Top 5 free kick specialists (videos)

For the final top-five of the series, it would be fitting to finish with a speciality that so often wins games right at the death. While some players, such as Roberto Carlos or Ronald Koeman have become famous for their great free-kicks, this list is focusing on those who hit the net as a matter of routine and pose a real danger every time they stand over the ball. Agree or not, please comment below.

5. Rogerio Ceni

The most prolific goalkeeper ever, Ceni is also one of the world’s greatest free-kick takers, scoring 111 goals from free kicks and penalties in a long career. Ceni is a former Brazil international, and runs up to take a free-kick before sprinting back to his goal.

At the age of 40 Ceni is gradually winding down his playing legendry career, and may retire at the end of the season after making a grand total of 1073 appearances for Sao Paulo. In the 2005 season the goalkeeper scored 10 goals in 39 games, which isn’t a bad haul for a Premiership striker.

This video was his 100th career goal.

4. Gareth Bale

The free-kick has always been a weapon of Gareth Bale, but this season the Welshman has perfected the art in winning the Player of the Year award. Bale is clinical from 18-20 yards out and always looks like scoring whenever he is stood over the ball. Bale can make the ball dip at impossible angles, to power past the goalkeeper.

3. Andrea Pirlo

More of a finesse technique compared to the power of Bale, Pirlo can bend free-kicks in from impossible angles with the deftest of touches from his right foot. Still going strong at the age of 34, Pirlo continues to win games for club side Juventus, who signed the dainty midfielder from Milan. Pirlo is still vitally important to Italy as this free-kick against Croatia from last summer’s Euro’s showed. This video really shows the extreme angles Pirlo is able to score from.

2. Alessandro Del Piero

Although Del Piero was never as prolific as some of his peers, but his graceful touch and free-kick ability helped him to gain legendary status. Alex played well into his thirties at the highest level for Juventus, with his ball skills more than making up for a lack of pace. Towards the end of his time with the Old Lady in 2009, Del Piero was given a standing ovation by Real Madrid fans at the Bernebeu after scoring a winning free-kick for Juventus which had such incredible dip that it beat the wall and nestled into the bottom left-hand corner.

1. Juninho Pernambucano

Juninho’s ‘knuckle ball’ technique was revolutionary and the inspiration for many players. The Brazilian’s swerving, wobbling free-kicks were un-saveable and the Lyon midfielder could score from distances of up to fifty meters away from goal. In the mid 2000’s Juninho was considered the best player in the French league and was unfortunate to play for Brazil in the same era as Kaka and Ronaldinho. Juninho is still Lyon’s all-time top Champions League scorer and made 248 appearances for the club. Since leaving the French giants he returned to Brazil and now plays for New York Red Bull’s.


It was tough to condense the list to five and notable omissions from the list were Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin van Persie, Roberto Baggio, David Beckham and Sinisa Mihajilovic- who once scored a hat-trick of free kicks for Inter.  Do you agree? Have your say below.


Will Mata