Every year in FIFA games, some player attributes are more revered and anticipated the most. The fastest players, the best shooters and the dead ball specialists are the most sought after for both career mode and FUT game play by players across the world.
Free kick goals from atrocious angles and unbelievable ranges often top the charts on goals of the week. They are extremely satisfying to score and evoke the best reactions both in the real world of football and the FIFA world. The anticipation, drama and the euphoria around a free kick is unrivaled.
This year, FIFA gives you an early preview of the best set ball specialists and free kick takers in the game. And there are many surprises in store.
Lionel Messi – FC Barcelona (94 FKA)
The unrivaled GOAT of the football world has proven time and again that he is the king of the dead ball. He delivers on the biggest stages and that left foot is almost infallible when it comes to getting the ball to curl past the keeper.
Juninho Pernambucano is the leading free kick scorer in the world with 77 free kicks. Messi is at 52 career free kick goals. Messi has amassed 52 goals in just 10 years whereas Juninho has 20 years as a professional before he reached his undefeated number.
The champions league semi-final free kick against Liverpool and the consequential reaction from Allison and Liverpool’s famed defense shows the quality this man possesses. Though Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 55 free kicks until now in his career, Messi hits the target more often and scores with much greater accuracy and frequency when compared to the Portuguese legend.
FIFA 21 has recognized this and awarded him with a 94 FKA (free kick accuracy) rating. The highest of any player in the game. If you have the wily Argentinian on your squad, you can be sure that you will score some crazy free kick goals that your opponents will never see coming. This combined with 93 Curve, 95 Long Shots and 94 Composure makes him the current dead ball GOAT both in the real and the virtual FIFA world.
Daniel Parejo – Villareal CF (93 FKA)
This Spanish midfield maestro is one of the most criminally underrated football talents in the world. Any team would have in their roster just for his immense ability to deliver the perfect ball or take the perfect direct free kicks in football at the moment.
In the past few seasons, he has contributed to several goals for Villareal. In 363 appearances, he has scored 63 goals and assisted 62. This shows how crucial he is for their team. Playing from a deep midfield holding role, he specializes in not just direct free kicks but is on corner duty and is their main indirect free kick taker too.
He has scored 12 free kick goals in his career, which seems low compared to the likes of Messi or Ronaldo. But his dead ball speciality is utilized in a more diverse manner. This shows in the number of assists he provides and number of key passes he makes from these situations. He is consistently ranked in the top ten key pass makers in La Liga.
His FKA accuracy rating is 93 on FIFA 21
Miralem Pjanić – FC Barcelona (92 FKA)
The player known as il Piccolo Principe (“the Little Prince”) in Italy has been the main-stay free kick taker for Juventus and Roma for the past decade. This dynamic midfielder has had an illustrious career and is considered one of the best dead ball specialists in the world.
Linking up with the likes of Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo, Totti, Dzeko, Dybala and Mandzukic; he has consistently been ranked in the top three assist providers during his time in Serie A.
This consistency has earned him a transfer to Camp Nou in 2020 to play alongside the likes of Messi and Pique.
He has scored 21 direct free kick goals and provided 23 assists from set piece plays, making him one of the most prolific on this list. Juninho, who worked with Pjanic at Lyon described him as the current “best free kick taker in the world.” High praise coming from the undisputed leader.
FIFA 21 ranks him third behind Messi and Parejo with a FKA rating of 92. Combined with a 82 long-shot and 86 Curve – he is a deadly option for both FUT and career mode players looking for a midfielder who can do almost anything.
Enis Bardhi – Levante UD (91 FKA)
A popular name among FIFA regulars, Bardhi has been a highly rated underground midfielder for a long time now. His dead ball exploits on FUT and career mode are very popular and he is a common pick for those looking for a cheap alternative to the top players on this list.
This wily Macedonian is clinical with free kicks. Since his arrival to the Spanish top slight, he has scored 7 direct free kicks in 22 attempts. Messi has taken 54 attempts to score the same 7 goals. This makes Bardhi much more efficient in his attempts. One can argue that with a better team in the future, he might become one of Europe’s best dead ball specialists.
His FIFA 21 FKA is 91. Being only 25, he has a higher ceiling and this number could grow. Coupled with this, he has a Long Shot rating of 84 and Curve of 89. This makes him a formidable marksman from a distance.
