How many free Kicks has Messi scored ? Footballers with most free-kick goals ever, ft. Messi, Ronaldo, Pele & Maradona

How many free kicks has messi scored ? Lionel Messi has done it again. The pint-sized Argentinian scored another free-kick in a World Cup qualifying match against Ecuador, and it proved vital seeing as his set-piece effort was the only goal of match.

The defending men’s World Cup champions kicked off their qualification campaign with all the spoils against Ecuador, though it took a moment of magic from their key man to manage it. With 13 minutes of normal time left to spare, Messi took centre stage as they had won a free-kick outside the box.

Ecuador’s five-man wall jump in unison but had no luck stopping the magician from plucking a spectacular effort from his box of tricks. The Argentine curled his free-kick over the wall and found the back of the net with ease, as Edcuador’s short-stopper Hernan Galindez was left dumbfounded.

In jubilation, Messi sprinted away in full celebration as he knew he had come up clutch to earn his nation an all-important three points. You can view it in all its glory below.

Messi has now scored 65 free-kicks in his career, but how does his tally compare to the best free-kick takers in football history? In 2021, The Sun named the footballers to have racked up the most free-kick goals ever. We have updated their list following Messi’s brilliance for his new side Inter Miami and his continued prominence for Argentina

12. Rogerio Ceni – 59

Ceni was a goalkeeper. We repeat: Ceni was a goalkeeper! The Brazilian was a set-piece master who took both penalties and free-kicks. He hit the back of the net 131 times during his 22-year spell with Sao Paulo.

Ceni, who failed to score in his 17 appearances for Brazil, told ESPN’s Gabriele Marcotti in 2005: “It’s not even football. It’s striking a ball. It’s two things: physics, because you have to hit the ball properly, and psychology, because you have to know where to put it. And you have to remain calm. But many more people could do it, if only, like me, they had the courage [to try].”

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how many free kicks has messi scored

11. Marcelinho Carioca – 59

Marcelinho spent most of his career in Brazil, He turned out for the likes of Flamengo, Corinthians, Santos and Vasco de Gama. Speaking about the art of free-kicks to Globoesporte, he said, per PlanetFootball: “The key is getting it on target and letting the ‘keeper deal with it. Repetition leads to perfection.”

10. Ronald Koeman – 60

Koeman’s tally is extremely impressive given he was largely a defensive-minded player. He scored 239 career goals, meaning just over a quarter were from free kicks. His most famous free-kick goal came in the 1992 European Cup final between Barcelona and Sampdoria. The Dutchman’s fierce effort in the 112th minute proved to be the difference and ensured Barca were crowned champions of Europe for the first time.

9. Cristiano Ronaldo – 60

Ronaldo scored an extraordinary amount of free-kicks using his knuckle ball technique towards the start of his career. His prowess from free-kicks have dwindled as he has got older but the Portuguese legend managed to score two in the space of five days in March 2023. He whacked one in for Al Nassr in their Saudi Pro League match against Abha before scoring another in Portugal’s Euro 2024 qualifying match against Liechtenstein.

At the time of writing, per, Ronaldo has scored a free-kick every 19.5 games during his career. He is one of just two active players on the list. Ronaldo, now 38, could move into the top five before he hangs up his boots.

8. Zico – 62

Zico enjoyed an outstanding career. He is the fifth top goal scorer in Brazil’s history, having hit the back of the net 48 times for his country. Zico’s technique was simple – he would take a short run-up and often attempt to curl the ball over the wall and into the goal.

“It’s magic, because at that moment everybody is watching and waiting for you,” Zico said of the anticipation that came before every free-kick he stood over, per Bleacher Report.

7. Diego Maradona – 62

Maradona could do almost everything with a football. He was a free-kick specialist among many other things. Fernando Signorini, Argentina’s fitness coach at the 2010 World Cup, revealed how Maradona helped Messi become the free-kick specialist he is today.

