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Everybody loves a goal from a free-kick, whether witnessing the ball curl gracefully into the top corner or seeing it struck with such unstoppable power that even those watching on TV cannot help but flinch.

Over the years, Europe has been blessed with some top free-kick specialists; David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Juninho and Roberto Carlos to name just a few. But one thing fans don’t seem to be able to agree on is who was, and is, the best free-kick taker in Europe?

Naturally, the player who takes the most free-kicks will have the better chance of scoring the most goals from them. For example, Lionel Messi (13) has scored more free-kick goals than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues since 2015 – but the Barcelona forward has also taken more than any other player with 134 efforts.

But which player, to have scored at least five free-kicks in Europe’s top five leagues since August 2015, has the best conversion rate? Read on below to find out more.

10. Simone Verdi (11%)

Club: Napoli
Position: Winger

Free kicks taken: 44
Free kicks scored: 5

Simone Verdi is yet to score a free-kick for his new club Napoli since joining in the summer but the Italian international is fairly consistent with his efforts scoring five in the past three years.

9. Neymar (11%)

Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Position: Winger

Free kicks taken: 44
Free kicks scored: 5

Neymar has been trying to usurp Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world for a few years now and with 11% conversion rate from free-kicks, the Brazilian is slowly on his way.

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8. Federico Viviani (13%)

Club: SPAL
Position: Defensive midfielder

Free kicks taken: 38
Free kicks scored: 5

Thoug not a traditional attacking player, SPAL’s summer-signing Federico Viviani has proven himself to be a danger from set pieces, scoring five of his 38 free-kick attempts in Serie A for the likes of Hellas Verona, Bologna and SPAL.

7. Miralem Pjanic (14%)

Club: Juventus
Position: Central midfielder

Free kicks taken: 59
Free kicks scored: 8

Only Lionel Messi has scored more free-kick goals in Europe’s top five leagues since August 2015 than Miralem Pjanic. But the Bosnian, who joined Juventus from Roma in 2016, has an impressive conversion rate scoring with 14% of his efforts.

6. Nabil Fekir (14%)

Club: Lyon
Position: Attacking midfielder

Free kicks taken: 36
Free kicks scored: 5

One of Lyon’s many main men last season, Fekir’s all-round game is very impressive and the Frenchman is just as dangerous from dead-ball situations as he is from open play, converting 14% of his free-kicks since August 2015.

5. Marvin Plattenhardt (14%)

Club: Hertha Berlin
Position: Left-back

Free kicks taken: 35
Free kicks scored: 5

In the past, left-backs have proven themselves to be a dab hand at taking free-kicks and with Marvin Plattenhardt it is no different. The Hertha Berlin defender has taken 35 free-kicks since August 2015, scoring five of them.

4. Coutinho (19%)

Club: Barcelona
Position: Attacking midfielder

Free kicks taken: 26
Free kicks scored: 5

Though his free-kick opportunities have dwindled since moving to Barcelona from Liverpool for £146m, Philippe Coutinho is still a useful alternative for the Blaugrana in Messi’s absence. The Brazilian may have only scored five free-kicks in the past three years, but they have come from just 26.

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3. Paulo Dybala (20%)

Club: Juventus
Position: Forward

Free kicks taken: 40
Free kicks scored: 8

The main man at Juventus when it comes to free-kicks, Paulo Dybala is level on goals with teammate Pjanic behind only Messi since August 2015. But the Argentine has taken just 40 attempts, scoring an impressive one from every five.

2. Antoine Griezmann (22%)

Club: Atletico Madrid
Position: Forward

Free kicks taken: 23
Free kicks scored: 5

The second-most clinical free-kick taker in Europe is a name with which you’ll be familiar. World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann has scored five of his 23 free-kick attempts, including one this season against Leganes.

1. Enis Bardhi (24%)

Club: Levante
Position: Winger

Free kicks taken: 25
Free kicks scored: 6

Perhaps a slight surprise as the number one free-kick taker in Europe’s top five leagues since August 2015, Macedonian winger Enis Bardhi has scored six of his 25 attempts despite only joining Levante last summer.

The post Ranked: the top 10 most clinical free-kick takers in Europe’s top five leagues appeared first on Squawka News.

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