There is no more gorgeous shot in golf than a cute chip from just outside the green, gaining air, spinning off the turf and slowly rolling into the hole.
Whilst thunderous drives are admired for their mix of power and control, and puts their composure and accuracy, chips require something a little different – delicacy, precision and most importantly imagination. As much as execution, it’s about whether you can see the shot in your mind’s eye.
ICONS of Football combines the beautiful game’s greats with the world of golf in a Ryder-Cup-style tournament between England and the Rest of the World, and the 2017 edition at The Belfry this June is being hotly anticipated by fans of both sports. So, with the build-up to the tournament now on the home stretch, what better way to prepare for it than a look back at some of football’s greatest lobs and chips that spectacularly found their way into the net. Enjoy…
More impressive than the technique is the sheer audacity of Charlie Adam’s strike, especially considering Chelsea were charging towards the Premier League title at the time. Picking up the ball midway into his own half, the Scotland international took a few steps forward before launching the it over a flailing Thibaut Courtois – no easy feat when the glovesman measures in at nearly 6 foot 7. Those involved in Icons of Football 2017 this summer would love to produce this kind of drive from the tee.
He may have lasted just one season at Manchester United but Angel Di Maria arrived in a blaze of stunning form, netting three times in his first five Premier League appearances. Things quickly unravelled from there as the Argentine forced a summer move to PSG, but his English top flight berth will never be forgotten simply for this gorgeous goal in a 5-3 thriller with Leicester City. It’s a shame Premier League fans only got a small taste of the midfielder’s immense talent.
It was one of the goals that earned James Rodriguez the 2014 World Cup’s Golden Boot and a subsequent big-money move to Real Madrid. Unfortunately, the Colombian international hasn’t been able to perform at the full extremities of his powers since joining the ranks at the Bernabeu, but those six goals in Brazil showed what a truly talented player he is. In addition to his unforgettable strike against Uruguay, he produced this dazzler against Japan – jinking the ball around the defender before chipping the goalkeeper at virtually point-blank range. If an Icon can pull off a chip of this quality at The Belfry, it’ll undoubtedly get in the hole.
Ronaldinho’s bamboozling free kick in 2002 crushed the dreams of a nation, ended the England career of a top-class goalkeeper in David Seaman and gave a hint of what to expect from the Brazilian forward in the many years to come. Ronaldinho would go on to become Barcelona’s poster-boy and revered by many at his peak as the best player in the world; the debates over whether he meant it and whether Seaman should have done better, meanwhile, continue to rumble on.
It was the goal that put David Beckham on the map. The then-Manchester United youngster had inherited the No.10 jersey just a matter of weeks previously after his first full season in the senior squad, his predecessor being Mark Hughes, and certainly did it justice with an iconic goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon, heralding a career at the very top of the beautiful game. Another long-range drive our Icons will hope to replicate at The Belfry.
From one Manchester United icon to another, this goal epitomised the foreign flair Eric Cantona had brought to Old Trafford and indeed the Premier League, linking up with a cute one-two before delicately chipping the ball over the Sunderland goalkeeper. A poignant occasion, Cantona wore the captain’s armband that season and lead the Red Devils to the Premier League title before retiring. His celebration, almost arrogant in its nonchalance, has become as iconic as the goal itself – can one of our Icons beat it with their own collar-up celebration in June?
A delicate chip with a bit of a difference, coming at the most acute of angles. Back in 2006, the footballing world was more than used to the site of Frank Lampard arriving late from midfield to get onto the end of a knockdown and half-volley the ball into the net. But upon facing Barcelona in the Champions League, the former England man provided something more unique, shimmying to the byline before lobbing the ball into the opposing inside netting. If one of our Icons find themselves facing a similarly tough angle at The Belfry, they’ll know who to find inspiration from.
Perhaps the most frustrating player to ever grace the Premier League. Robinho was blessed with an abundance of ability, but an attitude that saw him last just 18 months at Manchester City. During that time, however, he did delight Premier League fans – never more so than when he executed this lovely chip in a 3-0 win over Arsenal. City finished 10th that season, but Robinho’s large price-tag and exotic goals marked a new era for the club.
Lionel Messi’s first ever goal for Barcelona was a cheeky chip on the half volley and he’s treated us to a fair few more down the years, not least including this effort against Sevilla. A goal that epitomises everything about the serial Ballon d’Or winner, he marauds through the defence by playing a one-two with Andres Iniesta, pokes the ball through a defender’s legs with the cutest of nutmegs and then dinks it over the goalie and into the inside netting. Pure class.
Francesco Totti is one of Italian football’s all-time greats and will hang up his boots at the end of the season with over 300 Roma goals to his name. This goal will undoubtedly make his highlight reel, not least because it came against high quality opposition in Inter Milan. Totti fought his way through the midfield and charged towards the penalty area, before catching the goalkeeper off guard with a chip that fell almost as quickly as it rose. An iconic goal for an iconic player.