“In February 2009, just a few months after Maradona took over as coach of the national team, we played a friendly against a local team in Marseille,” Signorini wrote in his biography, Call to Rebellion, per the Daily Mail. “We practised the day before and, after the session, Javier Mascherano, Carlos Tevez and Messi stayed behind for shooting practice.

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“Messi put the ball down and looked up at the goal slightly to his left. When he struck the ball it went some way over the bar to the goalkeeper’s right. He was annoyed and headed towards the dressing room passing me as he went. I said, ‘Are you going to go and shower after that rubbish? Stop getting annoyed, go and get a ball and try again’.”

Signorini says Maradona overheard the conversation, put his arm around Messi’s shoulder and gave his some advice. “Don’t hurry the shot so much, slow your swing down, because if not the ball does not know what you want it to do,” Maradona is said to have told him.

6. Lionel Messi – 65

Messi’s latest free-kick goal for his nation has now drawn him joint-level with renowned set-piece specialist David Beckham, who coincidentally is the owner of Messi’s club Inter Miami. Since joining his new employers, Messi has scored 11 goals and notched a further five assists in his opening 11 games, with two of his goals coming in free-kick form.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has turned taking free kicks into an art and still has some years in his locker to overtake those left above him in the list. Messi’s free-kick marked his 29th goal in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying matches which ties him up with his former Barcelona teammate Luis Suárez.

5. David Beckham – 65

Beckham is the most prolific free-kick taker from Europe in football history. Arguably his most famous free-kick goal came for England against Greece in 2001.

The Three Lions needed at least a draw to qualify for the 2002 World Cup but were trailing 2-1 in injury time. England were given a free-kick roughly 30 yards out with time rapidly running out. Beckham stepped up and he curled an unstoppable effort into the top corner.

4. Ronaldinho – 66

Arguably Ronaldinho’s most famous free-kick came for Brazil against England at the 2002 World Cup. Ronaldinho caught David Seaman – as well as everyone watching at home – off guard when he had a go from an acute angle. His effort looped over Seaman and into the top corner. But did he mean it?

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Ronaldinho told FIFA, per the Mirror: “When I hit the ball I wanted to shoot for goal – but maybe not exactly where the ball ended up. If I’m being totally honest, I was aiming for the other side of the net. You can’t say that [it was a fluke] because I was aware of the ‘keeper’s position and went for the shot at goal. The fact that it did not go in exactly as I planned is secondary to the fact that I was having a go.

“What basically happened is that I hit my shot too hard and, as it travelled through the air, it swerved more and ended up looping over Seaman. There was nothing he could do about it and I suppose there was an element of luck involved… but a goal is a goal!”

3. Victor Legrottaglie – 66

Legrottaglie spent his whole career in Argentina. While he never represented his country, to have scored more free-kicks than Maradona and Beckham, as well as the same amount as Ronaldinho, is some achievement.

how many free kicks has messi scored

2. Pele – 70

Pele’s goal tally from free-kicks is yet another reminder of just how good he was. The football legend had the ability to strike the ball into the back of the net with power while he could also bend the ball both ways.

1. Juninho Pernambucano – 77

Juninho is the free-kick GOAT (greatest of all-time), and that will remain the case for a long while yet. He spoke about his prowess from free-kicks in an interview with FourFourTwo in 2018. He said: “I was always great at shooting, but as a child I didn’t have enough power to score free-kicks. I played futsal until I was 13 and didn’t really score much, but it was around then that I started to take some free-kicks. The wall was too close, though, so it was rare that I’d hit the goal. It wasn’t until I got to France that I mastered my technique.”

Despite his tally, Juninho doesn’t think he’s the greatest free-kick taker ever. He added: “It’s nice to hear admiration, although I don’t really believe it – how can you measure that? What I feel is that my work was worth it. I gave everything I had – sometimes even more than my body could take. There’s only ever the best free-kick-taker of the moment, so maybe there was a moment in which I was the best at it, but that’s all. How can I claim that I’m any better than David Beckham or Sinisa Mihajlovic?”

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