Scoring goals from inside the 18-yard box is a tricky task in itself, let alone finding the back of the net from outside of it. Yet, it comes quite easily for some of the top players in the world.
The likes of Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, and Xabi Alonso amongst others made it look effortlessly easy to score from outside the box. The key to it has been using the right technique and a precise amount of power.
Scoring long-range goals is not every player’s cup of tea. Even the best players have struggled to find consistency when it comes to scoring from outside the box.
Last season, a good number of goals were scored from a distant range. On that note, we take a look at the players who scored the highest goals from outside the box.
Note: All stats as per WhoScored. Europe’s top five leagues are being considered.
#5 Ruslan Malinovskyi (Atalanta)
There have been some fine midfield performances in Serie A last season. Atalanta’s Ruslan Malinovskyi was the most impressive of the lot.
The Ukrainian midfielder signed for the Italian side in 2019 and has since been a lively player for them. Using his amazing technique and creativity, Malinovskyi was the top assist provider in the 2020-21 season
He scored six times and registered five assists in the recently concluded season. Interestingly, five of his six goals came from outside the 18-yard box. One particular stunner came against Juventus in Serie A in February 2022.
#4 James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
In recent times, there haven’t been many players who are as feared as James Ward-Prowse when it comes to set-pieces. The Englishman possesses great abilities in dead-ball situations and is certainly one of the best set-piece takers in the Premier League right now.
The Southampton captain has been at the club for a decade now and has been loyal to them ever since his senior debut in the 2012-13 season. Over time, James Ward-Prowse has used his technique and wide passing range to create play from deep midfield.
Last season, the English midfielder was instrumental in scoring 10 goals and registering five assists in the Premier League. James Ward-Prowse managed to score five goals from outside the box in the 2021-22 campaign.
#3 Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best midfielders in football right now. He is brilliant at taking the right decisions in the right moment on the pitch, making the game look rather easy.
The Manchester City midfielder, with his amazing passing range and playmaking abilities, is capable of dictating the tempo of the game on his own. De Bruyne has not only created goals for his team but also contributed by scoring himself at regular intervals.
As has been the case before, the Belgian midfielder played a key role in helping Manchester City clinch the Premier League title last season. De Bruyne scored 15 goals in the 2021-22 campaign, five of which came from outside the box.
#2 Martin Terrier (Rennes)
Martin Terrier had a stunning 2021-22 campaign for Rennes in Ligue 1. With 21 goals to his name, the Frenchman was the third highest goal-scorer in the league.
Since signing for Rennes in the 2020-21 season, Terrier has turned out to be quite the signing for the French club. Despite scoring nine goals in his debut season, the French forward has drastically turned it around in his second season for the Ligue 1 club.
One of the most impressive features of Terrier’s play has been his direct approach in front of goal. He didn’t hesitate to take his shots and eventually found goals for Rennes last season. The 25-year-old scored five goals from outside the box in Ligue 1 last season.
#1 Fabian Ruiz (Napoli)
Since joining Napoli in the 2018-19 season, Fabian Ruiz has developed well and has become a regular player for them. The Spaniard has been quite effective with his passing and long-range shooting abilities.
Last season saw Ruiz provide one of his best performances to date for Napoli. He registered seven goals and four assists in Serie A for Napoli.
Scoring goals from outside the box has been a trademark of Ruiz’s game-play. The left-footed midfielder managed to score six times outside the 18-yard box in the 2021-22 campaign, the most by any player in Europe’s top five leagues.