Lionel Messi leads the list for most free-kick goals by active footballers
On June 15, 2021, Lionel Messi’s 33rd minute free-kick against Chile in a 1-1 draw at the Copa America 2021 took the Argentine ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in the list for most free-kick goals by an active footballer. That goal was Messi’s 57th free-kick goal for club and country.
A couple of weeks later, Messi produced a Man of the Match performance by scoring once and assisting twice in his team’s 3-0 win over Ecuador in the quarter-final of Copa America 2021.
The 34-year-old scored through a freekick to take his tally to 58 free-kick goals. Of those 58 goals, 50 have come for Barcelona while eight have come for his national side.
Messi’s figure of 58 free-kick goals is just four shy of Diego Maradona’s total of 62 goals from direct free-kicks. That number, however, is considerably lower than former Lyon and Brazil midfielder, Juninho Pernambucano, who has scored the most free-kick goals in football history.
During his two-decade-long career, Juninho scored 77 free-kicks for club and country. Second on the list is Brazilian legend Pele, who netted 70 goals from direct free-kicks.
Interestingly, modern day greats Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (56) are not even in the top-10 list for footballers with most goals via free-kick. Former Brazil and Sao Paulo goalkeeper, Rogerio Ceni is 10th on the list for most free-kick goals (59) in football history.
Most free-kick goals in football history
As far as active footballers are concerned, no one comes close to the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Thei r immediate competition is the new Inter Milan signing, Hakan Calhanoglu, who has scored 27 goals via direct-free kicks. Barcelona’s Miralem Pjanic (26) and Inter’s Aleksander Kolarov (22) complete the top-five list.
Featured photo: AFP / Juan Mabromata