There have been many good free kick specialists over the years and it is difficult to pinpoint who is actually the best, however, after lengthy discussions at Quickplay Sport here are our choices;

David Beckham

No list would be complete without David Beckham would it?

Possibly one of the greatest dead ball specialists of all time and he delivered when it mattered, the last minute equalising free kick for England against Greece was something special.

Technique

Beckham would line up at a 45-degree angle to the ball in order to get as much swerve on his strike as possible, his secret was to bend the ball away from the goalkeeper and into a corner sometimes even the side netting.

Beckham's last step before striking the ball was also a big one, this allowed him to get more power on the strike.

 

Juninho Pernambucano

The best of the best, the Brazilian midfielder is rated by pros as the best there ever has been from a dead ball situation. Juninho has scored more than 75 goals from free kicks, that's more than anybody on this list. An astonishing 44 of his 100 goals for French club Lyon came from dead ball situations.

Technique

Juninho developed a technique that would allow him to hit the target from long range consistently. Striking the ball in a flat motion with his toe and upper foot made the ball dip and dive viciously as it approached the goal, the keeper would never know what the ball was going to do until it hit the back of the net. Its a technique that's been adopted by others over the years, such as Ronaldo and Pirlo.

Andrea Pirlo

The Italian magicians Laissez-faire approach to striking the ball is envious to us mere mortals. He modelled his style on Lyons Juninho and spent hours on the training ground perfecting his strike, the groundsman hated him!

For those that didn't watch him on a regular basis, the free kick he took that hit the bar against England would have been a 'how did he do that' moment.

His consistency with free kicks over the years have shown that he's much more than just an eloquent passer of the ball.

Technique

Who better to describe the technique than Pirlo himself?

"In essence, the ball needs to be struck from underneath using your first three toes. You have to keep your foot as straight as possible and then relax it in one fell swoop. That way, the ball doesn't spin in the air, but does drop rapidly towards the goal. That's when it starts to rotate. And that, in a nutshell, is my maledetta"

Ronaldinho

One of the most enigmatic footballers of all time, still producing his magic in the Brazilian league.

Given the natural gift he possesses its inevitable that the Brazilian legend could put a free kick wherever he wanted to as well. He's scored a real range of free kick types for Barcelona and his other clubs.

Technique

For the infamous free kick against England, Ronaldinho managed to put top spin on the ball from a deal ball situation. Which, unless you are incredibly talented, is near impossible.

In case you were wondering if it was luck or not, he did the same thing when at Gremio in the early days of his career.

Nakamura

The former Celtic midfielder was renowned for his dead ball prowess during his time at the Scottish club, in fact, he became an an icon with the Celtic fans purely because of his free kick taking ability!.

With the amount of whip and curl he was able to put on the ball you could say he was the left footed Beckham and most Manchester United fans will remember his 2 'free kick' goals in the Champions League.

Technique

Very similar to David Beckham but Nakamura was left foot instead of right, he moved himself to an angle where he could get as much whip on the ball as possible. This meant he could put it in either corner, even if it was the keepers side and the ball would always be curling away. This technique lead to Nakamura scoring over 50 free kicks during his career.

Del Piero

Anywhere within 25 yards of the oppositions goal used to be called the zone of Del Piero. The Juventus icon was that good that his team mates fully expected him to convert a free kick when the opportunity arose. The Italian has notched up an impressive 42 goals from free kicks.

Technique

Del Piero had a fairly straight run up but still managed to curl the ball once he struck it. He was a very diverse free kick taker and adapted his style for different distances. He was as capable smashing one in from 35 yards as he was effortlessly curling one in from the edge of the area. He never looked like he had a natural gift for it like a Beckham but he was equally as effective, his consistency came from hours and hours on the training ground.

Sinisa Mihajlovic

The Serbian left back is joint top all time Serie A top goal scorer from free kicks with 28. He's quoted as saying he would pretty much shoot from anywhere, he's even confident of scoring from corners.

He is however, the bad boy of Serie A for a long time during his playing days, tough tackling and not afraid of confrontation, its ironic that his free kicks were such a thing of beauty.

Technique

Mihajlovic was capable of striking the ball with both curl and ferocious power. Like Del Piero, he could adapt his technique depending on the distance he was away from goal.

He would often strike them how you are taught to shoot as a kid in grassroots football, weak foot planted next to the ball and strike through the laces. His left foot was one of the best, and it's even managed to usurp Roberto Carlos from this list, in our opinion he was more consistent and more effective than the Brazilian full back.