Rooney among ten greatest overhead kicks ever (or eight plus a scissor kick and a backheel)

John Nicholson
Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores against England
Poor Ryan Shawcross never recovered

Manchester United have a couple of entrants while Trevor Sinclair and Gary Cahill are keeping some phenomenal company when it comes to great overhead kicks.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic v England, November 2012
The Swede’s fourth goal in this game was perhaps the greatest overhead kick we’ve ever seen, scoring from almost 30 yards as England defenders looked on like mortals in the face of God. Made perfectly decent players look hopelessly leaden-footed.


Trevor Sinclair v Barnsley, January 1997
When not abusing police officers or earning money on the tedious ‘in my day’ circuit, Trevor was a useful trophyless footballer who retired an incredible 16 years ago. He even played for England, though not usually in his best position, at a time when we wondered what Owen Hargreaves actually did while he was running around like a spaniel off the leash. This overhead kick made others look like a tap-in. Absolutely thrashed in from 25 yards; he dined off this for years.


Wayne Rooney v Manchester City, February 2011
A noticeably balding and chunky-looking Rooney scored perhaps the best shinner in the most spectacular fashion. He did this an incredible 13 years ago which, if you’re 30, will seem like an, but if you’re 63 feels like a blink of an eye,


Pele v Miami Toros, August 1976
The sort of brilliant goal Pele was signed for, aged 37, that could convince a sceptical American audience that football was really great. It didn’t work. Brad was not convinced.


Dimitar Berbatov v Liverpool, September 2010
What made this special was the fact that he flipped it up for himself to batter home. Berbatov was famous for not doing much but occasionally turning on the skill and scoring goals like a cool, good-looking version of Erling Haaland. Berba’s feet were totally life-affirming, as opposed to Haaland who makes you want to lose the will to live.


Johan Cruyff v Atletico Madrid, December 1973
Not so much an overhead kick as a flying kick in which the Dutchman appeared to fly to intercept a cross and kick it into the net. If you think 1970s football was all kick and rush, this should change your mind. Today we pay £35 a month or £100 a ticket to see lesser players and are expected to be grateful.


Paolo Di Canio v Wimbledon, March 2000
Also not an overhead kick but a flying volley the likes of which you rarely see. A pinged cross is properly volleyed into the net without bouncing, like it’s a socialist’s head by the notorious Fascist nutter. If anybody scored a goal like this now, they would be both feted and deified all at once.


Ronaldinho v Villareal, November 2006
A scintillating move by a man who dripped with joy – the anti-Haaland. The overhead kick was a bit of a speciality for possibly the most skilful player of the last 25 years. His goals were thrilling. This goal was very special because he chests it up for himself, back to goal, before hitting it into the goal with a powerful overhead kick, all in one smooth move. Brilliant.



Gary Cahill v Birmingham, April 2006
Gary Cahill played for England; that’s how desperate things were. Golden Generation? More like the brown generation. But here, Gary seemed to get a jolt of electricity which sent him up into the air to batter it at an angle into the net. He appears the most surprised at what he’d done and Birmingham’s defence were caught by surprise, not expecting Cahill to perform such gymnastics


Denis Law v Manchester United, May 1974
Back when Manchester City were rock ‘n’ roll and not soul-draining robots with a few thin-skinned fans who are wedded to a Middle-Eastern autocracy and can’t possibly stand anyone pointing it out, without insulting them and behaving like a five-year-old on a sugar rush, Denis Law scored the goal that condemned United to relegation. I think this is where not celebrating when scoring against your old club started. Denis was one of the greatest men ever to play football. Here he scores without even trying. If you never saw him, he was effortlessly brilliant.