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The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys

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Dave Fawbert
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There is nothing - nothing - so satisfying in football as an absolute thunderbastard of a volley, ideally travelling with a completely flat trajectory before cannoning into the crossbar and hitting the ground behind the line, just as the goalkeeper is beginning his slow descent from a dive which never stood even a slight chance of stopping the shot.

Whether it's the technique and timing required, or simply the power that these shots can generate we don't know, but it's pretty much the definition of footballing ecstasy when one of these rockets in.

Inspired by the likes of Van Persie, Rooney and Shearer, Pepsi MAX have commissioned a special video celebrating this powerful footballing trick, challenging semi-pros, freestylers and gymnasts to showcase their skills.

Watch that, then jump on after to see our picks for the 15 greatest volleys ever blasted. Get your shooting boots ready...

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys

    Tony Yeboah (Leeds v Liverpool)

    The mere mention of Tony Yeboah will bring a tear to the eye of a man of a certain age. Forget your modern fancy dans, no one twatted the ball harder than the Ghanian legend. The fact that he is universally loved despite playing for Leeds shows you the true measure of the man.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 1

    Alan Shearer (Newcastle v Everton, 2002)

    We've all had it. That one moment playing football in the park when the ball just loops up perfectly and there is simply no other option than to leather it with all your power. You may have succeeded, you may have failed, but when it happened to Alan Shearer, at St James Park, wearing the number 9 shirt of Newcastle, there was only ever going to be one outcome.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 2

    Marco van Basten (Holland v USSR, 1988)

    Injury cruelly robbed us of what should have been the peak years of Marco van Basten, so it's easy to forget just what an amazing player he was. And his greatest moment? This sweet volley in the European Championship Final of 1988. The Berlin Wall would fall just over a year later: we like to think that this democratically-elected, capitalist strike was the moment at which the Russians started to give up on Communism.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 3

    Danny Rose (Tottenham v Arsenal, 2010)

    How would you feel being given a debut in a high-profile game against your biggest local rivals? A bit scared? Petrified even? Then you're not Danny Rose. Ten minutes into his first appearance for Spurs he capitalised on a slip from Almunia to utterly power a shot on the volley from fully 30 yards. What was that sound? Oh it was the ball being kissed by a Rose.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 4

    Robin van Persie (Arsenal v Everton, 2011)

    Robin van Persie makes the first of three appearances on this list with this utter beauty against Everton in 2011. It's the fact that you're not certain if it's gone in or not until it cannons in at a perfect 90 degree angle off the post that gives it its mystical properties. Van Persie? Van Perfect more like.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 5

    Wayne Rooney (Manchester United v Newcastle, 2005)

    God, remember when Rooney was really good? Similarly to the Shearer peach, this looped up just perfectly for a 20-year-old Rooney to leather it into the onion bag. Extra points for banging it in the net again on the follow-up, just to make sure.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 6

    Paul Scholes (Manchester United v Aston Villa, 2006)

    Paul Scholes: a player so good he could even bring a smile to Alex Ferguson's face. What an absolute smashmonkey of a volley this is.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 7

    Robin van Persie (Manchester United v Aston Villa, 2013)

    Good grief. The technique involved in this. Watching the ball from probably 40 yards away, dipping over your shoulder, across your body and absolutely nailing it into the corner. About 99.9 per cent of the world's population would have air kicked this and fallen over. And just look how happy he is, bless his cotton socks. You enjoy it mate, you enjoy it.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 8

    Paul Scholes (Manchester United v Bradford, 2000)

    It's a bloody job no one got in the way of this widowmaker or somebody could have got seriously hurt. The goalnet needed counselling for months after this.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 9

    Pajtim Kasami (Fulham v Crystal Palace, 2013)

    We prefer volleys of the true nature - first touch without bouncing - BANG - goal. But this one finds its way in here, with an initial little chest control, as it's just ridiculous. Straight out of playground headers and volleys when you were playing with the bigger kids, no one - repeat, no one - thought there was any danger of a goal when the ball was chipped into the channels for Kasami to run on to. Big mistake.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 10

    Ronnie Whelan (Republic of Ireland v USSR, 1988)

    If Barcelona's tiki-taka is the perfection of intricate, patient football, then this is its equivalent in directness. And it is no less beautiful. Under the watchful eye of Jack Charlton, a man with a particular penchant for making set-pieces count, a ginormous throw goes over everyone, straight onto the outstretched boot of a falling Ronnie Whelan and THWACK. In it goes. Simple, and brutally effective.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 11

    Robin van Persie (Arsenal v Charlton, 2006)

    Just look at his left leg. It's like an exorcet missle that will not be swerved away from its mission of connecting with the ball so hard that the spacetime continuum was briefly ripped in South East London.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 12

    Paulo di Canio (West Ham v Wimbledon, 2000)

    Paulo di Canio there, giving us a volley from a boot like his political views: hard; right.

     

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 13

    David Platt (England v Belgium, 1990)

    One minute away from a penalty shoot-out in the second round of the 1990 World Cup and, like van Persie's beauty earlier on, substitue David Platt has to watch a floated ball from Gazza loop all the way over him before unleashing a blaster beyond the outstretched fingers of Michel Preud'homme. Take that Poirot, Stella and Adolphe Sax. You've been Platted.

  • The 15 best-ever net-busting volleys 14

    Michael Essien (Chelsea v Barcelona, 2009)

    It was normally Didier Drogba that could be relied upon for scoring scorching haymakers, but this beauty came from the unlikely boot of Michael Essien. Like Yeboah before him, this utilises the crossbar to gain even more speed after striking it, threatening to tunnel through the turf beyond the goalline and all the way through to Australia, where it would then be sucked back by gravity into the Earth's core to then oscillate about it forever in a tribute to the sheer power and magnificence of a volleyed thunderbolt.

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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