Everybody loves a cheeky backheel and the finest examples stay long in the memory. There was Zola’s magical flick against Norwich in 2002 and Kanu’s delightful finish against Middlesboro in 1999. Now Daniel Sturridge’s gem of a backheel against Sunderland on Saturday has joined these classics.
There are a surprising variety of ways to score a backheel as this top 10 shows, none more unique than Laurent Robert’s effort for Newcastle, but despite this variety, all the goals are united by a deftness of touch and speed of thought.
While 9 times out of 10 a player is likely to get a rollicking from his manager for “Mickey Mouse football”, the moments when it comes off are priceless.
Now, the general standard of backheeled goals is pretty darn high so selecting a top ten is inevitably going result in a few classics going unheralded. The most notable absentees are Lee Sharpe’s flick against Barcelona in 1995 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s finish against Italy in Euro 2004. But hopefully the final 10 will blow your socks off. Enjoy.
10. Thierry Henry (Arsenal Vs Charlton)
Standing with his back to goal and a man up his backside, Henry stabs it with the heel straight into the bottom corner. As with most of these efforts the keeper has absolutely no chance.
9. Gianfranco Zola (Chelsea vs Norwich)
One of the finest imports of continental flair, Zola showed everyone what the phrase really meant with this delightful finish at the near post. Also some classic congratulatory player bum slapping in the video too.
8. Kanu (Arsenal Vs Middlesboro)
Nwankwo Kanu has always had good feet for a big man, never better than this stunning finish against Boro. This is the most classic type of backheeled goal which in no way detracts from how difficult it is to get right.
7. Coridon (PSG Vs Porto)
In at number 7 because it’s slightly untidy, this acrobatic effort really is perfectly executed playground stuff that shouldn’t really be attempted in the Champions League, still I’m sure he was glad he went for it.
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6. Roberto Mancini (Lazio Vs Parma)
Before the Man City manager became a huge scarf he did actually play football. Here he does everything exactly right, catching the ball perfectly and sending it straight into the top corner.(Very disappointing effort from the man on the front post though).
5. Rafael Van der Vaart (Ajax Vs Feyenoord)
This is a stunning way to react when the ball’s played in behind you, the automatic reaction to throw yourself headlong past the ball and catch it with your feet isn’t particularly logical but it sure is effective.
4. Daniel Sturridge (Sunderland Vs Chelsea)
This certainly didn’t seem like the easiest way to get the ball in the net but it was definitely original and has the ever enjoyable bonus of the defender ending up in the net. A fantastically deft finish.
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3. Amantino (Roma Vs Lazio)
This video has everything, fantastic goal in the local derby, classic dance anthem soundtrack and commentators going crazy, what could be better?
2. Laurent Robert (Newcastle Vs Fulham)
It’s hard to explain what the hell Laurent Robert is doing when he attempts this as there is no way this is the easiest way to hit the ball. Nonetheless he manages to put it away in breathtaking fashion. Not one to try in the playground.
1. Matty Burrows (Glentoran Vs Portadown)
Definitely from the Mickey Mouse school of finishing Burrows seriously risked looking like a prat with this effort but it came off and 5 million views later it’s still wowing people. Entirely intentional and inch perfect, it’s your textbook backheel lob. Very special.