When it comes to artistry and sheer individual brilliance, there’s nothing quite like a cracking free-kick, is there?
English football has been lucky enough to bear witness to the likes of David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and more recently James Ward-Prowse over the years, all of whom possess supreme quality that very few can replicate.
To celebrate the very best at their trade, 90min spins you through the players who have scored the most free-kicks in Premier League history.
Whether it has been in blue or red, Mata has scored some very important free-kicks for both Chelsea and Manchester United.
The Spaniard has eight to his name, with precision and accuracy taking the fore over raw power.
When Christian Eriksen turned up at Tottenham, the Lilywhites knew they had a real player on their hands.
The Dane not only became one of the Premier League’s top playmakers, he forged a reputation as a composed and confident dead-ball specialist.
He whipped in eight during his time at Spurs, also earning a place in the ‘scored two free-kicks in one game’ club.
Former Newcastle and Aston Villa fan-favourite Nolberto Solano scored nine Premier League free-kicks, and was one of those players that you winced at seeing over a dead-ball – if you were the opposition.
The Peruvian was unerringly accurate and formed one half of the most lethal set piece combination duos ever seen alongside teammate Laurent Robert. More on him later.
Jamie Redknapp is fondly remembered for being part of Liverpool’s late 90s ‘Spice Boys’ brigade, as well for his love affair with injuries.
But what most don’t realise is that he was pretty handy over set pieces, netting nine throughout the course of his career – including one against Blackburn on the final day of the 1994/95 season, that could have cost them the title had Manchester United been able to beat West Ham.
Most free-kick specialists are known for their precision, but Lampard’s game was oriented around power.
A Chelsea legend, he scored nine times when presented with the opportunity to strike at goal, in a career that will never be forgotten at Stamford Bridge.
It’s not often your best free-kick taker is also your left-back. But for Leeds United, that was very much the case.
Ian Harte is regarded by many as the best free-kick taking defender in the history of the Premier League – and with more goals than Lampard from dead-ball situations outside the box, you can see why.
The Norwegian midfielder scored some belting free-kicks for Blackburn Rovers from long-range, with his wand of a left foot becoming legendary in Lancashire.
He also had great Thunderbirds like hair, which is always a winner.
Remember we mentioned Laurent Robert earlier?
Good, because it’s now time to remember a player who had the most powerful left foot in Premier League history (possibly).
The Frenchman scored 11 during his stay on Tyneside, and one can only imagine how many he’d have netted if he hadn’t been job sharing with Solano…
Cristiano Ronaldo will be remembered for many, many, many things for many, many, many years to come, but one moment that will always stand out is his spectacular ‘knuckleball’ strike against Portsmouth.
Revolutionising the art of striking a ball, he inspired a generation of players to completely alter the way free-kicks are approached.
Numbers wise, he bagged 11 for United, and is another member of the two in one match club, doing so against Stoke in 2008.
Historically, the Premier League has been somewhat of an unhappy place for Sunderland fans.
Sure, they’ve had their highs, but many other lows have often outweighed the good times. In the case of Sebastian Larsson, his time at the club provided many free-kick highs – with his figure on Wearside, combined with a stint at Birmingham, also taking him to 11.
There’s not many things more beautiful than a Gianfranco Zola free-kick, which would typically be glided into the top corner with effortless ease.
The Italian scored 12 during his eight-year stay at Chelsea, establishing himself as one of the finest imports ever seen in the Premier League.
It’s easy to forget about Thierry Henry’s free-kick ability considering how great of an all-round goalscorer he was.
With incredible technique and power, he’s among the very best we’ve ever seen – and once had the audacity to quickly catch out Petr Cech when he was organising his Chelsea wall.
Real va-va-voom, that.
Not only is James Ward-Prowse certain to go down as a club legend at Southampton, he’s already usurped Matt Le Tissier as the club’s greatest dead ball exponent.
Against Aston Villa, he became just the ninth player to score two free-kicks in one match, arching two superb efforts over the hosts’ wall and into the top corner.
Six clear of anyone else in Premier League history, there’s never been a more successful free-kick taker than David Beckham.
‘Golden Balls’ as we affectionately came to know him was the first genuine superstar of the set piece, known worldwide for the whip, dip and spin he could generate on the ball.
His technique was one of refined beauty, and he remains the man that everybody wants to emulate when they stand 25 yards away from goal.