We love a good stat here at Balls.ie and even better when the stats offer a power-ranking of professional athletes based on cold, hard, facts.
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So naturally we were delighted to learn that the good folks at ITV have collected the data and listed the statistically most effective and therefore best free kick takers in the Premier League since 2000.
The criteria is simple enough, they looked at the percentages of shots taken from free kicks that directly result in goals, and this conversion rate gives us our top 10. Number one, while not a shock, is a bit of a surprise, and there are certainly a few in the top 10 who wouldn't be the first name suggested if you were to guess, but as we said before, the stats don't lie.
So here are the 10 best free kick takers in Premier League since the turn of the millennium:
#10 - Laurent Robert: 154 shots, 10 goals, conversion: 6.5%
Well known for his long range efforts was Laurent.
#9 - Leighton Baines: 76 shots, 5 goals, conversion: 6.6%
You thought he would be higher, didn't you?
#8 - Ryan Giggs: 73 shots, 5 goals, conversion: 6.8%
He didn't always get to take them, perhaps he should have taken more.
#7 - Danny Murphy: 67 shots, 5 goals, conversion: 7.5%
It feels like he got 5 against Man United alone.
#6 - Thierry Henry: 144 shots, 12 goals, conversion: 8.3%
"Is that enough?" - Not to make the top 5, Thierry.
#5 - Nolberto Solano: 78 shots, 7 goals, conversion: 9%
When Nobby Solano scored, it was normally a work of art.
#4 - David Beckham: 54 shots, 5 goals, conversion: 9.3%
The man associated with free kicks just makes it inside the top 5.
#3 - Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink: 62 shots, 6 goals, conversion: 9.7%
Look at him there, delighted to make the top 3. He could bang them!
#2 - Sebastian Larsson: 90 shots, 11 goals, conversion: 12.2%
Impressive stats for the Swede, probably never gets to take them in international footy though.
#1 - Juan Mata: 28 shots, 5 goals, conversion: 17.9%
So there you have it, next time you see Van Persie or Rooney standing over a free kick for United you can tell everyone why statistically it should be Mata. Everyone loves that guy.