Who is the free-kick master?
This week, have your say on who is the best direct free-kick taker in the world? If your team had a promising set piece situation in the last minute, with the scores evenly poised, and you could choose any player across the globe to take it, who would you pick?
FIFA.com has decided to give fans even more of a say. Every week, the official FIFA website will throw a subject out for discussion; a topic that supporters are talking about. Then it is up to you to get the debate going. Footballing principles apply of course: play fair and keep it clean and sensible.
Our latest topic is another intriguing one. Goals direct from free-kicks get pulses racing and decorate highlight reels for years to come. The question is: which of the sport's current set piece specialists is a cut above the rest?
Juan Roman Riquelme is certainly a contender, as his identical
pair of mejestically-struck set-pieces in Argentina's recent
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying win over Chile in
Buenos Aires attest. North of the Iguazu River, Riquelme has a
formidable challenger in the shape of Sao Paulo's logic-defying
goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, who netted the 77th goal and 46th
free-kick of his career on Sunday.
Rogerio Ceni's Germany 2006 team-mate Juninho Pernambucano is another of the world's most feared strikers of a static ball, and his adoring Lyon fans have witnessed 30-plus of his free-kicks fly in since 2001. Brazilians are, of course, renowned for their dead ball artistry and alternative candidates include the likes of Barcelona's Ronaldinho and Fenerbahce duo Roberto Carlos and Alex.
Other masters of this category include AC Milan and Italy kingpin Andrea Pirlo and England idol David Beckham, who marked his first start for Los Angeles Galaxy with a trademark free-kick against DC United. Celtic's Japanese ace Shunsuke Nakamura also has a habit of scoring spectacular and significant set pieces, following up his home-and-away double against Manchester United last season by sealing the Scottish title deep into injury time with another dramatic free-kick special.
So who gets your vote - one of the aforementioned players or another of the world's dead ball geniuses?