Top 20 Best Free Kick Takers In World Football

Every top club needs a free kick specialist to change the outcome of a match with a single assist or goal from a dead ball situation. A win or draw can be rescued with one kick of a ball, an act they may seem meager in isolation, but can be vital in the context of an entire season or tournament.

There are plenty of players in world football, usually strikers, who can pick their spot in the back of the net from open play, and yet are unable to translate such accuracy to a dead ball situation. Think of Diego Costa, Fernando Torres or Radamel Falcao; none of these men have earned the right to assume set piece duties at any of their clubs despite boasting some of the tremendous goalscoring records in recent history.

What’s more, it’s also not uncommon for a burly centre back with a cannon of a foot to step up and take a free kick from 35 yards, but there’s more to dead ball situations than simply putting your foot through the ball and hoping it whistles into the top corner. Brazilian defender Alex is a prime example of such a player — the AC Milan star is certainly a useful option to have in reserve, but he’s not the man one would entrust to curl the ball around a six-man wall from just outside the penalty box.

The art of whipping a football over a defensive wall, inside either post, under the crossbar and past the goalkeeper is a technique mastered by only a handful of players in every generation.

Here are the top 20 best free kick takers in world football.

20 Xabi Alonso 

19 Willian 

18 Steven Gerrard 

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

17 Luis Suarez 

16 Aleksandar Kolarov 


15 Lionel Messi 

14 Yohan Cabaye 


13 Miralem Pjanic 


12 Yaya Toure 


11 Keisuke Honda 


10 David Alaba 

9 Rafael van der Vaart 

8 Marco Reus 

7 Yoann Gourcuff 


6 Wesley Sneijder 


5 Christian Eriksen


4 Zlatko Junuzovic 

3 Sejad Salihovic 


2 Hakan Calhanoglu 


1 Andrea Pirlo 

Andrea Pirlo is the original set piece master. Many of the players featured on this list are rightly considered among the best free kick specialists of this generation, but none have been capitalizing on dead ball opportunities for as long as the classy Italian. Pirlo is predominantly classified as a deep-lying playmaker, renowned for his peerless long and short range ball distribution. Watching him loft a 40-yard pass onto the toe of a teammate is delightful, but his true swagger is made evident by his dead ball exploits. At 36-years-old, the Juventus midfielder is the most stylish and arguably the most formidable sharpshooter in the business when it comes to scoring direct free kicks from any range.

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Top 20 Best Free Kick Takers In World Football