In any iteration of FIFA, having a quality free kick taker in the starting line up can make the world of difference to the end result of the match. After all, it only takes on well-placed set piece to turn a draw into a win. However, picking up a player who specialises in dead-ball delivery can sometimes prove tricky, and FIFA 18 will no doubt be a similar story.
Thankfully, the game has its fair share of players who can let rip with a killer shot from the edge of the box. Although FIFA 18 might have acclaimed free kick taker Cristiano Ronaldo as its cover star this time around, there are other stars in the game more adept from outside the box. Here’s a rundown of the best free kick takers that can be found in the latest entry of EA Sports’ soccer series.
10. Memphis Depay
Even from the start of his career at PSV Eindhoven, the quality of Memphis Depay was clear for many to see, resulting in a big money move to Manchester United in 2015. Although that move did not quite take off, Memphis moved to Lyon back in 2017, and scored a perhaps career-defining goal from near the halfway line back in March. That kind of precision shows through in FIFA 18, where he ranks highly when it comes to quality free kicks.
9. Shunsuke Nakamura
Nakamura has certainly had a varied career, playing everywhere from his home Japanese league through to well-known clubs such as Celtic and Reggina, and almost every step of the way his ability in dead-ball situations has been clear for all to see. FIFA 18 is no exception, either, and Nakamura will be a quality choice for set pieces in spite of his lower overall rating and weaker defensive and speed statistics.
8. Gylfi Sigurdsson
Recently subject to a big-money move to Everton, with the Icelander moving to the Liverpool-based club for a fee of £40 million plus £5 million in add-ons, Sigurdsson made a name for himself in the English Premier League in part due to his quality with free kicks. Here in FIFA 18, that ability is mirrored perfectly, so those facing up against a Sigurdsson free kick in the game will certainly need to watch out.
7. Marvin Plattenhardt
Although Hertha BSC’s Marvin Plattenhardt might not be the first name on a FIFA fan’s lips when it comes to well-known players, the left back is certainly someone to look for when it comes to a dangerous delivery. Indeed, all of his career goals have come from free kicks, so Plattenhardt definitely has the knack when it comes to set pieces.
6. Lionel Messi
There has been a long-running debate among football fans as to whether Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo is the better player, and it’s worth noting that only one of them makes this list. Apparently, not only does Messi avoid that awkward FIFA 18 Cristiano Ronaldo celebration, but the game also ranks him higher when it comes to free kick delivery. The Barcelona ace certainly has the skills in real life, and clearly those over at EA Sports want the game to continue to reflect this ability.
5. Daniel Parejo
A product of Real Madrid’s youth academy, Daniel Parejo has gone on to truly cement his place in Spanish football at Getafe and now Valencia, where he has earned a reputation as something of a dead ball specialist. Without a doubt, this makes him something for a danger for any defending teams, and any manager looking for a player who knows how to curve could do worse than Parejo and his solid all-round stats.
4. Dimitri Payet
Although Payet’s controversial move back to Olympique Marseille from West Ham is still memorable for many in all the wrong ways, there’s no getting around what drew the French club back to the France international: his ability to hit set pieces with a phenomenal level of precision. In FIFA 18, Payet is a great option on the wings, both for his mazy dribbling skills and for his free kick skills. So far, his return to the club in January 2017 has not disappointed, and has even been made the captain of Marseille to boot.
3. Miralem Pjanic
Miralem Pjanic is one of the stars of Serie A, spending several years at Roma before his move to Juventus, and the Bosnian international has more than earned his reputation as a dead ball specialist. Indeed, Brazilian icon Juninho once referred to Pjanic as the best free kick taker in the world – and it doesn’t get much better than that. All in all, the player is a great option for free kicks in FIFA 18.
2. Hakan Calhanoglu
This Turkish international has only just moved to AC Milan, and a lot is expected of the player in a league full to the brim with set piece specialists. A hit in German football through Hamburger SV and Bayer Leverkusen, Calhanoglu always impressed with his free kick delivery, and FIFA 18 has clearly taken notice of the fact. Let’s see whether he can impress as much in Italy.
1. Andrea Pirlo
Without a shadow of a doubt, Andrea Pirlo is one of the greats of the game. A midfield general with a career that has spanned over two decades, Pirlo truly cemented his place as a great while at AC Milan. Although now perhaps past his best, there’s no taking away from Pirlo’s ability to score from a set piece, and that’s certainly true in FIFA 18. Of course, with Pirlo in the team, watch out for counter attacks from teams with pace – but that’s a small price to play to get a legend in the squad, and his passing ability is still second to none as well.
That concludes our run-down of the best free kick takers to be found in FIFA 18. With these players in a manager’s squad, then it will be easy to turn a foul on the edge of the box into a real goalscoring chance. Hopefully, gamers have managed to improve their own dead-ball abilities alongside other much-wanted FIFA 18 improvements.
FIFA 18 releases on September 29 for the Nintendo Switch, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.