Legendary set-piece specialist Andrea Pirlo has revealed who he believes are the three best free-kick takers in world football today.
The Italian maestro is widely regarded as one of the best of all time when it comes to free kicks and he holds the all-time joint-record, 28, for the number of set-pieces scored in Serie A.
And when asked who the best free-kick taker on the planet was today, the recently retired Pirlo couldn’t separate three players.
“At the moment the three best free-kick takers in the world are Lionel Messi, Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala,” Pirlo told Goal.
“All three of them take free-kicks very well.”
Over the past five seasons, Messi has scored the most free-kick goals, 16, in Europe’s five major leagues.
Juventus star Pjanic has scored the joint-second most according to Opta data, with 12 along with AC Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu, while Dybala is fourth with nine goals.
Pirlo is joint-eighth with Mario Balotelli (six goals each) despite not playing in Europe since 2015.
And the retired midfielder commented on his former Italy team-mate’s recent return to the national team, insisting he is happy to see the striker back in the fold.
Free agent Balotelli had not played for the Azzurri since the 2014 World Cup but, after two excellent seasons with Nice, he returned for the international friendly against Saudi Arabia, scoring in a 2-1 win.
“I am really happy that Balotelli is back playing for the Italy national team,” Pirlo said.
“He’s been playing really well in the past two years and he deserves the recall.
“I don’t know which club Balotelli is going to be playing for next season but I am sure that a lot of big clubs are going to be after him. It is up to him to choose himself the best option.”
Finally, the retired Pirlo addressed media talk that he could become Italy manager Roberto Mancini’s assistant coach – confirming that there have been talks between the pair.
“I spoke with Mancini about the role,” Pirlo revealed.
“I am studying for my coaching badges at the moment until the end of June.
“After that I will be allowed to work as a coach but at the moment there is nothing really concrete in terms of being the assistant of Mancini.”
Pirlo will spend his first World Cup as a fan since 2002 at home with McDelivery from Uber Eats.
With more than 3.2 billion people expected to tune in to watch the World Cup at home this year, McDonald’s, the official FIFA World Cup sponsor has partnered with Uber Eats to offer McDelivery in 26 countries for the first time ever during a FIFA World Cup.
Fans can follow Uber Eats’ search for a team for Andrea to support this summer by searching #TeamForPirlo