Top 15 Footballers With The Most Free-Kick Goals In Football History (2024)

David Beckham football players with the most free-kick goals
Mandatory Credit: Alex Livesey /Allsport

Not many actions on the football pitch excite fans to look upon seeing a ball curled over a wall of players and dip into the corner of the net to leave the goalkeeper helpless. A classic free kick!

Free-kicks require a combination of skill, technique, and cleverness to be executed successfully.

Different players have numerous free-kick techniques. The most dangerous ones are those taken close to the penalty box.

A reliable free-kick specialist is a valuable asset for any team, so it is no wonder that players spend hours on the training ground honing their free-kick skills.

Throughout football history, there have numerous set-piece masters like Dimitri Payet, Christian Eriksen, Roman Riquelme, Roberto Carlos, Andrea Pirlo, Alessandro Del Piero, Michel Platini, and so on.

In this article, TOP SOCCER BLOG brings you the top 12 footballers with the most free-kick goals in history.

15. Andrea Pirlo – (46 free-kick goals)

Andrea Pirlo number 21 jersey

Andrea Pirlo is widely considered as one of the best free-kick takers in history due to his unique set of skills and techniques that made him lethal from dead ball situations.

The ex-midfielder for Milan and Juventus was renowned for his calmness and creativity on the field, making him one of the greatest midfielders in the history of the sport.

Pirlo was gifted with an extraordinary passing range that was almost breathtaking to witness.

However, his pursuit of the perfect free-kick was an ongoing project for him.

It wasn’t until he had an epiphany while seated on the toilet, of all places, that he discovered the technique of striking the ball with three toes instead of five, allowing him to generate the necessary whip to curl the ball towards the goal.

14. Michael Platini – (50 free-kick goals)

Michel Platini individual awards

Michel Platini was one of the greatest footballers of his era, and his prowess as a deadly set-piece taker was well-known.

The renowned French and Juventus midfielder of the 1980s, was unmatched in his craft and known for his strategic free-kick taking abilities.

With an innate talent to place the ball precisely where he wanted, Platini was unpredictable, often alternating between a top corner shot or a powerful drive towards the goal.

Moreover, he had an exceptional skill of keeping the ball low, leaving the defensive wall helpless as the ball swiftly evaded them, leaving goalkeepers stranded and resulting in yet another goal for Platini.

Michael Platini enjoyed a successful career and is one of the footballers with the most individual awards.

13. Alessandro Del Piero (52 free-kick goals)

Del Piero Footballers Who Have Played In The Indian Super League

Alessandro Del Piero is undoubtedly one of the most talented players in Serie A and Italian football history.

He boasts a remarkable record of 52 successful free-kicks scored in his long career.

As an forward with a keen eye for goal, Del Piero possessed a free-kick technique that was both predictable and unstoppable.

His trademark high, curling strike would dip sharply, leaving goalkeepers helpless against the skilled Italian marksman’s accuracy.

12. Marcelinho Carioca – (59 free-kick goals)

Marcelinho Carioca footballers with the most free-kick goals

Marcelinho Carioca was known for his off-field antics, including frequent disputes with coaches. But he was a free-kick specialist.

He could strike either from distance or close range, with force or delicacy, swerve, dip, curve, or whatever he wanted to do with the ball.

Such was Carioca’s prowess from dead balls that saw him nicknamed “Pe-de-Anjo” (Angel Foot).

11. Ronald Koeman – (60 free-kick goals)

Ronald Koeman best free-kick takers in football history
(Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

Ronald Koeman was a free-kick specialist during his playing career.

His iconic free-kick against Sampdoria in 1992 at Wembley handed Barcelona their first-ever European Cup.

A versatile player, he was popular for his penalties, long-range shots, and powerful free-kicks.

Koeman is the defender with the most goals in soccer history.

Some midfielders and even strikers wouldn’t mind having the kind of goalscoring record the Dutch legend has.

10. Cristiano Ronaldo – (61 free-kick goals)

Cristiano Ronaldo soccer players with the most free-kick goals
(Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most potent goalscorers ever, and he scores from just any situation.

In his prime, the Portuguese was also very good when it came to taking free kicks. He even had a trademark pose when standing over the ball to take kicks.

CR7’s free kicks generate stunning pace and power when perfectly hit. This makes him one of the most dangerous free-kick takers ever.

Sir Alex Ferguson once commented that a free-kick from Ronaldo against Portsmouth in 2008 was the best he had ever seen.

Cristiano Ronaldo is regarded as one of the greatest football players ever in history.

Ronaldo’s last two free-kick goals was  for Al-Nassr against Abha in the Saudi Pro League and against Liechtenstein in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

The Portugal international fired the free-kicks from range into the back of the net.

9. Rogerio Ceni – (61 free-kick goals)

Rogerio Ceni footballers with the most free-kick goals in history
(Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images)

Rogerio Ceni is considered as one of the all-time greatest Brazilian goalkeepers. He is the goalkeeper to have scored the most goals in the history of football.

Rogerio Ceni is considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.

He scored a remarkable 131 goals during his career, with most of them coming from free kicks and penalties — only one was scored from open play.

What made Ceni one of the football players with the most free-kick goals in history is his ability to place the ball precisely where he wanted it to go, often into the top corner of the net or just out of reach of the goalkeeper’s grasp.

Ceni was part of the Brazilian squads that won the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

8. Zico – (62 free-kick goals)

Zico soccer players with the most free-kick goals
(Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images)

Zico is one of the greatest Brazilian players ever. He was famous for his astonishing free-kick accuracy.

