From lining up a shot to lining up the wall, direct free-kicks ooze drama. The sight of a player winding up to shoot from distance raises expectation throughout the stadium, and with good reason: last season, 23% of goals in the UEFA Champions League came from set pieces.
Now Champions, the UEFA Champions League's official magazine, is inviting UEFA.com users to choose their favourite free-kick takers, with the winning players to feature in the next issue.
Since David Beckham was in his pomp at Manchester United FC and Real Madrid CF, the imagination and ability of set-piece takers has become a major source of intrigue, and the UEFA Champions League is still graced by some of the game's great dead-ball specialists.
Players like Cristiano Ronaldo, whose free-kick on matchday four ensured qualification for Madrid. The Portuguese star never discusses his technique, preferring to let his supercharged blend of power and accuracy speak for itself.
Ronaldo faces competition, though. Arjen Robben's left-footed delivery has been a potent weapon for FC Bayern München. PFC CSKA Moskva star Alan Dzagoev, one of Russia's finest playmakers, scored with a stunning strike against FC Internazionale Milano on matchday two. Chelsea FC's Frank Lampard has been consistently effective in this competition, preferring power to pure placement. SL Benfica striker Óscar Cardozo has a sublime left-foot which can wreak havoc with a dead ball.
So who do you think is the best and why? Have your say here ...
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