Ranking the 30 Best Goals of 2012
Bleacher Report is proud to bring you the 30 best goals of 2012. So please, sit back and enjoy these golazos.
Please note that this list is purely subjective. In no way is it meant to be complete.
There will be omissions, so please comment below with a video link to the goal that you believe should be included.
30. Lukas Podolski (Arsenal) vs. Montpellier
Montpellier have been free-falling since selling Olivier Giroud to Arsenal.
Lukas Podolski heaped further misery on the French club with a superbly taken first-time volley past Geoffrey Jourdren.
When Podolski was playing in the Bundesliga, he was a habitual candidate for the tor des monats (goal of the month), winning the award a record 10 times.
YouTube user isaaclimyj uploaded a video which showed how similar George Graham's goal in 1970 against Liverpool was to Podolski's.
29. Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich)
Don't you love high-IQ footballers with world-class technique?
Thomas Müller drags the ball wide to take out René Adler with the intention of cutting it back to Mario Mandzukić, But he decides against it due to the risk of Michael Mancienne or Heiko Westermann intercepting the pass.
Müller can play in Toni Kroos, but he doesn't. Instead, Bayern Munich's No. 25 cheekily clips the ball over Adler from a very tight angle.
What legitimizes this goal is that it's against Adler, arguably the best on-form goalkeeper in the world and certainly the Bundesliga's most dominant shot-stopper right now.
In analysing the goal, it's Dennis Diekmeier who is caught out of position by Franck Ribéry's through-ball.
Marcell Jansen is forced over from left-back to provide extra cover and has to make a snap judgement: go to the near post or attack the ball?
He chose the latter, which gave Müller that small window through which to slot the ball.
28. Oscar (Chelsea) vs. Juventus
For those two minutes, Leonardo Bonucci felt the exact same feeling Aston Villa supporters had during their 8-0 thrashing to Chelsea: let me drink down this misery.
Bonucci thinks he can clear Oscar's shot but deflects it straight into his own net for the Chelsea player's first goal.
Then he is outmuscled by the Brazilian, who turns sharply away from Andrea Pirlo and curls it past Gianluigi Buffon for a memorable second goal.
27. Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden) vs. France
2012 has been a career-defining year for Zlatan Ibrahimović. From 2009-2011, he scored eight goals in 21 games for Sweden. In 2012, he netted 11 goals in eight games, including this acrobatic effort against the French.
26. Alain Traoré (Lorient) vs. Rennes
Operating as a deep-lying forward, Alain Traoré has been elite for Christian Gourcuff, who probably made the best signing of his career.
Traoré has netted six times and provided five assists in 13 Ligue 1 games this season.
In the same game against Rennes, he also scored this stunning long-range effort.
25. Sebastián Coates (Liverpool) vs. Queens Park Rangers
If Martin Kelly didn't get hurt during the game, Sebastián Coates wouldn't have been subbed on to score that outrageous goal.
Don't forget that Liverpool lost this game 3-2, not only to a last-gasp winner from Queens Park Rangers' Jamie Mackie but the Reds had hit the woodwork (surprise, surprise), had five shots blocked and also lost two players (Kelly and Charlie Adam) to injuries.
24. Juan Arango (Borussia Mönchengladbach) vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Juan "Golazo" Arango. Get used to his name, because you'll see him on this list a few more times.
23. Fabrizio Miccoli (Palermo) vs. Chievo
Fabrizio Miccoli is a perfect example of the three Ps: professionalism, pedigree and productivity—all things Abel Hernández, Paulo Dybala and Josip Ilicić will take away from their experiences with someone as great as Miccoli.
Once Miccoli retires, he'll certainly look back and regret that he didn't make more of an impact with the Azzurri, much like the feeling Giuseppe Signori has.
22. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) vs. Norwich City
Luis Suárez's 9.3 shots per goal is still too high. But if he can become more efficient, he'll be scoring 40 to 50 goals per season.
In the game against Norwich City, his shots per goal was 2.0, plus he had an assist, created three shots for his teammates and completed six dribbles.
Forget about him as a person and focus on his ability as a footballer. He's certainly one of the most talented players in world football.
21. Falcao (Atlético Madrid) vs. Valencia
Falcao has such good balance that even when his shirt is being tugged by Victor Ruiz, he can surge past the centre-back and unleash an unstoppable shot with what is supposed to be his weaker foot.
