Another hopefully enthralling Spanish first division football campaign is about to get underway.
I thought it would be a great time to refresh the list of La Liga set piece takers as there has been plenty of changes to teams and their respective playing personnel over the past couple of months.
So, without any further fanfare, let’s have a look at the players tasked with free kick taking, penalties and corner kick duties in 2022-2023…
- Set piece takers for La Liga's top four teams
- Set piece takers from La Liga's newly promoted teams
- Which team scored the most set piece goals in the 2021-22 La Liga season?
- La Liga competition full set piece takers list
- Final thoughts
Set piece takers for La Liga’s top four teams
Let’s start by taking a look at the set piece situation for the traditional best performers in Spain’s highest division.
First up, we have…
Robert Lewandowski is pretty much monopolizes the penalties for Barcelona.
The Polish international was signed from Bayern Munich for a 50 million euro fee; boasting an impeccable record from the penalty spot throughout his career.
Although he’s missed one this season for the Catalan giants, you can’t argue that he shouldn’t be on spot kick duty.
At the time of writing, the man has scored 72 times from a total of 81 attempts and the Bundesliga themselves highlighted his prowess from the spot by publishing an article documenting his 92 percent conversion rate from 12 yards out.
When it comes to free kicks and corners, you can expect the duties to be shared between the likes of:
- Ousmane Dembele;
- Pedri; and
- Frenkie De Jong
Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo left the club, Karim Benzema has been in charge of penalties.
The Frenchman has converted three times from the spot this season, only failing to score on one occasion.
When Benzema isn’t on the pitch, you can expect the experienced Croatian veteran Luka Modric to deputize.
Other candidates for penalties include Eden Hazard, Rodrygo and Marco Asensio.
However, I wouldn’t expect any of Asensio or Hazard to take a penalty any time soon because the former recently missed one whilst the latter seems to be perennially injured.
Corners and free kicks should be shared between the likes of:
- Toni Kroos;
- Luka Modric; and
- Marco Asensio
At the time of updating this post, Atletico Madrid are yet to win a penalty!
Their primary spot kick taker – João Félix – left the club to join Chelsea on a season long loan.
So, it remains to be seen who will step up in his absence.
Although you’d expect the more senior players in the side such as Koke or Yannick Carrasco to assume responsibility.
On the other hand, free kicks and corners should mainly be in the hands (or should I say feet!) of Rodrigo De Paul.
For Real Sociedad, you’d expect Mikel Oyarzabal to step up on penalties when needed.
The Spaniard recently signed a contract extension until 2028, meaning that he’s likely to be the face of this team for the foreseeable future.
Other than Oyarzabal, Mikel Merino can take them despite missing from the spot once this season.
For free kicks and corners, David Silva should be expected to take some duties here especially when Oyarzabal is not on the pitch.
Set piece takers from La Liga’s newly promoted teams
You’ll note that a few adjustments have been made from the previous version of the set piece list.
This is largely to accommodate for the teams that successfully worked their way up to La Liga through the Segunda Division – which is alternatively referred to as La Liga 2.
Let’s see what these promoted sides have to offer in this campaign…
As broadcasting coverage of the Segunda Division is quite scarce, at this point in time I’m unable to offer enough insight on the free kick and corner kick takers for these teams and will have to watch some games this year to make a note of who steps up here.
Penalty duties were split between two players when Girona was in the 2nd tier of Spanish football.
Cristhian Stuani and Samuel Saiz shared the responsibility of stepping up from 12 yards, with Stuani successfully netting on five of his seven attempts (71.4% conversion rate).
You’d expect the Uruguayan to retain spot kick duty even as he meets the average retirement age for a soccer player (i.e. 35 years), because his experience will be desperately needed in Spain’s top tier division if they have any chance of avoiding relegation.
Valladolid didn’t get much joy out of penalties in the second division, as they were only awarded a total of three penalties last season.
Striker Sergio León should assume responsibility for the penalties this season, as he converted one last campaign.
The other player who scored for Valladolid from the spot was left back Nacho Martínez, but he’s since left the club after transferring to another Spanish second division side called CD Tenerife.
So, that leaves Roque Mesa as the alternative penalty taker even after he failed to convert his only attempt from the spot last season.
It’s safe to say that UD Almería had quite an interesting time from the penalty spot last season.
They had a total of six different spot kick takers, which showed that they were quite good at winning penalties.
However, their conversion of these chances left a lot to be desired.
Their top taker – Largie Ramazani – slotted in three of the four penalties he took.
Of course, a 75% conversion rate is good and you’d expect him to assume penalty duties this season as well.
But beyond that, the story changes.
