Cristiano Ronaldo’s bicycle kick against Juventus in the Champions League was one of those moments always destined to make you sit up and take notice.
This is true for three reasons:
1. It was Ronaldo, who always knows how best to milk any occasion
2. It was a decisive goal in a Champions League quarter-final under the lights
3. It was a bicycle kick, and bicycle kicks are objectively good.
It’s not the best of its kind, though – not even close.
Sure, Ronaldo’s finish was both brilliant and brilliantly unnecessary, but he’s not the first man to make the most of his acrobatic ability and he won’t be the last.
We’ve picked out 10 of our favourites, in no particular order, for your viewing pleasure. And yes, we’ve played a little fast and loose with the definition of ‘bicycle kick’. Because we can.
Apologies to Marco van Basten, but no apologies to Wayne Rooney, who clearly shinned it.
Trevor Sinclair (QPR v Barnsley)
A classic of the genre. Not only does Sinclair connect from way out, but he hits the ball relatively low down in its trajectory, making for a quite beautiful arc.
What might make it better was the fact that it arrived in an FA Cup game between two clubs outside the Premier League, yet showed itself to be not only the best goal of the round, but possibly the best in the tournament ever.
Sebastián Coates (Liverpool v QPR)
QPR have also been on the wrong side of stupidly ostentatious gymnastics, and what makes this goal better is the fact that it’s the only goal Coates ever scored in the Premier League.
If you’re going to open (and close) your account, you might as well do it in a manner that’ll get noticed. Probably not a smart move to go on to concede three goals to a team with one win in its previous 16 games, but Coates presumably thought his goal was good enough to count for four on its own.
Edmílson (Brazil v Costa Rica)
Another goal from a defender, which makes it objectively better than the ones scored by people who are paid to score goals for a living, plus it was at a World Cup. Edmílson scored one international goal in his entire career, but boy was it a good one.
You can see the panic in his face as the ball loops up, as if he’s thinking “Oh shit, time to find out if I’m really Brazilian, here goes nothing…”. It’s the finish of a man who has never tried to do this before, let alone pulled it off.
Joe Cole (Tampa Bay Rowdies v Puerto Rico FC)
Not the best by any stretch, but it’s improved tenfold by the commentator yelling “Bicycle Kick!” at the top of his voice.
Because if he hadn’t done that, how would you know?
Youri Djorkaeff (Inter v Roma)
Italian football in the ‘90s was objectively better than any other era of football in any other country, thanks to James Richardson, uneaten tiramisu and the pink pages of Gazzetta dello Sport.
Ordinarily this would be a great goal in its own right – the stunned response of Giorgio Sterchele in the Roma goal is testament to that – but, the implied cry of Goooooolaazzzzzzo makes it that much better.
Rivaldo (Barcelona v Valencia)
Circumstance plays a big part in the quality of a goal, and the winner in a tight game is a bigger deal than the consolation in a 4-1 defeat.
Rivaldo’s goal wasn’t just the winner, but it was the goal that lifted Barcelona into the Champions League places in the closing minutes of the final game of the season. Oh, and did I mention it completed his hat-trick?
Mauro Bressan (Fiorentina v Barcelona)
Why would you watch a ball head towards the ground and, instead of trying to catch it on the volley or half-volley, wait for it to bounce back up to a near-unplayable height?
It’s either because you’re an idiot, or because you want to try something like this. I guess it could be both.
Moussa Sow (Fenerbahçe v Manchester United)
In the second minute of a European match, most players aren’t even sure if they’ve got their boots on the right feet. They certainly shouldn’t be able to redirect a cross into the top corner at pace with a bicycle kick.
Oh, and as if to prove it was no fluke, he scored another bicycle kick during the very same Europa League campaign as Fenerbahçe beat Feyenoord to top their group.
Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden v England)
We couldn’t make this list without the classic ‘swear at the TV’ goal from the master of what we’ll generously refer to as ‘nonsense football’.
Some will claim the open goal detracts from the quality, but actually it adds to it. It was so impressive precisely because it was so unnecessary.
Oscarine Masuluke (Baroka FC v Orlando Pirates)
Guys, he’s the goalkeeper.