The term set-piece refers to a moment when the ball is returned to open play, particularly in a forward area of the ground. It usually refers to free kicks and corners, but sometimes it also referred to penalties and throw-ins. Most of the goals are scored from such positions, whether directly or indirectly. Thus it is an important skill to defend set-pieces for defenders, and attacking players used to spend much time practicing them. Set pieces are one of the areas where tactics and routines can be worked out in training in advance of matches. Some players specialize in set pieces. Here we will take a look at the top 5 Set-Piece Specialists in Football.
1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi was born on 24 June 1987. He is an Argentine football player who not only plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain but also captains the Argentina team. Messi is undoubtedly the best player in the world and is one of the greatest players of all time. Due to his excellent performance, he has received seven Ballon d’Or awards and six European Golden Shoes. He was also featured in the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020. Messi had played his entire career with Barcelona and won a club-record of 35 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles, and four UEFA Champions Leagues. He has the best goal-scoring abilities due to which he has performed well in all tournaments.
Messi has also scored over 750 career goals for the club and country and has the record of maximum goals by a player for a single club. Messi is the all-time leading goalscorer for Argentina. As part of the team’s captain, he took his Argentina team to three consecutive finals: the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the 2015 and 2016 Copa America. He also won the Golden Ball in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In 2019, Forbes declared Messi the world’s highest-paid athlete. He received the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year in February 2020 and became the first footballer and the first team sports athlete to win the award.
2. James Ward-Prowse
James Ward-Prowse was born on 1 November 1994. He is an English football player who not only plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Southampton but also the England team.
He started playing for the club in October 2011 and became a regular player for Southampton. Further, due to his excellent performance, he captained the team in June 2020. He also achieved the milestone of playing his 300th game for the club In January 2021. James has played for England at under-17, under-19, and under-20 levels. He also started playing in the senior category in March 2017.
3. Trent Alexander-Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold was born on 7 October 1998. He is an English football player who not only plays for Premier League club Liverpool but also for the England team. He is having a good range of passing skills. Therefore, he is one of the best right-backs in world football. He started playing for his senior career matches in 2016, at the age of 18. His performance was notable in back-to-back UEFA Champions League finals in 2018 and 2019.
He also played a crucial role in winning the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. He has been featured twice in the PFA Team of the Year and helped Liverpool in winning the 2019–20 Premier League. Arnold has also played for England at various youth levels and started playing for his senior career in 2018. He was also featured at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
4. Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne was born on 28 June 1991. He is a Belgian football player who not only plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City but also for the Belgium team. He is one of the best players in the world, and fans have often called him a “complete footballer”. De Bruyne started his career at Genk. He was playing in the team when they won the 2010–11 Belgian Pro League. He joined the English club Chelsea in 2012. De Bruyne started playing his international career in 2010, earned over 80 caps and scored 23 goals for Belgium. He played a crucial role in the Belgian team that reached the quarter-finals both at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and at UEFA Euro 2016. He also played for Belgium at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and was featured in the FIFA World Cup Dream Team.
5. Toni Kroos
Toni Kroos was born on 4 January 1990. He is a German football player who plays as a midfielder for the La Liga club Real Madrid. He is one of the best players of his generation for his vision, passing, creativity, and set-piece ability. Kroos started playing his senior club career for Bayern Munich, at the age of 17 in 2007. With Bayern, he played a crucial role in winning two consecutive league titles, a UEFA Champions League title, two DFB-Pokal titles, and played in the league team of the season three times. He moved to Real Madrid in 2014.
Kroos won thirteen trophies, including two La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League titles for Madrid. Further, he featured in the FIFPro World11 and UEFA Team of the Year three times. He received the IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker in 2014 and German Footballer of the Year in 2018.
Why are set pieces important in football?
Set pieces are most important in football as many goals result from such positions, whether scored directly or indirectly. Thus it is an important skill for defenders to defend set-pieces whereas attacking players spend much time practicing them.
Who are set-piece takers?
When a player is a specialist penalty or set-piece taker, it makes them a much bigger prospect in the playing team. The chances of scoring from a free-kick, or a late penalty, can turn into a successful opportunity.
You can refer to the list of GOLDEN GLOVE AWARD WINNERS IN THE FIFA WORLD CUP
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