You see, Ruiz's defending fundamentals were fine, it's just that Falcao is a machine.
He's ambidextrous and very strong, contests aerial challenges, is a world-class finisher and has the hunger to be the best.
Can you imagine how many goals he'd score at Chelsea playing alongside Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar, with Victor Moses and Lucas Piazón coming off the bench?
20. Juan Arango (Venezuela) vs. Ecuador
Two weeks earlier, Juan Arango took eight minutes to score against Eintracht Frankfurt. This time for Venezuela, he only needed five minutes to add another golazo to his career highlight reel.
19. Elano (Santos) vs. Bolivar
Elano is just one of the many Brazilians Shakhtar Donetsk signed from the Brasileiro who gave him a steppingstone into Europe's elite leagues like the Premier League with Manchester City.
Elano has since moved from Santos to Grêmio.
18. Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United) vs. Bolton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers' defence opened up like the parting of the Red Sea—that's why they were relegated.
Still, it was incredible ball control from Hatem Ben Arfa, whose career has been resuscitated due to Newcastle United taking a risk on him when his transfer value was at its lowest.
17. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) vs. Manchester City
Peter Crouch would be England's version of Zlatan Ibrahimović if the Stoke City forward bulked up, but he's always been a stick.
Nevertheless, he has been so integral to teams that have signed him, being the Player of the Year at Portsmouth, Southampton and Stoke City.
16. Patrick Ianni (Seattle Sounders) vs. Sporting Kansas City
Several years ago, Patrick Ianni netted an improved-overhead kick against the Houston Dynamo. There was an element of flukiness about the goal, especially with his reaction: "Huh...I scored?"
This goal against Sporting Kansas City is a stunner. Wow.
15. Adil Rami (Valencia) vs. Llagostera
Jonas, what are you doing? Don't interrupt Adil Rami's "Gangnam Style" celebration.
You can't really rate these goals that highly because it's the goalkeeper being caught out and the player with the ball kicking a Hail Mary.
14. Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima) vs. Yokohama F•Marinos
Yep, this is the same Toshihiro Aoyama who decided to launch a thunderbolt from outside the box after watching Auckland City goalkeeper Tamati Williams make two saves from close range.
It gives you an idea of the high-risk, high-reward approach Aoyama has to his game.
With Sanfrecce Hiroshima on the counter attack against Yokohama F•Marinos, the logical option would have been to pass to the right flank, but Aoyama decided to have a ping from his own half.
13. Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahçe) vs. Genclerbirligi
There's a bit of Zinedine Zidane in Miroslav Stoch's goal, which is one of the three final candidates for the FIFA Puskás Award.
Stoch, a former Chelsea player, had his development stunted by the Blues because they wouldn't give him a chance, even though he was good enough.
12. Juan Arango (Borussia Mönchengladbach) vs. Wolfsburg
Lax marking from Fagner provided Juan Arango the space he needed to score another golazo.
How many goals does he need to score for opposing players to mark him more tightly?
Fagner, who averages 4.9 tackles per Bundesliga game, looked disheartened after being at fault for Arango's goal, and he only registered one tackle that match.
11. Panagiotis Kone (Bologna) vs. Napoli
That came out of nowhere. Panagiotis Kone was on a seven-game scoreless run in Serie A as he took the field against Napoli.
This season, he has accumulated more yellow cards than goals.
Three minutes after Kone's goal, Daniele Portanova headed home unmarked for the winner.
10. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) vs. Osasuna
Ah, the Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldo makes a cameo appearance with some quick footwork. As he has become more focused on scoring goals for Real Madrid, he has cut down on his dribbling, only averaging 1.3 dribbles per La Liga game this season.
Good to see his trickery can still force opposing players to lose their balance, giving CR7 that chance to blow past and send in a cross—rather than yell for the ball and blast it into Row Z.
This is great service from Ronaldo followed up by a sublime goal from Karim Benzema.
In the same game, Andrés Fernández was left wondering if he was going to have a better day after Ronaldo sent a rocket past him and then netted a deflected free kick.
If you were wondering, the Portuguese's long-range goal was the last to be cut from this list.
Ronaldo had several goals on the draft, as did Lionel Messi. Unfortunately, neither made the list.
