Lionel Messi just 11th top free-kick scorer in history behind likes of David Beckham, Ronaldinho and Maradona

LIONEL MESSI scored a sublime free-kick in Barcelona's 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

The strike was the 33-year-old winger's 650th career goal – and his 55th from a direct free-kick.

But despite breaking his half-century of free-kick net-busters, Messi doesn't quite crack the top ten most-prolific set-pieces stars of all-time.

He's not even the top Argentine… he also sits behind his own BOSS, Ronald Koeman, and a goalkeeper on the list.

Instead, Messi ranks 11th on the list – but will take solace in the fact he is still above old rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 'just' 47 direct free-kick goals.

We take a look at the top ten – and who Messi will have to overtake if he's to rise to the top – in reverse order…


ONE of two players to have netted 59 direct free-kicks, Ceni did so as a GOALKEEPER.

The legendary Brazilian – now manager of Flamengo – scored 129 times in competitive games for Sao Paulo as their designated free-kick and penalty taker.


NICKNAMED 'Pe-de-Anjo' – which translates as 'Angel Foot' – Carioca also scored 59 times.

The Brazilian midfielder travelled around the world, never really settling at any one club.

He had spells at Valencia and Ajaccio in Europe, as well as stints in Japan, Saudi Arabia and Brazil – playing for 13 teams in total before retiring and embarking on a career in beach football.



NOW Messi's manager, Koeman sits eighth on the list with 60 free-kick goals.

During his career, the defensive midfielder starred for Groningen, Feyenoord, Ajax, PSV and Barcelona – netting 239 career goals, meaning over a quarter of his goals were from free-kicks.

He also racked up 78 caps for Holland, scoring 14 goals in total.

=6. ZICO – 62

THE Brazilian legend netted 62 free-kicks in his career among his 500+ goals.

Zico – one of the most iconic free-kick specialists in football history – is famous for his languid run-up and pinpoint accuracy.


LEVEL with Zico is Argentine great Maradona – who scored roughly 20 per cent of his career goals from free-kicks.

Maradona's most-famous set-piece strike came for Napoli against Juventus when he netted what became known as the 'Divine Free-Kick'.

From inside the box, Maradona converted a lovely dinked effort from an indirect free-kick to, as he put it in 2017, 'conquer the hearts of Neapolitans'.


FAMOUS around the world for his dead-ball sorcery, Becks was only one free-kick shy of sitting joint-third on this list.

The Manchester United, England and Real Madrid legend netted 65 times from free-kicks, including his last-gasp wondergoal in the 2002 World Cup qualifier against Greece to send the Three Lions to the finals.


JUST one goal ahead of Beckham is Brazil icon Ronaldinho.

Most-famously, Ronaldinho lobbed David Seaman with a speculative effort in the 2002 World Cup quarter-final.

He scored a total of 66 free-kicks during his illustrious career.


TO sit above Messi and Maradona in the list of top free-kick-scoring Argentines means you have to be pretty special.

And Legrottaglie was just that, scoring 66 set-pieces during his career – spending all 21 of his playing years in Argentina, despite interest from Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

Legrottaglie played only for Gimnasia y Esgrima between 1953 and 1974.

2. PELE – 70

THE amount of goals he scored in his career is widely disputed, but officially, Pele scored 70 free-kicks during his amazing career.

His thunderous effort in the 1970 World Cup against Romania – up against a wall that clearly wasn't ten yards away – will go down as one of his greatest goals ever.


THE ultimate king of the free-kick, there can surely be no arguments.

Whether it's a dead-ball from 20 yards out or 40 yards away, in the middle of the goal or by the corner flag, Lyon legend Juninho was always likely to leave the net bulging.

In just eight years at Lyon, the Brazilian scored 44 free-kick goals – more than FIVE per season.

Just check out this thread of his four best Champions League entries…

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