There are rare occasions when a goal is so wonderful that seasoned old hacks in the press stands, with no allegiance to one side or the other, get up from their seats or just look at each other and shout “***.” * me ! ”
Bernardo Silva’s strike against Aston Villa earlier this month was one of them.
What really makes a great goal? Thunderbolt, solo dribbling, beautifully built teamwork?
Well, Silva is up there with the best I have ever seen firsthand, as the left-footed pounding volley was pretty brilliant, without the exceptional end-to-end teamwork that came before it.
Here is a list of the seven best I have ever seen in the flesh, in reverse order – a random mix, off the top of my head, as these are just game goals I was in and they are the ones who stays in my mind.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United v Fulham, Premier League, 2007)
Fourteen years later, Ronaldo strikes them again for United but he no longer scores goals like that late winner.
The young Portuguese retrieves the ball in his half of the field, presses the fuel injection, gallops past a Fulham player and hits another on the left sideline, then cuts between two other defenders and sinks in the far corner.
It was a key goal in a United title-winning campaign and a precursor to Ronaldo’s rise to potential GOAT status at Real Madrid.
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Matt Taylor (Portsmouth v Everton, Premier League, 2006)
There is a 50-50 tackle in the center circle, the ball loops and Pompey midfielder Matt Taylor girdles a left-foot volley at 40 yards which lifts and dives at a roller coaster angle, leaving the Everton goalie Tim Howard rooted in place on his six-yard line.
Fratton Park is a glorious old-fashioned racket palace. This goal was achieved with a fraction of a second of silence, as the brains of the crowd caught their eyes, before the place descended into chaos.
David Dunn (England Under-21 vs Holland, European Championship play-off, 2001)
The only goal on this list that you can’t Google was scored by the young midfielder from Blackburn Dunn in Utrecht – a diagonal dribble that starts somewhere near the intersection of the halfway line and the touchline .
As Dunn walks past the entire Dutch squad before heading home, there are undertones of John Barnes in the Maracana or Diego Maradona in the Azteca – and the title of The Sun’s last page the next day reads. reads “MaraDunna”.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United v Manchester City, Premier League, 2011)
That superb bike kick is possibly the most famous goal on this list and an extremely important goal in a Manchester derby just as City’s ‘loud neighbors’ were starting to fight for supremacy.
Rooney had issued a transfer request with the aim of forcing a move to City earlier in the season, but after securing a new contract he stayed and won a 2-1 victory in the derby with that acrobatic aerial effort – perhaps the best of his 253 United goals – with a Nani cross.
Some say he “shone” it. Those of us who were there said ‘who cares? ”
Pajtim Kasami (Fulham v Crystal Palace, Premier League, 2013)
This is the only goal on the list that I paid to see – I was away at Selhurst Park – but despite my allegiances, there can’t be too much prejudice involved as he was nominated for the FIFA Puskas award for the best goal of the year in the world.
Right-back Sascha Riether passes high on the right wing, Swiss winger Kasami runs diagonally to the corner of the box, chests and volleys in the far corner of the net, with elements of Marco Van Basten’s masterpiece in the 1988 Euro Final.
Kasami wasn’t very good and only ever scored three times for Fulham, but he will always be remembered for it. Even though the season ended in relegation.
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City v Aston Villa, Premier League, 2021)
The movement begins with Riyad Mahrez, back to goal in City’s penalty area, escaping danger with a sassy heel to Fernandinho who chooses Gabriel Jesus with a long visionary pass.
The Brazilian striker spots Bernardo Silva unbranded in the middle and delivers a soft cross met with a first volley from Bernardo’s left foot.
What a move, what a strike – Pep Guardiola was so thrilled with this goal that he burst out laughing on the bench.
Mario Mandzukic (Juventus v Real Madrid, Champions League final, 2017)
Best goal I have ever seen live – again it combines these elements of exceptional teamwork followed by a wonderful finish, from a Croatian better known as a target man rather than a goalscorer of beauties.
A cross ball is played out of Juve’s defense and three other players touch the ball before it hits the ground, behind Real’s net.
Alex Sandro, on the left edge of the penalty area, sends a cross to Gonzalo Higuain who leans and cushions a pass to Mandzukic, back to goal, who controls with his chest and executes an aerial kick that beats Keylor Navas and finds the top corner of the net for a beautiful equalizer.
If Juventus hadn’t lost 4-1 in that final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, they would be better known for the absolute gem that she is.
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