How Messi's goal against Brazil was included for the FIFA Puskás Award over some of the goals on this list is beyond me.
9. Martin Jiránek (Terek Grozny) vs. Kuban Krasnodar
Martin Jiránek shapes to shoot toward the left side of the goal, naturally forcing Aleksandr Belenov to his right. But the ball dramatically swerves in the opposite direction.
8. Taison (Metalist Kharkiv) vs. Rosenborg
Metalist Kharkiv have two technicians in Cleiton Xavier and Taison, the latter scoring this Marco van Basten-esque goal.
Kharkiv also have José Sosa, the former Bayern Munich player, on their books.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden) vs. England
How can people be mentioning this goal as one of the greatest of all time?
First, it was a big mistake from Joe Hart that left him in no-man's land, meaning it was an open net. Also, both Ryan Shawcross and Gary Cahill don't cover the goal line, which was just another defensive breakdown on the part of the English.
That being said, it takes technique of the highest order to pull off what Zlatan Ibrahimović did.
Still, it's not a better goal than the one he scored for Ajax in 2004.
6. Philippe Mexès (AC Milan) vs. Anderlecht
The reason why Philippe Mexès' overhead kick is better than Zlatan Ibrahimović's goal against England is because the AC Milan defender is being challenged by Olivier Deschacht, whereas Ibrahimović is unmarked.
Not to mention, Mexès has to get the ball over Silvio Proto, while Ibra has an open net.
5. Neymar (Santos) vs. Internacional
Brazilian football expert Christopher Atkins talked about Neymar's goal against Internacional (via Bleacher Report):
It is not often a player scores two solo goals beginning in their own half of the pitch, but with Neymar it comes as little surprise. When at his inspired best, he can be nigh on impossible to handle.
I can't wait to see him play in Europe, but with Catalunya bankrupt, it's not a wise idea for Barcelona to break the bank for Neymar when Barça's weakness is defence and their keeper.
What about Paris Saint-Germain? Well, if Neymar wants to be taxed to the tune of 75 percent of his earnings, go sign for PSG.
Manchester City and Chelsea are viable options, even if Neymar's preference is to link up with his friend, Lionel Messi.
Neymar joining Barcelona to play second fiddle to Messi would break Pelé's heart, just like Skip Bayless finding out that one of Kevin Durant's best buddies is LeBron James.
4. Falcao (Atlético Madrid) vs. America De Cali
This audacious Falcao goal is my pick to win the FIFA Puskás Award. It has much more skill and athleticism involved than Miroslav Stoch's volley.
Neymar's goal against Internacional is excellent, but Falcao's effort slightly edges out the Brazilian in wow-factor.
3. Dorlan Pabón (Atlético Nacional) vs. Peñarol
Dorlan Pabón's goal seems so implausible that you wonder if the video has been edited. Here's video from an Atlético Nacional fan verifying the authenticity of Pabón's golazo.
Look at how far away Pabón is at the start of his run. He's just in front of the centre circle.
He hasn't lived up to the hype at Parma yet, as his shooting has been off-target—no goals from 27 shots in Serie A this season.
2. Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United) vs. Blackburn Rovers
With Hatem Ben Arfa's injury problems flaring up again, if Newcastle United can induce an inflated bid from one the Premier League's big clubs like they did with Andy Carroll, selling Ben Arfa would be a good business decision.
Freiburg's Daniel Caligiuri, who is in the same ballpark as HBA in terms of dribbling, is a logical replacement.
1. Papiss Cissé (Newcastle United) vs. Chelsea
First thing I thought when watching the video was KSI music!
It's not one of those cross-turn-shots, because there's no Newcastle United player in the box.
Papiss Cissé had been scoring goals in sensational fashion, and this one was against Petr Čech.
You'd have to ask FIFA as to why they rejected Cissé's second goal vs. Chelsea for the Puskás Award. The goal was so good, people don't even talk about his first, which was a stunning bit of skill to lob the ball up and volley it past Čech.
A Jamie Carragher quote resonates with me to somewhat explain Cissé's struggles this season. Here, Carragher is talking about his former teammate Titi Camara (via lfchistory.net):
When he first came, the first three or four months, we all thought what have we got here—Pelé? Everytime you gave him the ball he was flicking it over someone's head or scoring some great goals. Unfortunately it went a bit pear-shaped for him towards the end.
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Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com