David Beckham

Five of the Best – Free-kick takers in Premier League history

Set-pieces are a vital part of modern football, with the ability to bend, blast and dip a dead-ball the speciality of many of the game’s greats.

The Premier League has seen some superb set-piece takers throughout its illustrious 27-year history, capable of producing special moments from distance.

Here are five of the finest free-kick takers in the division’s history…

Laurent Robert

The Frenchman was a fan’s favourite at Newcastle due to his penchant for spectacular strikes, with the winger possessing a wand of a left foot.

During a five-year spell at St James’ Park he proved deadly from distance, scoring several free-kicks and developing a reputation as a set-piece specialist.

Whilst not a prolific scorer, managing just 22 league goals on Tyneside, half of that total came from free-kicks, with one particular effort immortalised in the film Goal!

Have a look at this rocket against Liverpool in 2004 for a reminder of the sweetness of Robert’s strikes…

Read Also: Players with the most free kicks in Premier League history

Gianfranco Zola

The diminutive Italian lit up the Premier League during a seven-year stay at pre-Abramovich Chelsea, and is widely remembered as one of the club’s greatest ever players.

Full of tricks, flicks and flair, Zola was also a specialist from set-pieces.

The popular playmaker scored 59 goals in 229 league appearances for the Blues, including 12 free-kicks.

Technically superb, Zola had the ability to curl the ball around even the safest looking walls and into the top corner.

Check out some of the mecurial forward’s best free-kick efforts from a brilliant career below…

Cristiano Ronaldo

Arguably the finest player the top flights has ever seen, and certainly one of the greatest footballer’s of all-time, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo rose from promising teenager to global superstar during a six-year spell at Manchester United.

Arriving from Sporting Lisbon at just 18, Ronaldo quickly developed into an important member of the United side and soon began to take on the responsibility of set-pieces.

One of the first foreign imports to implement the ‘knuckle-ball’ style, Ronaldo scored several spectacular efforts before leaving for Real Madrid in a world-record transfer in 2009.

His effort against Portsmouth in 2008 is widely thought of as one of the finest free-kicks in Premier League history, simply unstoppable.

Thierry Henry

Another contender for the Premier League’s finest ever player, the French forward led Arsenal through their most successful period of the modern-era.

Scorer of all different types of goals, from solo runs to thunderbolts, Henry’s ability to strike a dead ball was another string to his impressive bow.

Lightening quick and a ruthless finisher, Henry’s 175 Premier League goals for Arsenal is the fifth-highest total in the league’s history, including 12 from free-kicks.

A superstar of the Premier League-era, Henry will be remembered as one of the greats.

David Beckham

Quite possibly the best set-piece taker in Premier League history, no player has scored more than Beckham’s tally of 15 free-kicks.

The former Manchester United star had incredible technique, able to whip the ball up and down to great effect.

Free-kick’s became the ex-England captain’s trademark, with kids everywhere desperate to be able to Bend it like Beckham to coin the phrase of the pop-culture film.

His relentless work-ethic to perfect his technique paid dividends, scoring regularly from distance during a glittering career at United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, LA Galaxy and Paris Saint-Germain.


Honourable mentions: Seb Larsson, Christian Eriksen, Dimitri Payet, and Gareth Bale.