When play stops dead some 25 yards from goal, the crowd goes silent and waits in anticipation. It knows what’s about to happen. For many, there will be little worry. Indeed, the vast majority will think, “It’s going to need to be one hell of a hit.” But these greatest free-kick takers have perfected their crafts and would make opposing supporters think, “Uh-oh, this could be trouble.”
7. Andrea Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo knew how to take a free-kick… pic.twitter.com/f4vXGPNWEX
— 90s Football (@90sfootball) March 23, 2018
Italian free kick taker and seemingly ageless, Andrea Pirlo, hung up his boots after playing from 1995 to 2017 with stops in Brescia, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Juventus and New York City.
The creative midfielder was known for his playmaking abilities but still managed 73 club goals in 756 games with 13 more for Italy in 116 internationals. It’s believed more than 30 of Pirlo’s career tallies came via the free kick route and he scored the most free-kick goals ever in Serie A, with 28.
6. Alessandro Del Piero
On This Day 2006: Del Piero became Juventus' all time record goalscorer. He had to do it with a trademark free-kick too! pic.twitter.com/nwkVIRg04j
— Classic Football Shirts (@classicshirts) January 10, 2018
There’s no doubt that Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero was a technically gifted midfielder/forward, but his knack of scoring from free kicks really stood out. Del Piero scored 316 club goals in 777 career games including 290 in 705 matches with Juventus.
He holds numerous club records in Turin and became a free kick specialist due to the tireless practising of his technique. Del Piero scored dozens of goals from free-kicks during his career, with some of them being the best ever seen in Serie A.
— REMATCH (@RematchFootball) June 21, 2018
Who can forget Ronaldinho’s 40-yard free kick goal in the 2002 World Cup against England? It sure fooled and embarrassed goalkeeper David Seaman, but the Brazilian international midfielder had a habit of doing that to goalies during his career.
Ronaldinho played club football in Brazil but also starred in Europe with Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, and AC Milan. He had 280 goals under his belt in 728 club matches with another 33 in 97 outings for Brazil. Ronaldinho scored about 70 goals from free kicks due to his accuracy and trickery.
4. Rogerio Ceni
Over the course of a 25 years at São Paulo, Brazilian goalkeeper Rogério Ceni won 18 titles and scored 131 goals (all from free kicks and penalties). This led to Ceni being recognised as the highest scoring goalkeeper in the history of football! #facts #funfacts #soccer pic.twitter.com/5qcAWQHpB7
— GK Icon (@gkicon) January 14, 2018
You may never have heard of Brazilian goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, but he may have actually been better at scoring goals than saving them. What sets Ceni apart from most goalies was his ability to score from free kicks and penalty shots.
In fact, he’s the top scoring goalkeeper in history, as he found the back of the net 131 times. Just one of these came from open play, while over 60 were scored via free kicks (the rest were penalties).
He obviously had a heck of a shot and a great technique when taking set pieces and it’s unlikely his scoring record for a goalie will ever be broken.