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Anyone reading this article knows that goals are the defining part of soccer and determine the match’s outcome. Who wins and loses, or are teams tied. Soccer is, by all means, favorable towards strikers, and attacking midfielders. Because they are the ones setting up or scoring goals. I advise you to look up the history of different “best player” awards and ask yourselves how many defenders and goalkeepers you see there. Regardless, the fans like goals. So do the players, especially if the goal is something to remember for ages. This article is about some of the best soccer goals ever (in my opinion). But before getting to goals, let’s set some “rules” in place.
Soccer Goals To Include
Here I’m lining out a few sets of rules; what kind of goals are seen here as “the best” or worthy to be a top soccer goal. But remember, goals need to meet at least one criterion, not all of them at once. Also, the order is random. The outlines are:
- Including at least one volley;
- A top-quality or the (one of) best soccer goal from 2021;
- Be part of the best soccer moment, e.g., being the decisive goal in a crucial match;
- It needs to be a top-quality soccer goal, meaning no accidental finishes are allowed;
- And last, it needs to have proof. Video footage links will be available for each of these goals.
Best soccer goals
Dennis Bergkamp vs. Argentina
If I had to choose the defining moment of his career, it would be the goal against Argentina during the 1998 World Cup quarterfinal. A few key reasons why that goal deserves the spot on this list. First the pass from Frank de Boer, which was almost 60 yards long. Bergkamp took control of the pass with an excellent touch, which surprised the Argentines. The second is the magnitude of the moment. That particular goal is Bergkamp’s defining goal for many. Furthermore, it happened in the 90th minute of a World Cup quarterfinal match, clinching the Dutch a place in the semifinals. There is even a meme video made from that goal, where a Dutch commentator goes crazy. In my eyes, that goal is a candidate for the best soccer goal ever in the World Cup.
Zinedine Zidane vs. Bayer Leverkusen
There is no escape from the 2002 Champions League final when I discuss soccer volley goals. Zidane’s iconic goal is one of the best in the Champions League. One-touch volley goals are almost always marvelous to watch because of the skills and execution it requires. For example, Paul Scholes, James Rodriguez, and Dani Alves have scored crazy one-touch volleys during their careers. But Zidane’s was on a different level, rocketing a sky-high ball right into the top corner. That goal was the difference and gave Real Madrid its ninth competition trophy. There isn’t any doubt that moment defined the final.
Oscarine Masuluke vs. Orlando Pirates
Time to bring something new. It’s not unheard of to get all 11 players for a last-gasp goal chance when one team is chasing a tie. However, it is still rare to see a goalkeeper score. That is where we are heading now. To South African Premier League. Why? Because Oscarine Masuluke did just that, he scored a match-tying goal for Baroka. Two things, why that goal makes this list. One, he plays as a goalkeeper; two, it is a bicycle kick. On top of that, he got nominated for the Puskaš award, being the only keeper to earn the honor. Yes, he didn’t WIN the prize but try finding a goalie scoring a bicycle kick who is not Oscarine Masuluke. I don’t recall even Rodrigo Ceni doing that.
Roberto Carlos vs. France
If there is one soccer player, who can either bend the laws of physics or have complete command over the Magnus effect*, it has to be Roberto Carlos. He demonstrated this beautifully in front of the world by scoring this insane goal from 40 yards out. Few players would go for a shot from this far, much less outside their foot. Despite the goal itself coming at “Le Tournoi” in 1997, the warmup for the following year’s World Cup, it is still regarded as the best free kick ever. I agree because of the power and control that Carlos put into the ball when he shot at it. Ultimately, he had nothing to lose and decided to for it. All parties won from that spectacular sight, even the French.
*Magnus effect – in simple terms, that is the name of a phenomenon that makes spinning balls curve in the air.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Juventus
There is no debate if Ronaldo is one of the best-ever players. He also has scored many incredible goals during his career, but his overhead kick against Juventus in 2018 stands out. In my opinion, it is the best goal of his career. There are two reasons for that. First, who beats a heading challenge with a foot?! Because that is what Ronaldo did, beating the Juventus defender’s header attempt with his overhead kick. Second, Juventus fans applauded it since the goal was scored in Turin. It was a show of respect for Ronaldo’s incredible physical capabilities to create magical moments like these. This moment got magnified even further when it came out that the goal didn’t win the Puskas award. For me, it seemed like a robbery.
Karim Benzema vs. Switzerland
Karim Benzema has used his new prime to become a deadly striker. His goal against Switzerland at EURO 2020 is another example of his greatness. Also, it shows why he deserved to be on the French national soccer team after falling out of the coach’s favor. The main talking point of this particular moment is Benzema’s touch before finishing. That is ridiculous. How on earth can you make that half-split movement while in motion and grab the ball to beat the entire defense of Switzerland. I advise you to look at the video to see this yourself. You’ll appreciate that you see soccer’s art at its best.
James Rodriguez vs. Uruguay
Once upon a time, there was young James Rodriguez, and he was a gifted striker. In 2014, he got an invite to the Colombian national team for the 2014 World Cup. Since that kind of significant tournament also receives a lot of audience from the scouts, James rose to the challenge. He scored six goals, winning the Golden Boot, but one goal is three classes above the others. Yes, I’m referring to his thunderbolt volley against Uruguay during the Round of 16 match. Which also won the Puskaš award. Rodriguez has complete control over the ball – chesting down his teammate’s pass to set it up perfectly for himself. After that, we all know what happened.
Diego Maradona vs. England
There is almost no list where Maradona’s goal of the century doesn’t show up. Although in that particular match, the 1986 World quarterfinals against England, both of his goals are memorable. Though in different directions. Nevertheless, this is his incredible solo goal, which came in the 55th minute. He dribbled past five English players before scoring past goalkeeper Peter Shilton. The goal became the difference maker and was one of the critical moments of Argentina’s campaign. Despite his “Hand of God” incident, Maradona’s top soccer goal is still one of the best-scored goals.
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst vs. Uruguay
The 2010 World Cup had a different feeling for the goalkeepers because of the Jabulani ball. Regardless, I must talk about this 35-yard rocket from Dutch player Giovanni Van Bronckhorst. He decided in the middle of the 2010 World Cup semifinal to give it a go and put the leg strength right through the ball. The ball went right into the top corner. That goal kicked off the scoring festival in the semifinal, which the Netherlands eventually won. It couldn’t be more accurate when you watch it in slow motion—another piece of art to appreciate.
It is hard to judge which soccer goals are the best soccer goals. Eventually, it comes down to a few factors. First is the person rating the goals based on different talking points, which can vary greatly. I considered a few key elements – the magnitude of the moment, the difficulty of the execution, and its later coverage in public. Here are a few honorable mentions:
- Maicon against North Korea. His goal came almost from an impossible angle. Yet, it was possible because the North Korean goalkeeper didn’t guard the first post correctly.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic against England. His 35-yard overhead kick is insane, and the Puskaš award is well-deserved here, but two things here. First, it was a friendly match, where nothing was on the line except pride. Second, Joe Hart tried to clear the ball outside the box, leaving the goal unguarded.
In the end, if I had to choose the best soccer goal, I would go for Cristiano Ronaldo’s overhead kick against Juventus. I prefer that one because of the extreme physical performance it takes to pull an overhead kick this high. Fun fact here: Ronaldo’s foot contacted the ball at 7ft 6in, if not even higher. The soccer goal crossbar is at 8ft. Try kicking a ball about 2 feet above your head with a foot. Regardless, in the end, soccer goals are fine art to behold, and we can only enjoy them.