Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho among the ten best free-kick takers in Europe

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Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho deliciously bent in another free-kick against Leicester at the weekend and it meant the Samba star is already on his way to matching last season’s Premier League high of three goals scored from set pieces.

It got us thinking about who are the leading deadball specialists in Europe right now.

In no particular, here are the 10 best we’ve selected.

MIRALEM PJANIC

Signed by Juventus as a replacement for Paul Pogba in 2016, the Bosnian playmaker has developed into one of the most industrious players in Serie A.

With sharp technical ability and tactical versatility, the 27-year-old is also well regarded for his deadball taking.

Not only is he lethal at converting set-pieces from anywhere around the 30-yard area, he is also capable of delivering cleverly weighted through passes to assist team-mates.

Middlesbrough and Lyon legend Juninho – considered by many as the greatest free-kick taker of all time – even earmarked the Juventus star as the world’s best specialist kick taker in 2015.

Miralem Pjanic.

Miralem Pjanic.

DIMITRI PAYET

The France international staked his claim for being the world’s leading set-piece specialist when he scored a stunning free-kick against Cameroon in the build-up to Euro 2016 last summer.

His incredible free-kicks made him a fan favourite during his two seasons at West Ham before signing for Marseille in the summer of 2016.

Up until his return to the South of France, Payet boasted a better accuracy from free-kick situations than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Dimitri Payet.

Dimitri Payet.

HAKAN CALHANOGLU

The Turkish midfielder has a well earned reputation for striking fear in the hearts of opposition defensive walls.

He made a name for himself by scoring several ludicrous free-kicks during his time at Hamburg. Indeed, it was his stunning 50-yard effort in a 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund which caught the attention of fans around the world.

Bayer Leverkusen signed him in 2014 and he went on to score 11 direct free-kicks in the Bundesliga before leaving for AC Milan this summer.

Hakan Calhanoglu.

Hakan Calhanoglu.

LIONEL MESSI

The Argentine became Barcelona’s best free-kick taker of all time earlier this year when he netted his 27th goal to provide further evidence of his genius – as if it was needed.

He was so clinical last term that he scored three free-kicks in three successive matches against Athletic Bilbao twice and Villarreal.

His style is very different to most players too, as he places the ball, takes a few steps back, runs and hits it with unstoppable power.

Undoubtedly one of the greatest free-kick takers in the modern game.

Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi.

GYLFI SIGURDSSON

The Everton playmaker is arguably one of the best specialists around in the Premier League.

Although he has yet to score a long-range free-kick for the Toffees, the Iceland international has netted 14 deadball goals during his professional career to date, including seven at former club Swansea.

His most memorable effort came against Arsenal in November 2014, when he curled a sumptuous effort past a stranded Wojciech Szczęsny from 25-yards out.

Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Gylfi Sigurdsson.

FRANCESCO LODI

Often compared to David Beckham, the 33-year-old has a penchant for gliding the ball over the defensive wall and into the net.

The Italian made a name for himself after joining Catania in 2011, scoring three deadballs in a matter of weeks: two in a 3-2 victory over Lecce and an injury-time minute equaliser against Juventus in Turin.

Francesco Lodi.

Francesco Lodi.

CRISTIANO RONALDO

The Real Madrid legend has yet to find the net from a free-kick this season, but still boasts the best conversion out of any of the top players.

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner seems to step up when needed, as illustrated last season when he netted an absolute beauty against Celta Vigo in the Copa Del Rey.

The Portuguese international has virtually revolutionised free-kick taking in recent years with his strikes that have an incredible dip on them.

Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo.

ANDREA PIRLO

Widely regarded as Europe’s best free-kick specialist, Pirlo is prolific whenever he stands over the ball.

Currently playing for New York City FC in the MLS, the Italian has scored over 50 goals from deadball situations.

The 38-year-old’s ability to convert free-kicks isn’t surprising, considering his pin point passing ability for Juventus and Italy over the years.

Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo

PHILIPPE COUTINHO

The Liverpool star is one of Europe’s most deadly players from outside the box and scored an incredible free-kick in his side’s 3-2 win over Leicester at the weekend.

The Brazilian bent the ball over the wall and away from Kasper Schmeichel, leaving the Dane with no chance.

It took the 25-year-old’s tally of free-kicks to four for the Reds over the past two seasons.

Philippe Coutinho.

Philippe Coutinho.

SHUNSUKE NAKAMURA

The Japanese playmaker showcased his outrageous free-kick talents during his four-year spell at Celtic.

He set Celtic Park alight with his stunning set-pieces, most notably his free-kick against Manchester United which subsequently sealed the Hoops place in the knockout stages of the 2006 Champions League.

Retiring from international football just shy of 100 caps, Nakamura continues to shine on the J1 League with Jubilo Iwata.

Shunsuke Nakamura.

Shunsuke Nakamura.

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