Ever been playing in the local park when you fire in an outrageous goal from miles out, only to ruin it with one of those ludicrously embarrassing celebrations? Well don’t worry; the top players do it too. Iconic celebrations are all part of the game, from Shearer’s salute to Crouchy’s robot and a well worked out routine after scoring a goal is always necessary. Otherwise you end up as boring as Michael Owen…Anyway here are 10 of the best:
1. Craig Bellamy – A man whose career has never been short on controversy, indeed Bellamy himself acknowledged this after an incident during his unsuccessful stint at Liverpool back in 2007. During a training camp in Portugal, Craig allegedly brandished a golf club at team-mate John Arne Riise after a disagreement, an action that earned him the nickname ‘the Nutter with the Putter.’ Both players seemed to put it behind them though, whilst Bellamy showed his sense of humour by celebrating his equalizer in a Champions League match against Barcelona with a well-aimed golf swing.
2. Stuart Pearce – England are often accused of a lack of pride and passion when pulling on the Three Lions shirt, but here is a man who cannot be doubted on that front. The current England Assistant, u21 Coach and incumbent Great Britain manager’s name is embedded on one of those famous English lists, those to miss a penalty in a major tournament. The whole world felt for Stuart as he missed in the shootout against Germany back in the World Cup Semi Final of 1990. So when England and Spain were locked together in penalties at the Euro 96 tournament , not many expected Pearcey to step up to the plate. But step up he did, rifling his penalty into the bottom right corner, prompting an iconic image in English football. Displaying a face more contorted than the Elephant Man’s, his fist pump signalled a triumphant end to his and England’s penalty woes. Until the next round against the Germans.
3. Robbie Fowler – Liverpool/Everton derbies are always dramatic affairs, so when Robbie popped up with a goal in 1999, he thought he’d take a light-hearted approach to the whole affair. Except his actions didn’t go down too well. Responding to false allegations from Everton fans over drug abuse, Fowler decided to crouch down and snort the white line of the penalty area, insinuating cocaine use. Needless to say, the powers-that-be were not impressed, handing him a 4 match ban and a £60,000 fine. At least manager Gerard Houllier saw the funny side; suggesting it was a Cameroonian grass-eating celebration picked up from team-mate Rigobert Song.
4. Paul Gascoigne – Ah Gazza. England’s number one prankster. Of course he had to feature in a list of humorous celebrations. Back to Euro 96 again and Gazza scored England’s most memorable goal in a glorious Wembley win over Scotland. What followed after was one of the most memorable celebrations. After tabloid headlines over a drinking session that involved players strapped to a ‘dentist’s chair’ while vodka was poured down their throats, Gazza then rammed such criticisms back down the journos own throats. Lying down on the pitch, he opened wide as teammates squirted their water bottles into his mouth.
5. Roger Milla – The Cameroon striker has an incredible story, given he made his professional debut in 1974! However he came to prominence as a 38-year-old in the 1990 World Cup, scoring 4 goals in the process as Cameroon became the first African side to reach the Quarter Final. However, his celebration of these goals ensured legendary status and led to a Coca Cola commercial in 2010. Dancing round the corner flag now became known as the ‘Milla Wiggle’ and incredibly he returned four years later to become the World Cup’s oldest goal scorer. Strictly Come Dancing should take notes.
6. Temuri Ketsbaia – The feisty Georgian joined Newcastle United in 1997 and became a popular figure with fans despite his less-than-impressive goal scoring record of 8 goals in 78 games. Maybe he was forgiven on account of what he did when he did score a goal! After one strike against Bolton, Temuri whipped off his shirt and went all Eric Cantona on the advertising hoardings. Attacking specifically the McDonald’s and Adidas boards, perhaps he just doesn’t agree with multi-national corporations, after all, Georgia used to be Communist controlled. Or maybe he’s just mental.
7. Julius Aghahowa – The Premiership has seen many flippers, from Lua Lua’s spiralling efforts to Robbie Keane’s pathetic gun slinging, but the best of the lot had to be the Nigerian Aghahowa. Unfortunately during his spell at Wigan between 2007/08, he failed to score once, but previous gymnastics for Shakhtar Donetsk caught the world’s eye. Indeed, there are rumours he can flip further than a Rory Delap throw in. It’s just a pity he didn’t teach this skill to striking partner at the time, Emile Heskey.
8. Bernardo Corradi – The Italian striker spent an extremely forgettable two years at Manchester City, back in the days when Arab money couldn’t buy you a team. His only notable offering was a bizarre celebration involving more corner flag antics with Joey Barton following a goal against Fulham. Whilst Barton knelt down, Corradi proceeded to knight him with the flag. Arise Sir Joey.
9. Stjarnan FC – A team in the Icelandic Premiership who specialize in team celebrations, with routines including ‘the fishing rod,’ ‘the Rambo shooting spree’ and a ‘human bicycle.’ If they spent the time used on practicing such displays on their game play, then Barcelona should watch out. Still, I’m sure some of the X-Factor dancers could learn something from such superb choreography.
10. Cristiano Lucarelli – Back in 2007, Lucarelli, a striker from Livorno whipped off his shirt in traditional celebratory fashion after scoring a goal. What happened next certainly wasn’t traditional. Dropping his shirt on the floor, he proceeded to climb on top of it and perform a simulated sex act. One can only assume him and his girlfriend were having problems in the bedroom at the time. Otherwise he has some interesting sexual habits.