The 15 Best Goals of the La Liga Season
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La Liga season 2012/13 has showcased some truly wonderful footballing talent. Top-level professionals who've been the scorers of some epic goals.
Stunning volleys, sublime individual skill, long-range efforts and spectacular free kicks—we've seen them all. Even a "Panenka" penalty makes the list.
As expected, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Radamel Falcao all feature, as do some of the less celebrated strikers in the league, with the goals being ranked on either importance or the level of skill on show.
As we reach the business end of another season, sit back, relax and enjoy working your way through the list of the 15 best goals that have been scored in La Liga since last August.
No. 15: Nacho Insa for Celta Vigo vs. Barcelona
Nacho Insa finishes off a fine team move
In a game that was notable for the completion of Lionel Messi's record of scoring against every other La Liga team in consecutive games, it was the home side that struck first.
Celta Vigo's top scorer, Iago Aspas, was suspended for the visit of the champions-elect but it was the home side that looked the more likely to score in the opening exchanges.
And so it proved in the 38th minute when some urgent pressing forward prompted a couple of short passes to carve open the Barcelona defence.
The ball was worked to Park Chu-Young who turned inside Gerard Pique before a short pass inside was slid in at the near post by Insa, wrong-footing keeper Jose Manuel Pinto in the process.
No. 14: Oscar De Marcos for Athletic Bilbao vs. Celta Vigo
This is how to counter attack
The need for all three points to help them pull away from relegation trouble was evident in the urgency of their play.
Yet a swift counter attack from the visitors—just three passes including a cheeky backheel and a slide rule pass from Aritz Aduriz—saw the ball at the feet of Oscar De Marcos who finished with aplomb.
No. 13: Giovani Dos Santos for Real Mallorca vs. Getafe
Great individual goal from Giovani Dos Santos
Picking up the ball out wide on the right and just inside the opposition half, he used his pace and trickery to leave Sergio Escudero on the floor.
As the covering defenders closed in, Dos Santos rifled a left-footed curler past Getafe keeper Miguel Angel Moya.
No. 12: Diego Castro for Getafe vs. Mallorca
There's nothing quite like a "Panenka" !
The home side had been looking good to hold out for the much needed win but Castro's penalty would get Getafe back into a game they would eventually go on and win by 3-1 after two later goals from Adrian Colunga.
Inside Spanish Football reported Castro's comments on his penalty success after the match;
It’s the third time I’ve tried one like that. I know goalkeepers look at videos of penalties, so it’s another option, along with shooting left, right, or down the middle.
Aside from precision and carefully choosing where to shoot, there’s also a good slice of luck. There have been goalies who were very close to saving one, like Roberto of Real Zaragoza.
No. 11: Mesut Ozil for Real Madrid vs. Real Valldolid
Ozil takes a leaf out of Ronaldo's book
Real Madrid sprang a surprise in this five-goal thriller.
As Cristiano Ronaldo shaped to shoot, Mesut Ozil stepped up and slammed a delightful left-footer into the top corner leaving Ronaldo as shocked as keeper Dani Hernandez who had no chance of stopping the German's effort.
A goal worthy of winning any game.
No. 10: Luka Modric for Real Madrid vs. Mallorca
A stunning long range effort
The third of five Real Madrid goals was the pick of the bunch.
At 2-2, visitors Real Mallorca were still in this game and heading for an unlikely point.
Cue Luka Modric with an absolute screamer of a goal.
Mallorca were unable to clear their lines from a Madrid corner, and with the home side appealing for a non-existent penalty after Fabio Coentrao fell over, the ball fell to Modric some 25 yards from goal.
Needing only one touch to set himself, the Croatian unleashed a venomous right-footed half-volley that was still bending away from the keeper as it hit the net.
No. 9: Lionel Messi for Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
Casillas is well beaten by the quality of the strike from Messi
To beat a world-class goalkeeper of the standard of Iker Casillas in such a manner as Messi did with this free kick tells you all you need to know about the quality of this dead-ball strike.
The ball was delivered up and over the wall, out of Casillas’ reach and in the net before the keeper had even completed his full-length dive. Astonishing accuracy.
No. 8: Radamel Falcao for Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona
Pace, power and a delightful finish.
This brilliant solo strike gave Atletico Madrid hope of taking all three points in this top-of-the-table clash towards the end of 2012.
