Who has scored the most free kick goals in football history?

Who has scored the most free kick goals in football history? There have been some brilliant free kick takers over the decades, and we have done the research so you do not have to to find the very best.

All free kick goal records are correct as of 3rd April 2024, as we take you through a list of the top five…

Ronaldo scored an incredible free kick against Arsenal in the Champions League – Photo by Icon Sport

Who has scored the most free kick goals in football history? – The top five

5. Cristiano Ronaldo – 63 free kick goals

We all know Ronaldo likes a strike from outside of the box, and he comes fifth on the list with a commendable 63 free kick goals, and counting. The Portuguese has scored a stunning 673 senior goals for club and country combined, meaning that around 9.4% of his goals have come from free kicks.

Some of Ronaldo's best free kicks include the knuckle ball he scored against Portsmouth in the Premier League, as well as an outrageous strike in the UEFA Champions League against Arsenal from quite a distance. Nonetheless, Ronaldo is one of the best strikers of the ball football has ever seen.

=4. Lionel Messi & David Beckham – 65 free kick goals

Joint-fourth for most free kick goals are Ronaldo's arch rival Messi, as well as set-piece specialist Beckham. Messi is behind Ronaldo in terms of total goals in his senior career so far, but still boasting a formidable 613 to his name. That means roughly 10.6% of his goals have come from free kicks, a higher percentage than Ronaldo's.

In terms of Beckham, he did not quite put up the same kind of freak numbers that Messi and Ronaldo have, but still managed a respectable 114 goals from midfield for both club and country. This means around 57% of his goals came from free kicks, highlighting a true master at work.

One of Messi's best free kicks came in the Champions League against Liverpool, where FC Barcelona were famously pegged back 4-0 in the second leg after holding a 3-0 advantage in the first. There are plenty of Beckham's free kicks to watch and admire, but a crucial one came for England against Greece in 2001, a late piece of magic that sent the Three Lions to the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

=3. Ronaldinho & Victor Legrotaglie – 66 free kick goals

Just ahead of Messi and Beckham are two players renowned for their ability from free kicks, one player perhaps a lot lesser-known than the other. Ronaldinho is the star every football fan knows, as the Brazilian trickster scored 238 goals in total for club and country, meaning roughly 27.7% of his goals came from free kicks.

The other player joint with Ronaldinho is Legrotaglie, who played his football in the mid-20th century. The Argentine predominantly played football in his home country, and was known for being a free kick specialist. Sadly, he passed away in March this year at the age of 86.

Footage of Legrotaglie in action is hard to come by, but many fans will remember Ronaldinho gracing a football pitch, including his free kicks. Unfortunately for England fans, a spectacular one came against them for Brazil at the 2002 World Cup, a game in which Ronaldinho spearheaded his country to victory.

2. Pele – 70 free kick goals

The greatest player of all time in some fans' eyes, Brazilian legend Pele features second on the list. Nobody has managed to match his 683 senior goals for club and country, although Ronaldo is only 10 behind. That means around 10.2% of his goals have come from free kicks.

Some of his most memorable ones have come in a Brazil shirt on the biggest stage, notably against Mexico in the 1970 World Cup, which Brazil went on to win with perhaps the greatest international team ever seen.

1. Juninho Pernambucano – 77 free kick goals

The undisputed greatest free kick taker of all time tag has to belong to Juninho, considering that he has scored the most of any player in history. The Brazilian scored 179 goals in total for club and country at senior level, meaning that roughly 43% of his goals came from free kicks.

The midfielder could score from all angles, with the ball tending to dip into the corners late given the unique way he could strike the ball. One of his best came for Lyon against Barcelona in the Champions League, and he scored many on the biggest of occasions.


Adam is a lead writer on Football Whispers. He is a big Arsenal fan, and also follows his local club Wealdstone, made famous by The Wealdstone Raider, of whom he has interviewed. Adam also follows darts, boxing, cricket and tennis, among many other sports.