Portuguese superstar has also displayed great skill when it comes to taking free kicks, with a trademark pose that defines his approach.
He is one of the most dangerous free-kick takers ever due to his technique. Even Sir Alex Ferguson once commented that a free kick from Ronaldo against Portsmouth in 2008 was the best he had ever seen.
Ronaldo also boasts the record for the most free-kick goals in the UEFA Champions League competition. With Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Juventus, he scored 12 free-kick goals in European competition.
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Free-kick goals are a thing of beauty, and these players have demonstrated their mastery of the art.
Each of these players has their unique style of taking free kicks, some are used to curling the ball to the edge of the goal post, while some love hitting the ball hard with accuracy in a vertical line direction.
In the history of the game, only Pele is closer to Juniho as the player with the most free-kick goals in football history, but do you see any active playing surpassing Juniho or Pele free kicks goals?
Kenny is an experienced blogger and sports writer who majors in soccer articles amongst other trending niches. Do well to stay updated with his updates and that of his team of editors on Readsoccer.