Friday afternoon question: Who’s the best free kick taker?
The above question came up in Mark’s blog about Del Piero (see below) and it stuck in my mind after my colleague Andre Assier interviewed Juninho this week.
Here’s an extract from Andre’s piece, which you can read in full here:
Olympique Lyon’s dead ball specialist Juninho scored his 40th free kick goal for the club against Steaua Bucharest in a Champions League game on Wednesday to make his mark on the French side’s scoring records.
The strike in a 2-0 home win meant the Brazilian midfielder joined compatriot Sonny Anderson as the club’s all-time top scorer in European competition with 16 by netting his 94th goal in all competitions for the French champions.
“I knew the goalkeeper would try and anticipate on one side so I just shot and wrongfooted him,” the 33-year-old told Reuters in an interview.
So, to get back to the question in hand, is Juninho the best free kick taker out there, or is Mark right in plumping for Del Piero?
It’s interesting that from January, AC Milan will have three of the best dead ball specialists, at least by repute. David Beckham, Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo will all be lining up for Milan in the New Year, meaning a lot of pushing and shoving when free kicks are awarded, I’d expect.
If the field is limited to the players already mentioned, I’d go for Juninho, but then again, I bet there are loads of other gifted free kick takers out there who just don’t get the credit that goes to that Famous Five.
So who deserves to be on the list? And is there anyone better than Juninho? Let us know in the comments.
PHOTO: Olympique Lyon’s Juninho (L) celebrates after scoring against Steaua Bucharest during their Champions League soccer match at the Gerland stadium in Lyon, Nov. 5, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Pratta