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Top 10 Set-Piece Takers in Football (2024)

Set pieces are a major part of football. Matches can be won or lost through set-pieces, be it penalties, free kicks, throw-ins, or corner kicks. Delivering the perfect balls in set-piece situations requires a specialist.

In modern times, teams now recognise how effective and lethal set pieces can be to threaten or break down oppositions, especially teams who love parking the bus.

TOP SOCCER BLOG brings you the top 10 set-piece takers in football in 2024.

1. James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse best set-piece takers in football LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 2: James Ward-Prowse of West Ham takes a free kick during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion at London Stadium on January 2, 2024 in London, England.
(Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Ward-Prowse might not be getting the global recognition that he deserves, but English Premier League fans are very familiar with him.

The English midfielder is arguably the most dangerous direct free-kick taker in the EPL.

He is a dead-ball specialist who delivers pin-point and extremely dangerous balls from various set-piece situations.

Pep Guardiola referred to Ward-Prowse as the best free-kick taker that he has ever seen.

At the time of this writing, Ward-Prowse had already scored 3 goals from set-pieces, the most in the Premier League in the 2022/23 season

James Ward-Prowse completed a transferto West Ham United on August 14, 2023, with the Premier League club securing him on a four-year deal for a reported fee of £30 million.

2. Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold best full-backs in the world LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield on August 19, 2023 in Liverpool, England.
(Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Alexander-Arnold is one of the players who have revolutionised the full-back role in the modern game.

The Liverpool defender is famous for his overlapping runs, long balls, wicked crosses, perfect set-piece deliveries, and assists.

He is not just one of the best right-backs in football, but one of the best playmakers.

Despite being a defender, TAA has the ability to greatly influence matches.

3. Hakan Çalhanoğlu

Hakan Çalhanoğlu best midfielders in Serie A
(Photo by Mattia Ozbot – Inter/Inter via Getty Images)

Since his days at Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan, the Turkish playmaker has been known as a master set-piece taker.

Now at Inter, Hakan has been assigned the role of taking set-pieces ahead of the more established stars at San Siro, and he has proven worthy of the task.

Even most of his goals from open plays are screamers.

4. Joshua Kimmich

Joshua Kimmich top defensive midfielders MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 27: Joshua Kimmich of Bayern Muenchen runs with a ball during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern München and FC Augsburg at Allianz Arena on August 27, 2023 in Munich, Germany.
(Photo by Christina Pahnke – sampics/Corbis via Getty Images)

Kimmich seems to be good at everything on the pitch; from being converted seamlessly from a defender to a midfielder to dictating games, the German has also proven to be very good at set-pieces from long and short-range free kicks to corners.

And his deliveries are always dangerous for opposition teams to defend against.

He is undoubtedly among the best defensive midfielders in the world.

5. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne best set-piece takers in the world BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City makes his way to take a corner kick during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Manchester City at Brentford Community Stadium on February 05, 2024 in Brentford, England.
(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

De Bruyne is one of the best midfielders in the world and is extremely good at all he does.

He has incredible passing ranges and scores beautiful goals.

The Belgian is equally adept in set pieces, from delivering pin-perfect crosses or finding the corner by himself.

Kevin De Bruyne has been said to be the one of the best playmakers in football right now.

6. Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos best set-piece takers in football Toni Kroos of Real Madrid is kicking the ball during the La Liga EA Sports match between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at Stadium Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain, on February 4, 2024.
(Photo by DAX Images/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Toni Kroos has established himself among the best set-piece takers in the world for more than a decade now.

From long-range free kicks, corners, long balls, and swingers, the Real Madrid midfield stalwart is a specialist.

The German midfielder is also one of the best passers in football.

7. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi football players with the most free-kick goals
(Photo by Juan Mabromata – Pool/Getty Images)

Messi just seems to be the best at everything he tries.

The former Barcelona star is the most dangerous player in the world when it comes to direct free-kicks around the penalty box.

He isn’t topping this list simply because he hasn’t found his groove at PSG this season, but you can never rule out Messi when a direct free kick pops up around the penalty box.

With 65 free-kick goals scored in his career, Lionel Messi currently sits at sixth among the players with the most free-kick goals in history.

8. Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes best midfielders in the world MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Manchester United and RC Lens at Old Trafford on August 05, 2023 in Manchester, England.
(Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Fernandes has been Manchester United’s best player since joining them from Sporting Lisbon.

He has been involved in the most goals since then.

Although most of Bruno’s set pieces are penalties (which he is so good at), his delivery from free-kicks are also dangerous and regularly serves as a means for United to score, and the Portuguese sometimes goes for goal directly by himself too.

Bruno Fernandes has established himself as not just one of the best set-piece takers in the world, but also one of the best midfielders in football.

9. Dani Parejo

Dani Parejo best passers in football

Parejo has been a good set-piece specialist since his days at Valencia. Now at Villareal, he seems to be getting better at the art.

Not only La Liga fans are aware of Parejo’s dead-ball skills but also followers of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.

The Spanish midfield maestro is one of the most underrated footballers right now.

He is known for his accuracy and precision when taking free-kicks and corners, and he has scored many goals from set-pieces throughout his career.

10. Cristiano Ronaldo 

Cristiano Ronaldo soccer players with the most free-kick goals
(Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as one of the best set-piece takers in football at the moment.

His technique and precision have earned him a reputation as a deadly free-kick taker, and he has scored numerous goals from set-pieces throughout his career.

One of the reasons for his success is his ability to generate a lot of power and spin on the ball, which makes it difficult for goalkeepers to save.

Ronaldo scored a stunning free-kick from 35 yard out to lead Al Nassr FC’s comeback victory over Abha in the Saudi Pro League (SPL) earlier this year.

He is one of the most lethal penalty-takers in football.


  • Jorginho
  • Mason Mount
  • Ilkan Gundogan
  • James Maddison
  • Reece James
  • Neymar
  • Martin Odegaard
  • Eberechi Eze
  • David Alaba
  • Riyad Mahrez
  • Marcos Alonso
  • Mohammed Salah
  • Robert Lewandowski
  • Julian Alvarez

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