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The Best Christmas Goals Ever

The Best Christmas Goals Ever

The Best Christmas Goals Ever
26 December 2014

Those poor footballers. While the rest of us are busy being merry, eating our own body weight in turkey, mince pies and chocolate, washed down with gallons of mulled wine, they have to carry on as normal, training hard for the crucial winter period of games. In olden, less professional times, this often led to some crazy scorelines and bucketloads of goals, caused by defenders who hadn't quite restrained themselves - Boxing Day 1963 saw an astonishing 66 goals scored in 10 games.

But there's still been some memorable moments in those festive fixtures over the year. We take a look at 10 fantastic goals from the Christmas section of the season.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United v Sunderland, Boxing Day 2007)

It seems that no one ever dared risk the ire of Alex Ferguson by gorging themselves at Christmas, as Manchester United have the best record of any team for Boxing Day fixtures, winning 86.4% of the games played on this day and losing only once in Premier League history. They've scored 54 goals in the process - with few being better than this incredible strike from Cristiano Ronaldo - a man who we can't believe would ever treat his body as anything less than a temple. It was one of his first, now-trademark, dip-swerving freekicks, which managed to completely fox the home side's goalkeeper despite actually hitting the middle of the net.

Dennis Bailey (QPR v Manchester United, New Year's Day 1992)

Things haven't always gone United's way at Christmas though - one famous New Year's Eve match saw QPR's Dennis Bailey write himself into football folklore with a hat-trick at the Theatre of Dreams, taking the R's to a 4-1 defeat. It didn't stop the Red Devils winning their first title for 26 years though, as they tasted glory in May. For Bailey, it meant that he never had a buy a drink in Shepherds Bush again.

Andriy Shevchenko (Chelsea v Aston Villa, Boxing Day 2007)

Shevchenko's time at Chelsea is not commonly regarded as a roaring success. Bought by owner Roman Abramovich for a manager who didn't want him, he scored only 22 goals in 76 games before leaving for Milan. However, one of them was this howitzer in a Boxing Day classic against Villa. The match finished 4-4, but this strike was the pig in blanket of a Christmas goal feast.

Robbie Keane (Coventry City v Arsenal, Boxing Day 1999)

A festive shock here, as Coventry overcame a lacklustre Arsenal who'd clearly overdosed on figgy pudding. A beautifully-flicked Robbie Keane goal sealed the points for the Sky Blues - and for a bonus beauty, keep watching for a Davor Suker solo effort (we'd forgotten he ever played for Arsenal).

Paul Lambert (Celtic v Rangers, 2nd January 1998)

There's a history of classic New Year's Day encounters between the Old Firm rivals. A multitude of goals, famous wins for either side but we'll risk the ire of the Gers fans by plumping for this Paul Lambert rocket for Celtic in a match which actually took place the day after the New Year. Sensible really, gives you another day to sleep off that enormous hangover before getting back on it.

Alex Cropley (Hibernian v Hearts, New Year's Day 1973)

Meanwhile, the other great Scottish city of Edinburgh has seen some titanic battles between its two hated rivals on New Year's Day - and Hearts fans would be wise to look away now. The 1973 encounter saw Hibs triumph 7-0, with Alex Cropley scoring the pick of the goals with a beautifully volleyed finish for the fourth. Imagine being a Hearts fan and starting the year with that. Still, at least they ended up in a respectable 6th place come the end of the season, with Hibs finishing as runners-up to Celtic.

James Milner (Aston Villa v Sunderland, December 15th 2009)

OK, so it's not quite a Christmas effort, but the decorations were up and the carols were being sung when a young James Milner scored this beauty for Villa in a 2-0 win away at Sunderland which lifted them into third place in the table. Christmas has been good for Milner: he scored for Leeds on Boxing Day 2002 - again against Sunderland - to become the youngest goalscorer in Premier League history at the age of just 16 years and 356 days.

Colin West (Sunderland v Newcastle, New Year's Day 1985)

A classic festive derby match, this had everything: a hat-trick from Peter Beardsley, a dodgy penalty or two and a couple of red cards, but the pick of the goals came from Colin West - not a player who had a reputation for the spectacular - who scored this utter beauty - sadly, merely a consolation - for Sunderland. It's worth watching the full highlights below - a humdinger of an encounter.

Ryan Giggs (Manchester United v Nottingham Forest, Boxing Day 1998)

An example of United's previously mentioned Boxing Day prowess as they swept aside Nottingham Forest 3-0 in 1998. Sheringham, to Beckham, who played a deft pass to Giggs, who then managed an even defter (is that a word?) chip over the onrushing goalkeeper. A Christmas cracker.

Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham v Manchester United, New Year's Day 2014)

We've got to balance out Manchester United's Boxing Day domination with something, so here's another New Year's Day disaster, as a Tim Sherwood-managed Tottenham managed their second consecutive victory at Old Trafford. Perhaps not a classic, but seeing Emmanuel Adebayor actually put some effort in by leaping like a salmon to head in the first goal surely counts for something, right?

(Image: Shutterstock)