Being a 79-overall player, his card is one of the best bargain buys in the game. 79 Pace and great shooting combined with a 78 passing rating makes him a complete attacking mid capable of playing through the center or the left. Cutting inside and shooting or taking shots from the edge of the box, he is your go-to man.
Sebastian Giovinco – Al Hilal SFC (91 FKA)
This Italian veteran is a tested performer on the biggest stages of world football. A consistent Italian national, he is entering the twilight of his career. Plying his trade in Al Hilal SFC Saudi Arabian league, he is not on the top of world football. But put him on top of a free-kick and he will make the net ripple more often than not.
Throughout his career he has been a free-kick expert. And this has been carried over to his new club where he almost scores free-kicks for fun. His ability to bend the ball has been hailed across the globe and has scored 26 direct free kick goals in his career. For Toronto FC he has scored 15 direct free kick goals with a conversion rate of 9.7 percent, much higher than Messi’s 7.7 percent conversion rate in scoring 12 goals in the same period. In fact, he has the best conversion rate in the world and highest number of direct free kick goals since the 2015 season.
His FKA is 92 and is backed by a whopping 90 curve and 80 shot power which make him a formidable dead ball specialist.
Shunsuke Nakamura – Yokohama FC (90 FKA)
This 65 rated Center Attacking Midfielder is the only Silver card player on our list. This is because he is a specialist free kick taker who is 42 years old. His game is built around making key passes and dead ball scenarios.
Plying his trade in the Japanese top-flight J1 League, he often shines when the ball is at the 30-yard range either side of the goal. He has scored 30 free kicks in his 17-year long career and is showing no signs of slowing down
Neymar Jr. Paris Saint-Germain (89 FKA)
The new-age global superstar, Neymar Jr. is one of the most talented players and Brazilians to ever grace European football. With an illustrious career taking him from Santos FC to Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, this unstoppable left winger has often been the center of free kick routines, even during his time at Barcelona. Alongside Messi, he took free kicks that favored right-footed players.
This well-rounded winger who is in the top 5 best players in the world in FIFA 21 overall rankings will be one of the most sought-after cards in FUT. You can be sure to find him deployed as a fulcrum of attack for many online opponents you face.
With 89-rated FKA combined with 88 Curve and 85 Long Shots, his shots will be laser guided to the top corner. Combine this with some of the fastest feet and 94 composure, he will be a joy to play and score with in FIFA 21.
James Ward-Prowse – Southampton (89 FKA)
The mainstay of Southampton’s midfield, Ward-Prowse has established himself one of the best long-range passer and free-kick taker in the premier league. A dynamic midfielder who is often at the thick of Southampton’s play, he takes free kicks from outrageous angles and ranges to try and create chances or hit the target for his team.
The player has publicly stated that he is obsessed with free kicks and spends an hour after training sessions to try and perfect his technique. He has only 5 goals in 5 years from free kicks in the premier league but his value as a set piece specialist cannot be understated as he has created a lot of chances for Southampton’s target men through the years.
The 25-year-old Englishman has been given 89 FKA and 91 Curve which can be lethal from the 30-yard range. He can bend it over the tallest walls and curl it past outstretched gloves for the FIFA faithful in FUT. Being a 79-rated card he can be a cheap alternative to the expensive midfielders and can be a good chemistry asset as well for England-based FUT teams.
Robert Skov – TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (89 FKA)
This Left Wing Back who plays for Hoffenheim has a reputation for being a lethal set play specialist. In recent seasons, he has been consistently setting the Bundesliga alight with his impeccably placed free kick goals too.
This Right Winger who has been retrained as a LWB has been a revelation. At only 24, he has the whole world ahead of him. As an attacker turned defender, he brings the best of both worlds to his game. He is quick and has an eye for goal but is strong and a good tackler too. This makes his cards one of the most rounded in the world. For a 75-rated player, he will be a steal for most FUT squads. His age also gives him a high potential for career mode aspirants.
With 89 FKA and 87 Curve, he can put the ball in the net consistently. With some training he can become a world beater in FIFA 21.
Ruslan Malinovskyi – Atalanta (88 FKA)
The last player on our list plies his trade in Italy with Atalanta B.C. He is a well-rounded midfielder with a great eye for a free kick goal. Having scored 15 direct free kick goals in his career, he is very prolific from dead-ball situations.
This 79-rated midfielder has been given a 88 FKA and 87 Curve which makes him one of the best free-kick takers in Serie A. this will make him a cheap but popular addition to a lot of FUT teams.