After Wigan’s Maynor Figueroa scores from his own half against Thomas Sorensen of Stoke, we take a look at the ten best halfway line goals.
The World speaks football. Those who watch, play and love the game understand its mass appeal: from park kickabout mediocrity to mind-boggling majesty.
To those who are opportunist enough to spot a keeper off his line, have the stones to forsake team mates to try a lob, have got the technique to get the ball on target and are pimp enough to score…thank you. You fuel pub debate and, like MPs’ expenses, you deserve all the attention.
It’s my article so, with bogus criteria, here we go?! In reverse order…
10. Paul Robinson (Tottenham) V Watford
I’m not even joking. Robinson, sometimes derided for his weight but (widely) regarded as an England prospect, defines ‘Route One’ football when he pops this one over opposite number Ben Foster.
In one of those moments where everyone else in the ground is thinking ‘watch the bounce’, Hornets’ custodian Foster does us all a favour and charges forward like a wally.
9. Nayim (Real Zaragoza) V Arsenal
Given this settled the 1995 European Cup Winners Cup final, Nayim scores highly for the cheek of his spectacular hit and hope. David ‘Safe Hands’ Seaman meanwhile reminds us all he can look a real lemon when he gets lobbed.
Seamo does not even seem to react with the mandatory swearing and post kicking you might expect from later Gunners’ keepers, say…Jens Lehmann..?
8. Xabi Alonso (Liverpool) V Newcastle
How boring is Javier Mascherano? Tenacious sure, wrestles back possession regularly but does he tackle, look right then do this? No. No he does not.
I’m no body language expert but I’m pretty sure Alonso’s glance right then deliberate swivel, before chipping luckless Geordie veteran Steve Harper, translates as: ‘No chance mate. I fancy giving this a punt.’
7. Rivaldo (Barcelona) V Atletico Madrid
This is genius, precision, but do you remember that World Cup when he grabbed his face and went down like a sack of spuds? Yeh, that’s why he is so low down. I’d have booted a ball at him too.
6. Xabi Alonso (Liverpool) V Luton
There’s no one in goal so there was no way this was making the top five but give Alonso his due, he’s got Steven Gerrard pegging it ahead on the left and he just doesn’t give him a second’s thought. Good lad.
Gerrard throws a mini hissy fit till he realises it’s going in; polite applause *double take* yes it’s going in, continue clapping. Dirk Kuyt on commentary too…what a joker!
5. Roberto Soldado (Osasuna) V Levante
Soldado shows us a full bag of tricks here. First he gives it twinkle toes to escape the affections of a defender who has obviously spilt curry sauce over his instructions: ‘Have him in your pocket’.
Forced to literally shake off his overly-frisky marker the Osasuna man pings his shot with such velocity it actually lobs the keeper and still nestles in the bottom corner.
4. Roger Garcia (Espanyol) V Rayo Vallecano
Many long-suffering partners might catch this blinder out of the corner of their eye and say: ‘What’s all the fuss about. It’s easy look, you just pop it in.’
Roger does make it look that simple. Moving at pace, watching the oncoming ball across his body and opening his foot to guide a high-speed bullet over a superhero-esque streak across the sky from the ‘oppo’ keeper. Yup, child’s play that…looks a doddle.
3. Maynor Figueroa (Wigan) V Stoke City
I know. I went mental when I saw it on Match of the Day as well but it can’t feature higher than three can it?
Apparently the ball took just 02.63 seconds to hit the net after the Honduras international leathered it, but half the Potters missed it with their backs turned. The ratio of element of surprise/opportunism: pimp is therefore quite low.
Alan Hansen blamed this on Rory Delap not putting his foot on the ball to get ready for the set piece. Imagine having Hansen round for Christmas? ‘Oh, great, ANOTHER present…’
2. David Beckham (Manchester United) V Wimbledon
Beckham is a cheeky imp at this point, no one knew him from Adam. It’s the fade on the ball, it’s the way he holds his arms to balance with his idiosyncratic strike, it’s the way he watches the ball in and holds the pose.
They’re not golden but they do shine. Anyone who saw that free kick against Greece should write Neil Sullivan a thank you card. Or ring him cos you’ve got free minutes.
Beckham – The original and best, you might have thought? Getting so close to top spot this is the bit where Jimmy Carr normally leaves you for an ad. break, how rude.
1. Dejan Stankovic (Inter Milan) V Genoa
I couldn’t do it to you.
In cricket they say hit the ball back where it’s came from, show the bowler the maker’s name. But this isn’t cricket, it’s just a banging volley from earlier this year…and he hits it off balance, first time.
That’s your lot. Disagree? Send in your suggestions via the Comments box below and we’ll take a peak.
Apologies to any fan who has seen their team concede one of the aforementioned goals. It’s not big and it’s not clever is it…