Dyego Sousa was the only other player to score a penalty for them, netting one from the two he took last year.
The other players who failed to convert include:
- Umar Sadiq
- Juan Villar
- Francisco Portillo; and
- César de la Hoz
Which team scored the most set piece goals in the 2021-22 La Liga season?
Sevilla had the most goals from set pieces last season, as they managed to net 16 times from dead ball deliveries into the opposition area.
Following them closely in the charts were Villareal, the relegated Granada and Athletic Bilbao, with 13, 13 and 12 set piece goals respectively.
Real Madrid came in 5th place here with a tally of 11 goals, whereas Barcelona were quite far down the list when it came to set piece threat, as they only managed to score 7 times from a corner or free kick attempt.
On the other hand, when it came to converting from the penalty spot, Real Sociedad came out on top with a total of 9 penalties successfully dispatched, with Real Madrid, Valencia and the relegated Levante coming in behind with totals of 8 penalty goals each.
La Liga competition full set piece takers list
Here’s the complete list of takers for your perusal:
|Club||Penalties (Main)||Penalties (Alternate)||Free Kicks (Main)||Free Kicks (Alternate 1)||Free Kicks (Alternate 2)||Corners (Main)||Corners (Alternate 1)||Corners (Alternate 2)|
|Rayo Vallecano||Óscar Trejo||Radamel Falcao||Óscar Trejo||Isi Palazón||-||Óscar Trejo||Isi Palazón||-|
|Sevilla||Lucas Ocampos||Ivan Rakitic||Joan Jordan||Alejandro Gómez||-||Joan Jordan||Alejandro Gómez||Jesus Navas|
|Celta Vigo||Iago Aspas||Santi Mina||Iago Aspas||Denis Suárez||Brais Mendez||Denis Suárez||Brais Mendez||-|
|Girona FC||Cristhian Stuani||Samuel Sáiz||TBC||-||-||TBC||-||-|
|Real Betis||Willian José||Borja Iglesias||Nabil Fekir||Sergio Canales||-||Joaquin||Sergio Canales||Nabil Fekir|
|Mallorca||Salva Sevilla||Vedat Muriqi||Dani Rodriguez||Salva Sevilla||Lago Junior||Dani Rodriguez||Salva Sevilla||Lago Junior|
|Getafe CF||Enes Ünal||Borja Mayoral||Damián Suárez||-||-||Damián Suárez||-||-|
|Athletic Bilbao||Raul Garcia||Inaki Williams||Ibai Gomez||Muniain||Unai López||Unai López||Ibai Gomez||Muniain|
|Cadiz||Álvaro Negredo||Alex Fernández||TBC||-||-||TBC||-||-|
|Espanyol||Raúl de Tomás||Adrián Embarba||Adrián Embarba||-||-||Adrián Embarba||-||-|
|Atletico Madrid||João Félix||Yannick Carrasco||Rodrigo De Paul||Koke||João Félix||Rodrigo De Paul||Koke||Saul Niguez|
|Real Madrid||Karim Benzema||Luka Modric||Toni Kroos||Luka Modric||Vinícius Júnior||Toni Kroos||Luka Modric||Vinícius Júnior|
|Real Valladolid CF||Sergio León||Roque Mesa||Roque Mesa||-||-||Roque Mesa||-||-|
|Real Sociedad||Mikel Oyarzabal||Alexander Isak||Adnan Januzaj||Mikel Oyarzabal||David Silva||Adnan Januzaj||Mikel Oyarzabal||David Silva|
|Barcelona||Robert Lewandowski||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Ousmane Dembélé||Pedri||Frenkie de Jong||Ousmane Dembélé||Pedri||Ansu Fati|
|UD Almería||Largie Ramazani||Dyego Sousa||TBC||TBC||-||TBC||TBC||-|
|Osasuna||Ante Budimir||Roberto Torres||Roberto Torres||Rubén García||-||Roberto Torres||Rubén García||-|
|Villareal||Arnaut Danjuma||Gerard Moreno||Dani Parejo||Manu Trigueros||Moi Gomez||Dani Parejo||Manu Trigueros||Moi Gomez|
|Valencia||Carlos Soler||Gonçalo Guedes||José Gayà||Daniel Wass||Gonçalo Guedes||José Gayà||Daniel Wass||Gonçalo Guedes|
Hopefully this article has been quite an informative read.
It may be also worth checking out our blog post on the dedicated set piece takers for the Premier League, especially as it’s the world’s most popular football competition.
Furthermore, with the World Cup in action later this year, we thought it would be good to compile a set piece takers list for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Have a look at that when you’ve got some spare time.
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