Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

The Roberto Carlos Free Kick: A Masterclass in Ball Striking

Video roberto carlos free kick speed

roberto carlos free kick speed

Football is filled with unforgettable moments that etch themselves into the annals of the sport, forever captivating fans. One such moment came from Roberto Carlos, the Brazilian left-back known for his incredible ball striking ability and forceful attacking power. While he has many incredible goals to his name, one stands out above the rest – a free kick that defied belief and left the footballing world in awe.

Who Was Roberto Carlos? A Brief Guide To A Brazil Legend

Roberto Carlos is an ex-Brazil international and one of the most attack-minded defenders in history. Playing for Real Madrid from 1996 to 2007, he was part of the legendary “Galacticos” era, alongside stars like Luis Figo, David Beckham, and Zinedine Zidane. Roberto Carlos redefined the role of the full-back, emphasizing offensive contributions and set-piece prowess. His ability from free kicks and corners allowed him to score 97 goals and provide 126 assists in 756 club appearances, a remarkable feat for a player in his position.

The Roberto Carlos Free Kick: Football’s Most Famous Set Piece?

During the Le Tournoi in June 1997, Brazil faced France in a friendly competition leading up to the 1998 World Cup. In the 21st minute of the match, Roberto Carlos lined up a free kick from around 30 yards out. His technique was extraordinary. Taking a massive run-up, he struck the ball with his left foot, curving it wide of the defensive wall before guiding it back inward to clip the inside of the post and find the back of the net. This incredible shot has been dubbed a “banana shot” due to its counter-clockwise lateral spin.

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How Fast Was Roberto Carlos’ Free Kick?

Roberto Carlos’ free kick was a combination of power and precision. The ball reached a top speed of approximately 100km/h, leaving goalkeeper Fabian Barthez helpless. The shot’s trajectory seemed to defy physics, leading scientists to investigate the phenomenon. They discovered that the path of a spinning sphere forms a spiral, known as the “Magnus effect.” As the ball slowed down, the spiral became more pronounced, causing the ball to curve even more. This blend of power, spin, and accuracy made Roberto Carlos’ free kick nearly unstoppable.

How Far Was Roberto Carlos’ Free Kick From Goal?

Roberto Carlos struck the ball from an impressive distance of 33.13 meters away from the goal. Scoring a free kick from such a range is a rare accomplishment, even for set piece specialists. Throughout his career, Roberto Carlos scored 49 direct free kicks, showcasing his exceptional skill and accuracy.

How To Kick Like Roberto Carlos

Replicating Roberto Carlos’ legendary free kick is a daunting task. However, with practice and technique, it can be achieved. Here’s a step-by-step guide to mastering the iconic banana shot:

  1. Ball Placement: Position the ball low and to the right of center, allowing for upward lift and counter-clockwise spin.
  2. The Run-up: Build momentum and power with a strong and sharp run-up.
  3. Contact Point: Strike the ball with the laces of your boot to generate reverse top spin.
  4. Controlling the Power: Find the balance between power and speed to ensure the shot remains on target.
  5. Balance on Standing Leg: Maintain a balanced standing leg to achieve the appropriate swing speed, and lift the leg after striking the ball for proper follow-through.
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While Roberto Carlos’ free kick remains an extraordinary moment in football history, the art of ball striking is still an under-explored aspect of the game. For further guidance on ball striking techniques, consult our interview with ball striking expert coach Bartek Sylwestrzak.


  • Q: How many free kicks did Roberto Carlos score in his career?
    A: Roberto Carlos scored an impressive 49 direct free kicks throughout his career.

  • Q: What was the top speed of Roberto Carlos’ free kick?
    A: Roberto Carlos’ free kick reached a top speed of approximately 100km/h.

  • Q: What was the distance from goal for Roberto Carlos’ famous free kick?
    A: Roberto Carlos struck the ball from 33.13 meters away from the goal.


Roberto Carlos’ free kick goal against France remains a masterpiece of ball striking. Its power, accuracy, and spin have made it one of the most memorable goals in football history. While replicating such a feat is challenging, mastering the technique can elevate your game. Practice diligently and seek guidance from experts to unlock your own free kick prowess. Remember, the beauty of football lies in its moments of brilliance, and Roberto Carlos’ free kick is certainly one of them.


The Roberto Carlos Free Kick: A Masterclass in Ball Striking