Although he was reported to have scored over 100 free-kicks in his career, only 62 were officially acknowledged.

Zico’s tremendous free-kick technique saw him place the ball into the top corner, often beyond the reach of opposition goalkeepers.

He mostly scores when the set piece is very close to the penalty area and would embark on a trademark two-step run-up before striking the ball.

7. Diego Maradona – (62 free-kick goals)

Diego Maradona

Although Diego Maradona is mostly remembered for his mazy runs, clever passes, and all-round play, he was also more than deadly when his side won a free-kick in dangerous areas.

His ability to bend the ball quickly (and accurately) around players was helpful when he’s also taking free kicks.

Maradona could use his left foot to do almost whatever he wishes with a dead ball.

Be it placing it into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area, lifting it up and over the wall from 25 yards, or smashing around a wall from 30 yards, Maradona did it all.

6. Lionel Messi – (65 free-kick goals)

Lionel Messi free-kick for PSG football players with the most free kick goals
(Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi seems able to do it all. And with perfection.

He wasn’t taking free kicks earlier in his career; in fact, when he became Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer in 2012, he had just 5 free-kick goals.

But when he mastered the art, he became sensationally good at it.

Messi can curl the ball into either corner and has the ability — as well as the creativity — to outsmart goalkeepers. He is also one of the best set-piece takers in football today.

The football legend possessed the natural ability to strike the ball cleanly, with the right amount of power and spin, to create a swerving or dipping trajectory that makes it difficult for the goalkeeper to save.

Lionel Messi’s 61st free-kick was scored against Lille in the 95th minute, the goal gave PSG a 4-3 victory in a crucial tie.

Lionel Messi’s 62nd free-kick goal was the 800th goal of his career, and his did it in stunning fashion as Argentina beat Panama 2-0 in Buenos Aires.

Lionel Messi’s 63rd free-kick goals was an astonishing late-minute winner on his debut for Inter Miami.

Lionel Messi’s 64th free-kick goal was an incredible late-minute equalizer for Inter Miami in their game against FC Dallas in the MLS League Cup, which brought the game to 4-4.

However, he has now 65 free-kicks and could still score more in his career.

5. David Beckham – (65 free-kick goals)

David Beckham football players with the most free-kick goals
Mandatory Credit: Alex Livesey /Allsport

David Beckham was so good at taking free-kicks that the phrase ‘bend it like Beckham’ was popularised.

David Beckham was arguably the most famous free-kick taker in his prime.

His ability to whip the ball with pace saw him turn free-kick conversions into a habit!

Beckham’s consistency and ability to step up when it matters most made him stand out among other free-kick takers then.

His most memorable free kick was the last-gasp wondergoal in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Greece to send England to the finals.

4. Ronaldinho – (66 free-kick goals)

Ronaldinho best free-kick takers in football history
(Photo by Adam Davy – PA Images via Getty Images)

Ronaldinho was famous for his insane dribbling, technique, skills, and tricks.

He was equally a regular goalscorer and was reliable in set pieces.

The Brazilian employed power, pace, curve, dip, and even trickery when taking free kicks. This saw him convert a lot of them.

Ronaldinho’s most famous free kick was against England in the 2002 World Cup quarter-final when he sensationally lobbed David Seaman with a speculative effort from distance.

Apart from being one of the best free-kick takers in football, he was also one of the greatest dribblers in football history.

3. Victor Legrotaglie – (66 free-kick goals)

When it comes to football in Argentina, Messi and Maradona come to everyone’s mind. But the Argentine player with the most free-kick goals in history is Victor Legrotaglie.

Legrotaglie spent most of his career with Argentine club, Gimnasia y Esgrima de Mendoza and became a club icon.

His greatest skill was the mastery of free kicks, and he netted 66 during his career.

Victor Legrotaglie also has a great deal of mental strength and confidence when it came to taking free-kicks.

He was never afraid to take on the responsibility of taking a free-kick, and he always believed that he could score.

2. Pele – (70 free-kick goals)

Pele best soccer players of all time
(Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

With Pele having scored so many goals in his career, it is not surprising that he netted lots of free-kick goals too.

The Brazilian icon often hit his free-kicks with power — relying on sheer pace and power to convert plenty.

Pele’s powerful free kick against Romania at the 1970 World Cup will go down as one of his greatest goals ever.

1. Juninho Pernambucano – (77 free-kick goals)

Juninho Pernambucano football player with the most free-kick goals
(BORIS HORVAT/AFP via Getty Images)

When the name Juninho is mentioned, what comes to the mind of an average football fan is free-kicks!

The Lyon legend is the greatest free-kick taker in history and has scored the most.

In fact, no one comes near his level of mastery.

His unique ability to make the ball fly through the air and swerve in different directions before finding the net is absolutely sensational.

Juninho perfected the “knuckleball technique” when taking free kicks. He would hit the ball as hard as possible while preventing it from spinning at all.

When perfectly executed, the ball would wobble in the air, move unpredictably, and confuse the goalkeeper — who would be unable to predict the flight of the ball.

Despite his relatively small stature, Juninho was able to generate a lot of power on his free-kicks.

He was able to strike the ball with a lot of force, which made it difficult for goalkeepers to react to his shots.

Many players have tried to replicate Juninho’s technique over the years, but none have even come close to it.

With Juninho on the pitch, opposition teams ultimately dread giving away fouls that will result to direct free kicks.

This was last updated on March 29th, 2024.

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