A devastating turn of pace from the halfway line took Falcao away from Barca’s Sergio Busquets.
As Victor Valdes came out to make the angle more difficult, the Colombian’s delicate chip was as cool a way to finish a move as you will see at this level.
No. 7: Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid vs. Sevilla
With his unfavoured left foot
No lineup of best La Liga goals would be complete without Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
As with Lionel Messi, the Portuguese scores goals of all types from all areas of the pitch.
This one makes the cut because it’s on his weaker left foot yet is sent goalwards with the same power and pin-point accuracy as always.
Receiving the ball from Kaka, a little trademark step-over bamboozles the defender and allows Ronaldo enough space to smash home an unstoppable strike.
No. 6: Jordi Amat for Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Valladolid
What a way to score your first professional goal
What a way to score the first goal of your professional career!
It was quite an eventful match for Jordi Amat. No sooner had he given the away side the lead with an own goal on 70 minutes, than he scored with this unbelievable long range effort to level the scores.
Amat picked up the ball just inside his own half and strode forward purposefully. With Valladolid’s keeper Dani Hernandez well off his goal line, the youngster tried his luck from 40 yards out and saw the ball sail into the net.
No. 5: Gonzalo Higuain for Real Madrid vs. Levante
A perfect example of the scissor kick from Gonzalo Higuain
To score with a scissor kick is an extremely hard skill to perfect.
That Gonzalo Higuain was able to do this on the half turn, back to goal, and with three defenders in close attendance, leaves one salivating at the deliciousness of the finish.
A superbly flighted Xabi Alonso cross came to “El Pipita” at pace and with only one thought on his mind the Argentinian surprised everyone by hooking the ball first time past a well placed Gustavo Munua in the Levante" href="http://bleacherreport.com/levante" target="_blank">Levante goal.
A sublime piece of skill.
No. 4: Joel Campbell for Real Betis vs. Deportivo La Coruna
His Real Betis" href="http://bleacherreport.com/real-betis" target="_blank">Real Betis side were making hard work of finishing off a dogged and determined but relegation-threatened Deportivo La Coruna who had already come back from two goals down to level the match.
Betis’ playmaker Benat passed the ball out wide to Campbell who had been lurking just outside of the box on the right-hand side.
Three touches were all he needed to set himself before his left foot did the rest.
A stunning way to win a game of football.
No. 3: Roberto Soldado for Valencia vs. Athletic Bilbao
Another perfect volley, but there is a good reason why this is placed higher than Gonzalo Higuain’s.
Roberto Soldado has an Atletico Madrid defender virtually on top of him yet still retains his composure, keeps his eye on the ball and lets it drop over his shoulder before expertly lifting it beyond the reach of 6’6” goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Given that Soldado is just outside of the six-yard box, to execute such a volley under such pressure is nothing short of sensational, and it set Valencia on the road to an unexpected 2-0 win against an in-form Atletico side.
No. 2: Lionel Messi for Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao
Magisterial Lionel. Magnifico. Extraordinario.
In the context of the game being played, this goal changed everything.
Barcelona were in the midst of a lacklustre performance and deservedly a goal down at San Mames when Lionel Messi entered the fray.
Taking the captain’s armband from the departing Xavi as he took to the field on 59 minutes, Messi was on target with a shot within two minutes and just a further six minutes had passed when he received the ball centrally from Thiago Alcantara.
First one way then another, taking three players completely out of the game in the process, Messi was on a trademark dribble and there was, as usual, no stopping him.
An early low shot as the defenders closed surprised keeper Gorka Iraizoz and Barca were back in the game.
Genius at work.
No. 1: Cesc Fabregas for Barcelona vs. Mallorca
27 passes, 1 goal
A truly beautiful goal from start to finish which deservedly sits at the top of this list.
Using the full expanse of the Camp Nou pitch, Barcelona crafted a goal which involved all 11 players touching the ball at least once.
As such, one can define this as the ultimate team goal.
Each player is comfortable on the ball throughout the move and the goal also highlights the movement of the Barcelona players as much as the accuracy and weight of each pass.
The pace only quickens towards the end when Cesc Fabregas plays a delightful one-two with Alexis Sanchez to leave him with the simple task of slotting home.
This is football as it was meant to be played.