The ball flying into the back of the net straight from a free kick has to be among the most satisfying images of football. This is an extremely difficult technique to perfect, but many iconic players have mastered it.
Players such as Juninho Pernambucano, David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho, Diego Maradona and Zico, to name a few, were all excellent free-kick takers. Even today there are many players who are very reliable when it comes to finding the back of the net from free kicks.
These players can make all the difference in tight matches where one team is struggling to bring down their opponent. Without further ado, let’s take a look at five of the best free kickers in the world right now.
#5 Kevin DeBruyne (Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne is one of the most technically gifted footballers of the modern era. He is widely regarded as the best attacking midfielder in the world right now. De Bruyne was Manchester City’s strongman for quite some time and was Pep Guardiola’s most trusted player during his time in England.
The Belgian international has a wonderful range of passes and shots. In addition to being an excellent attacking midfielder, he is also capable of finding the net regularly. Over the years, De Bruyne has proven to be very effective from free kicks.
#4 Neymar Jr. (Paris Saint-Germain)
Neymar Jr. is one of the most exciting strikers of all time. The Brazilian icon is a nightmare to defend as he is one of the best dribblers in the game and is as elusive as possible.
Like many Brazilian legends, the 31-year-old seems to enjoy playing football more than most. Neymar’s game isn’t just about the panoply of tricks he regularly shows.
He is one of the most technically proficient players around and his passing, vision and shooting are all exemplary. Neymar is a huge threat from set pieces and is one of the best in the business when it comes to scoring goals.
#3 Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United)
Kieran Trippier is one of the most complete full-backs in the world. His crosses are top notch and his defensive work is also commendable. But it’s on set pieces that Trippier really shines.
He is one of the best free kickers in the world. His last four goals for the club all came from free kicks. The Englishman is also brilliant from set pieces and the dynamic right-back is one of Newcastle United’s most important players at the moment.
#2 Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)
Lionel Messi didn’t start out as a good free kick player. When he started, he didn’t really care. But over the years Messi has added free kicks to his arsenal and like everything he does, the legendary Argentinian has proven himself to be excellent.
Messi has now started dropping the ball into the top of the basket from free kicks. He always prioritizes accuracy over power and excels at rolling the ball away from the goalkeeper. But that’s not to say Messi’s free-kicks go into the back of the net at an embarrassing pace.
They are often hit hard and fast enough to give the best players in the business a run for their money.
#1 James Ward Prowse (Southampton)
James Ward-Prowse is the modern champion when it comes to free kicks. His experience in set pieces goes a long way in giving Southampton an edge. Ward-Prowse is a Southampton academy graduate who broke into the senior team in October 2011.
He is an effective midfielder who has been consistent with the Saints throughout his career. Ward-Prowse is as reliable a free kick taker as any we’ve seen in recent times and watching him prepare the ball for a set piece should be an intimidating sight for any goalkeeper.
Ward-Prowse has scored three direct free kicks this season, the same as last season.