Top 10 Free-kick takers of the decade
There have been many comparisons in the world of football, from dribbling to passing skills, goal-scoring to goal-creating ability, even comparisons and debates about Football Leagues altogether. I want to draw comparisons among the finest free-kick takers this past decade. So here is the list:
1. Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha
I like call him ‘homem de ferro’ (which is Portuguese for “iron man”) of Brazil. This left wing-back and ex-Galactico is widely known for his tremendous pace, long throw-ins and not to forget, his trademark free-kicks. Be it the banana-kick or through the wall, he can do it all. Go on, have a look at his magic…
2. David Beckham
“Bend it like Beckham”, indeed it was this great footballer who gave the phrase its definition. The very definition of corner kicks and free-kicks was first demonstrated by this English Legend. He’s played for all the big guns of the world including Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan. He also just played his last game for LA Galaxy. Beckham can strike the ball past any wall or any goalkeeper to net a goal from a free-kick. It’s all in a day’s work for this maestro.
3. Ronaldo de Assis Moreira
He may have a weird name (as most Brazilians do) but Ronaldinho as he is better know now plays for Atletico Mineiro. Having played for top clubs like Barcelona and AC Milan he might be going though a rough patch now. But when it comes to free-kicks, he’s still got all the skills required.
4. Steven Gerrard
The Liverpool legend is widely considered the greatest English footballer of his generation. Over the years his box-box-box skills have been astounding enough. But that doesn’t mean we ignore his free-kick talents. Liverpool will always consider him as its biggest star ever.
5. Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard has been Chelsea‘s driving force for years now. He has thrice been the Player of the Year at Chelsea and has scored 186 goals in all competitions. Known for his work-rate, passing, goal scoring and obviously free-kick abilities. Needless to say, he will remain as one of the best central attacking midfielders of this era.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo
CR7, the most controversial player of this era perhaps. But a footballer is better known for his skill rather than controversies and he certainly has the skills. Be it dribbling, goal scoring, passing, crossing or just raw pace, he has what it takes to be one of the best. This Madrista can deliver some powerful net-bursting free-kicks He might have an odd free-kick stance but who cares when the ball swerves over the wall into the net leaving the goalkeeper bemused.
7. Andrea Pirlo
Well Pirlo certainly surprised me when he displayed his play-making skills for Juventus and Italy. He is just a ‘completare’ (Italian for “complete”) footballer. A complete footballer has footwork, passing skills, goal scoring skills, dribbling skills, leadership skills and of course free-kick skills and Pirlo falls right into this category. What is more satisfactory than having a player beside you who can turn the tables with every opportunity possible and Pirlo certainly proved to be such a player when Italy reach the Euro 2012 finals. One just cannot forget his splendid free-kick against Croatia at Euro 2012.
That awkward moment in 2010 World Cup when Brazil were sent home by Netherlands. A moment that shocked the world, and it was Sneijder who made it happen. He currently plays for Inter Milan, having earlier played for Real Madrid. The very names of these two clubs can vouch for his abilities as a footballer. When it comes to free-kicks there is no one better to rely upon, as he can bag a goal from a free-kick even if there were two goalies between the sticks.
9. Lionel Messi
The so called “soon-to-be-greatest player ever”, Lionel Messi. The gem of Barcelona who has already proved to be one of the best players of this era has bagged goals from some jaw-dropping free-kicks. Not only does he has tremendous footwork but he has also developed his free-kick abilities to a great extent. He is feared for his unpredictable nature of his free-kicks.
This Swedish footballer has proven to be fatal for his opponents on every given occasion. Recently he demolished England and I bet the English still have nightmares. Ibrahimovic being 6 foot 5 inches tall, has put his height to good use by netting goals from different circumstances, but it would be foolish to ignore this giant’s free-kick abilities. You should see the delight on faces of the Swedish when he steps up for a free-kick. Who “nose” how fatal he will be in the in the near future.Published 11 Dec 2012, 14:57 IST