Football's Greatest Free-Kick Specialists
No.1 Juninho Pernambucano Brazil
Absolutely superb for Lyon in their glory days of the 2000s. Giving away a free-kick to Juninho Pernambucano was almost like handing him a penalty. He scored 44 free-kicks for Lyon during the eight years at the club and bagged nearly 80 during his entire career, which also featured a lengthy spell with Vasco da Gama.
No.2 Siniša Mihajlovic Yugoslavia
There aren't many players who throughout their career find themselves being played as a left-winger, an attacking midfielder, a defensive midfielder, a left-back, and then a centre back. And there aren't many players who could hit a dead-ball as well as SiniÅ¡a Mihajlovic. He might have courted controversy several times during his playing career, but one thing that everyone can agree on is that he had a wand of a left foot. Not only was it put to good use spraying glorious passes around the pitch, but when it got the sniff of a chance from a dead-ball situation then it usually meant trouble for the opposition.
With 28 goals scored from free-kicks during his fourteen seasons playing in Italy, Mihajlovic holds the record for the most free-kicks scored in Serie A. He is also one of only two players, the other being Giuseppe Signori, to have scored a hat-trick of free-kicks in one match, his three goals helping Lazio beat Sampdoria 5:2 on the 13th of December, 1998.
No.3 Zico Brazil
The legendary Brazilian was particularly adept from near the penalty box with his trademark short run-up.
No.4 David Beckham England
If there is one player who split opinion during the 1990s and 2000s about just how good he actually was, in comparison to the amount of media attention he received, then it's the English midfielder, David Beckham. Yet the one thing about Beckham that cannot be disputed by anyone, was his skill from set-pieces and dead-balls. His technique when hitting the ball was as elegant and stylish as any player in the modern era. The style wasn't just aesthetically pleasing either, it constantly delivered a stream of assists and goals from free-kicks throughout his career.
Beckham's tally when he retired showed just how good he'd been - from his early days scoring two free-kicks whilst on loan at Preston North End, he then scored 29 for Manchester United, 14 for Real Madrid, 12 for LA Galaxy, and one for Milan. That's 58 free-kicks scored at club level, accounting for more than half of all the goals he scored. And then there were another seven free-kicks for the English national team, including probably the most famous of the lot, his incredible injury-time strike against Greece at Old Trafford in 2011 that helped England reach the 2002 World Cup finals, right at the very death.
No.5 Diego Maradona Argentina
Maradona was so brilliant in open play that we sometimes tend to forget how good he was in dead ball situations too. His short run-up, similar to Zico, meant that he was particularly deadly around the edge of the box, with a great ability to get the ball quickly over the wall and then down again.
No.6 Marcelinho Carioca Brazil
Not too well known in Europe, but a legend for Corinthians in Brazil. Carioca's skill from free-kicks, along with his tiny size 5 feet, earned him the nickname "PÃ©-de-Anjo" (Angel Feet).
No.7 Ronaldinho Brazil
Whilst we mainly associate the maverick Brazilian with outrageous skills and tricks, he was equally talented at free-kicks, scoring 66 in his career.
No.8 Shunsuke Nakamura Japan
A Celtic legend, credit must go to Gordon Strachan for signing the Japanese midfielder from Reggiana in 2005, beating off interest from a host of European clubs including Atlético Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Parma and Leeds United. Nakamura had superb touch and vision, but it was his technique with the ball, especially from set-pieces, that really made him stand out.
The former Tottenham Hotspur captain, Steve Perryman, once said that Nakamura "could open a tin of beans with his left foot". Unfortunately, there's no video of that, but here he is, bending one in against Manchester United...
No.10Ronald Koeman Netherlands
Ronald Koeman had a phenomenal goalscoring record for a defender, scoring over 200 goals during his seventeen-year career. Incredibly, 60 of these were scored from free-kicks, with the Dutch legend equally happy either hammering them in from long range or delicately curling them over the wall near the edge of the penalty box.
No.12 Éder Brazil
Slightly controversial, in a Roberto Carlos sort of way, as Ã‰der was well known for some spectacular long-range screamers and everyone tended to forget about the number of efforts that flew miles over the bar or curved wide of goal towards the corner flag! His footballing nickname was, appropriately, O CanhÃ£o (the Cannon), a nod to the power that he could produce that from that wicked left foot of his.
For us, he's on this list for one simple reason - he was responsible for our favourite free-kick of all-time, one of the greatest goals never scored - the swerving thunderbolt against arch-rivals Argentina at the 1982 World Cup, hitting the bar and bouncing down for Zico to tap in. To be fair, it deserved to go in for Ã‰der's huge run-up alone!