A dead-ball specialist can change a football match with one swift kick. Having a player capable of scoring free-kick goals from a dead-ball situation can be the difference between three points and leaving empty handed. There have been some incredible free-kick takers to play in the Premier League since its debut in 1992. The five listed here are (probably) the five best-ever free-kick specialists to grace the league.
- Laurent Robert – 11
Laurent Robert had one of the sweetest left foots in the Premier League during the early noughties. Robert scored 32 goals in all competitions while at Newcastle United from 2001 to 2005. The Frenchman was able to create power and put swerve on the ball to get it over the wall and down into the back of the net.
Robert wasn’t Newcastle United’s only free-kick taker during his time at the club. He shared duties with teammate Nolberto Solano, who scored nine free-kick goals in his time in the Premier League. Had Robert been the only free-kick taker, then perhaps he would have scored more times.
- Cristiano Ronaldo – 11
It comes as a shock that Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t score more free-kick goals at Manchester United. Perhaps his total of 11 came due to Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, and others being available to take free-kicks for the Red Devils at the same time period.
Ronaldo bagged 11 free-kick goals at Old Trafford from 2003 to 2009. Remarkably, Ronaldo would outdo his Manchester United free-kick production in nine seasons at Real Madrid. There, Ronaldo scored 32 free-kick goals. In 2009-10 alone, Ronaldo tallied six free-kick goals. The goalkeeping may not have been to the same standard in Spain.
- Thierry Henry – 12
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry had two stints at the club scoring 228 career goals. Henry was an incredible marksman from open play, but the striker still managed to tally 12 of those goals from free-kick situations.
Henry was so good bearing down on goalkeepers that it is easy to forget just how prolific he was from dead-ball situations. He played with some great players at the Emirates and wasn’t always tasked with taking free-kicks. That is perhaps why he didn’t score more than a dozen times from free-kicks.
- Gianfranco Zola – 12
While former Chelsea player Gianfranco Zola may not have the appeal to certain fans that Ronaldo or Henry do, he was a great player at Stamford Bridge before the club received Roman Abramovich’s cash injection.
Zola scored 80 goals during his seven-year career at Chelsea. Twelve of those goals came from free-kicks as his dead-ball work helped Chelsea win six trophies while in west London.
- David Beckham – 15
It is difficult to argue that former Manchester United great David Beckham isn’t the best-ever free-kick taker. Not only could he whip a ball into a teammate in the box, but Golden Balls could pick out a player’s head in a crowd like few other footballers in history.
Between 1992 and 2003, Beckham scored 85 goals for Manchester United with 15 of those strikes coming from free-kicks. No player in Premier League history has scored more goals from free-kicks than Beckham.