World Football: 10 Greatest Goalscoring Techniques
In a player's career, they may score dozens of goals. For some, there may be hundreds. However, football lovers themselves witness at least that many each year.
Nonetheless, this does not make them at all less glorious. Every goal carries with it vital importance. There are the goals like Andres Iniesta's winner in the 2010 World Cup against the Netherlands, and those like Didier Drogba's recent Champion's League penalty kick that brought the coveted trophy to Chelsea for the first time in history.
Yet aside from just their importance, goals carry with them a beauty that fascinates supporters in both stadiums, and in front of televisions all over the world. These are the ten greatest goalscoring techniques in world football.
The Backheel Strike
Gaizka Toquero Scores in Copa Del Rey
The backheel is one of the techniques that every kid playing on the street wants to master. It both is elegant and cheeky. And, it can be used either to construct a clever pass or shoot smoothly into an open net.
We have all seen our fair share of backheels from time to time in all of the world's best leagues.
In this video, Athletic Bilbao striker Gaizka Toquero illustrates this brilliant technique to score against Albacete in this year's Copa Del Rey.
The Diving Header
Steven Lenhart Scores for the Earthquakes
Diving headers are a little less common to see in the streets than backheels.
While many professionals have mastered this art, it requires such precision and timing that most amateurs could only wish to score in such a stunning manner.
Every year, television screens are graced with massive examples of diving headers or palomitas as they are known in Latin America. Steven Lenhart may not be as well known as other practitioners like Cristiano Ronaldo or Drogba, but he illustrates the skill with mastery as he heads one home for the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS.
The Chip or Lob
Messi Strikes Against Sevilla
Some goalscoring techniques are cheekier than others, and the chipped or lobbed effort is perhaps the cheekiest. And, there are none better at this method than Lionel Messi.
The diminutive Rosarian has scored dozens of goals on chip shots against his rivals in La Liga and Europe.
One of the most memorable of this season happened against Sevilla in league play. Following a dazzling nutmeg, Messi chips the keeper to celebrate another stunner for Barcelona.
The Bicycle Kick
Wayne Rooney Shocks Manchester City
Surely, the bicycle kick has caused it's fair share of head and neck injuries for amateurs.
Few have truly owned it and less have been able to successfully implement it in a live match. Accomplished by weighing the height of the ball, and at the right moment jumping backward and swinging one's legs in a scissor-like motion, it is rare to find any of these strikes hitting the back of the net.
By far the best bicycle kick goal of recent memory was scored by Wayne Rooney in last year's Manchester Derby against the current EPL champions.
The Volley or Half-Volley
Fellaini Scores in Manchester United Draw
Volleyed efforts require the same amount of timing and accuracy as the bicycle kick.
It is not common to see your average footballer use this method and actually score in big matches. Usually, like most other great goalscoring techniques, volleys wind up in the stands.
However, Everton's Belgian giant is no ordinary footballer. In this video, Marouane Fellaini scores an absolute thriller off a cross from Tony Hibbert to draw the Blues level against Manchester United in the game that most credit for the latter's failure to win the league this season. Fast forward to 2:00 for mouthwatering glory.
The Curled Effort
Martin Kelly for the England u-21s
Martin Kelly is not currently making headlines for the right reasons. His spot in the European Championships for England, in place of veteran Rio Ferdinand, may be in question.
But, this effort against Iceland shows why the Liverpool academy star is worth a second look.
Curlers may not always be as captivating as other kinds of goal efforts. However, they require enough accuracy and power so that goalkeepers misjudge their flight and wind up on the ground empty-handed.
Enjoy this amazing run and curler by the unfortunately controversial Kelly.
The Howitzer Wonderstrike
James McFadden Buries France in Paris
Howitzers are massive artillery cannons that were used to fire small propellants at high trajectories with steep descent. In Scotland, there is still a howitzer cannon that goes off on a daily basis at the Edinburgh castle.
However, there is nothing that compares to this magnificent howitzer strike by James McFadden against France in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.
Not uncommon in football, players like the Scotsman are able to take the ball down from at least 30 yards out and fire a powerful and precise shot into the net.
Sometimes goalkeepers are able to save them, but usually, for the sake of their fingers, they cannot help but watch them soar into the top corner.
The Free Kick
Roberto Carlos Shocks the World
Set pieces can be deadly in football. If a player has enough skill to accurately lift a dead ball over the opposing wall of defenders and still beat the goalkeeper, they are usually rewarded with quite a celebration.
There are some unique free kick takers in the world. Among them, Cristiano Ronaldo is known for his unique, curve-less shot. Then, there are power free kick takers such as Dani Alves and John Heitenga.
Regardless, none can compare with the Brazilian Roberto Carlos. In this video, he illustrates science at work when he nails a reverse bending ball into the bottom left-hand corner.
Originally, it looks like the shot is going to fly into the stands, but Roberto Carlos knew exactly what he was doing as he put Brazil ahead against France.
The Snap Header
Jermaine Jones Makes it 5-1 Against Scotland
Earlier in this article, we witnessed Steven Lenhart score using the diving header technique. As we all know, headed goals come quite frequently. Didier Drogba, Fernando Llorente, and Peter Crouch are only some of the stars that regularly use their noggins to score.
Not the typical heading technique, the snap header is one of the most difficult goals to score. This requires a player to generate enough strength and accuracy from a standing position to change the trajectory of the ball and leave the goalkeeper fooled.
In the United States' recent friendly win against Scotland, Jermaine Jones provides a great example of the snap header in action.
The Glorious Tap-in
Landon Donovan Wins it Late Against Algeria
Many will argue that the simple tap-in goal isn't actually all that glorious.
Perhaps some will also be critical of including another American goal in this article. But, who cannot recall Landon Donovan's thrilling last-gasp strike against Algeria to win the group for the United States in the 2010 World Cup?
Fast forward to 2:00 to enjoy drama at it's finest. And pray that if it ever falls to you in such a high-stakes match that you can tap it in with such ease.