When you think of the greatest free-kick taker to grace the Premier League, you automatically think of David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gianfranco Zola and perhaps Thierry Henry.
They were superb free-kick takers, that’s for sure. But there is one unlikely leader when it comes to free-kick conversion rate – by a long way as well.
Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata currently stands as the best free-kick taker the Premier League has ever seen, with 17.9% of his attempts hitting the back of the net.
Someway behind him with 12.2% success is surprisingly Sunderland’s Sebastian Larsson, while former Chelsea forward Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is third (9.7%).
Beckham (9.3%), Nolberto Solano (9%), Thierry Henry (8.3%), Danny Murphy (7.5%), Ryan Giggs (6.8%), Leighton Baines (6.6%) and Laurent Robert (6.5%) make up the top ten.
It’s a complete mix of expected stars and unlikely heroes, but also quite unsurprising when you look back at just how good they were at scoring free-kicks…