The top European league competition have dropped their curtains on the 2020-2021 campaign. The winners and losers in these leagues have been made. However, like many other seasons in the past, the players that makes the winners become more fearsome and loathe-some are yet to be revealed except highest goal scorer which is quite obvious in so many leagues. 

More so, the designation of the best dead ball specialist is not award given to a player but it’s a remark that embodied an attribute that gives a team some hope and certainty to come out each match with some points at the least. 

However, so many occasions will a player be remembered or reference because of their specialize attribute towards free kick taken and such is Juninho Penambukano which is revered by many as the greatest free kick taker of all time but he is not too far from David Beckham who is considered to be the Premier League’s greatest free-kick taker and one of the best free kick taker of all time.

However, Lionel Messi and Cristiano horning and reviving the free kick rivalry every season, the fondness and sweetness of the football fans toward the special free kick taking is now on the high side of the game. 

Although, the wall placing strategy has been improved, while each team have found a way to block the path of football going into their net but lying down and setting a very high wall, but some brilliancy cannot be overshadowed in spite of the increment in the free kick defense understanding by the teams. 

People quickly write off the essence of free kick specialist as a luxury and as opposed to a necessity but players who can threaten from dead-ball situations on every instance are just the proof that there is value in having a dead ball specialist in every team’s rank. 

Placing the ball into the top corner from 30-yards or in front of the box-18 isn’t just down to some luck or inability of the opposing team to deflect the ball out of their net. Some of the best players in football history built their reputation on being able to bend the ball past a goalkeeper. Or a direct volley that struck like a thunder.  

Just ask David Beckham in his prime or Riyad Mahrez who combined techniques and power to give Manchester United the advantage over PSG in their UEFA Champions league match. However, below are the players who have shown the best as the best free kick taker in 2020/2021 season. 

James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse

It was a fairy story for the Southampton when the season began to take shape and at the center of their advance was James Ward-Prowse, the Englishman was an architect of beautiful football in the heart of the Saint beautiful time. James Ward-Prowse has scored some free kicks that just shouldn’t have been at the back of the net. 

He can be so defiant like that and having to registered 50% of his total Premier League from the free kick is a breath-taking dead ball attainment. Although, as the season wind down, the Englishman has not been at the prime while he registered no direct free kick goals since the turn of the year 2021.

However, not so long ago, in the beginning of the season to be precise, the goal keeper always fancy their luck when the Saint captain began to line up for free kick which only meant that the goalkeeper would have to fetch the ball from the back of the net.

Sergej Milinkovic Savic

Sergej Milinkovic Savic

The best free kick specialist in the 2020/2021 season of Italian Seri-A with four goals, despite Serie-A free kick talent pool of Cristiano Ronaldo, Alexandre Kolarov Dries Marten and Insigne. It has been the Lazio man that came out as the most prolific free kick taker in the league. 

More so, it was going to be an outstanding season for Lazio to repeat their last season blazing form but the Serbian international has always been a light in the middle of the pack for the Stadio Olimpico outfit club. 

Sergej has been linked with a move to Manchester United before, but, Real Madrid and some other big club among the European top five league have equally shown their interest in the Serbian international and while Lazio has failed to qualify for Champions League, Millinkovic Savic might just be plying his trade in another pond of club come next season.

However, he did his price tag no harm with a curling set-piece goal in when his Lazio encounter Napoli in Serie A match. Lazio may have already been 4-1 down but the third foreign player to win 100 league matches with Lazio wasn’t likely to turn down the opportunity to score. 

And, lining up the free-kick and ignoring the Napoli player lying down behind the wall, the Serbian bent his effort over the wall and past the despairing dive of Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret.

More so, from the dead ball, the specialized attribute that the Spanish born Serbian international brought to the team ensures that on many occasions, Lazio end a match with some point and many of his free kicks has earn Lazio more points in this campaign than normal, thus his influence with his free kick cannot be fully emphasized. 

Neymar Jr

The Brazilian has future has always been questionable at the beginning of the season or towards the end of the season, while Real Madrid has always opined to have is service, Barcelona on the other hand has always wish to reconnect with their former talisman. 

More so, the influence that the Brazilian pose on the ball is quite much and, on his day, not a single defender in world football can pin him down without been dribbled or disgraced by the former Santos winger. 

Neymar who switch his allegiance to the Paris club in 2017 has been a revelation in these seasons past and while he has shaken off his injury crisis, Paris Saint-Germain has began to reap the reward of their over £200 million price asset with which he guided the Les Perisen to their first ever Champions League final against Bayern season and while they bow out to Manchester City in this season semifinal. 

However, Neymar beyond his entertaining and flair full play, his ability with dead ball and free kick to be precise is top notch and can rival any player on earth this season, with more than three direct free kick for the Les Perisen in 2020/2021 season Neymar is among the free kick specialist in the just concluded season. 

Lionel Messi 

Lionel Messi 

Lionel Messi did not start off as a free kick specialist. It’s just another skill that he picked up on his way to greatness. The Argentina international can be considered to be among the best free kick taker in the history of football. But would he have become the greatest free kick taker ahead of Juninho, if he had better muster up the free kick techniques from the genesis of his career? 

Perhaps the greatest player of all time ahead of Pele and Maradona, but his lack of international silverware has always come in between him and the greatest ever but he might perhaps be the greatest modern-day footballer alongside Cristiano Ronaldo! Lionel Messi has been the best free kick taker in Europe for a while now and while he has overtaken Cristiano Ronaldo as the active footballer with the most free-kick goal is quite amazing. 

He has scored an incredible 50 direct free kick goals for Barcelona. He has already scored 2 this season with 5 in 2019/2020 season and 8 each in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. Those are ridiculous figures. But then again almost all the figures that exemplify Messi’s greatness are ridiculous.

Although he had been denied by the wall, cross bar and goal many occasions, but the ability to find the goal keeping weak spot in his direct freekick approach has exemplify the Argentine wizard as one of the deadliest free kick takers and not in this season alone but throughout the football history. Lionel Messi is nearly unstoppable from free kicks and when he decides to find the top bins from set-pieces, goalkeepers often end up being mere spectators.

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