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The evolution of freekick techniques: From power free-kicks to the Mukaiten

Parth Shah
SENIOR ANALYST

With the constant improvements in goalkeeping and defending standards, dead-ball situations have suddenly become extremely important. Freekicks have now become a great source for goals, as more and more players try to score directly from a dead-ball situation close to goal.

Over the years, different players have developed various techniques to trick the goalkeeper and put the ball past him. A lot of players have since worked on the proven techniques and added their own flair to gain more mastery over freekicks.

Note: This is not a compilation of the best freekick takers in football, simply a listing of different types of techniques. Players like Juninho, Platini, Messi, Maradona and Mihajlovic, although master freekick takers, do not appear in this list as they all had similar techniques to the ones mentioned below.

Pele’s power kicks

The famous Brazilian football legend Pele playing football. Circa 1950+s.

Pele was someone who relied more on power and placement to score goals from freekicks. He wasn’t exactly a great curler of the ball, but believed in hitting the ball in the right areas with the right power to give it height and dip, something goalkeepers were unable to predict or handle.

We also have to take into account the weight and build quality of footballs back then. Footballs in the 50s and 60s were considerably heavier than the ones available today. So, for that era, power free-kicks made sense.

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