Brazil legend Roberto Carlos has called time on an illustrious 21-year career, and the 39-year-old will always be remembered as one of the most talented full-backs ever.

The former-Madrid and Inter leftback has now moved upstairs into a director's role at Russian club Anzhi, and world football sadly bids goodbye to one of the greatest fullbacks ever.

But Carlos will perhaps always be best remembered not for the World Cups, Champions Leagues and La Liga titles, but for one remarkable left-foot free-kick.

His strike against France in 1997, in a dress rehearsal for following year's World Cup final, was hit with such power, swerve and spin that scientists have since studied the video to work out what on earth happened.

In honour of that free-kick, GMF counts down some of the best of the modern era - which is your favourite?

Roberto Carlos - France v Brazil 1997

The physics seemingly don't make sense, but Carlos's outside-of-the-boot left-foot rocket started out towards the corner flag before whipping back in past a perplexed Fabian Barthez. One of the best free-kicks of all time.


 

David Beckham - England v Greece 2001

The stakes couldn't be higher as David Beckham stepped up for England against Greece. 2-1 down, Sven Goran Eriksson's side were seconds away from World Cup elimination before they'd even reached the tournament. Instead, with the flick of the right boot, Beckham sent England to Japan and South Korea. After the 1998 red card, all was forgiven.


 

Elano - Manchester City v Newcastle 2007

Sven Goran Eriksson was again in the dugout, but this time Brazil midfielder Elano was the taker. A fierce hit into the top left-hand corner, Elano's 30-yard effort beat Shay Given through brute force, planting itself into the postage stamp top corner.


 

Shunsuke Nakamura - Celtic v Manchester United 2006

The Japanese midfielder is a true free-kick specialist, and his effort against United was one of his best, and most significant. The only goal in a frantic Champions League tie at Celtic Park, Nakamura's sweet 30-yard curler nestled into the top corner past the despairing reach of Edwin Van der Sar.


 

Ronaldinho - Barcelona v Werder Bremen 2006

His looping effort against David Seaman may be more memorable, but his cheeky side-foot against Werder Bremen in the Champions League shouldn't be dismissed. Few players in the world would try it, let alone pull it off, and it sums up the unpredictable magic of Ronaldinho in his pomp.


 

Juninho Pernambucano - Lyon v Bayern Munich 2003

Another Champions League tie, another Brazilian, and another stunning free-kick. Not even Oliver Kahn at the peak of his powers could get close to this dipping strike.


 

Cristiano Ronaldo - Arsenal v Manchester United 2009

Ronaldo's free-kick capped a masterful United display at the Emirates Stadium. Sir Alex Ferguson's side ran out 3-1 winners, reaching the Champions League final, but Ronaldo's 40-yard rocket stole the show in one of his final matches for the Manchester club.


 

Didier Drogba Chelsea v Hull 2009

Drogba scored a brace on the first day of the 2009/10 Premier League season, as Chelsea came from behind to beat Hull City 2-1. His winner was good, but his equaliser was better.


 

Which free-kick is your favourite? Join the debate by leaving a comment below…

Topics:
#Didier Drogba
#European News
#Football
#David Beckham
#Cristiano Ronaldo