World Football: 20 Best Goals of September
It's nigh on impossible to ascertain what truly makes the perfect goal.
Is it a long-range bullet from out of thin air? Does a 40-plus pass manoeuvre have more reason to be praised or is there more to be said for the sweetest of trick finishes?
Whatever makes the ideal score, like many other things in life you tend to know it when you see it, with the best 20 goals of September taking on all forms.
Think we've missed any pearls out or there's a major flaw in the rankings? Let us know in the forum below.
20. Morgan Amalfitano vs. Manchester United
Manchester United's recent loss at home to West Brom left a bitter taste in the mouth of all Red Devils and only created further doubt around David Moyes' position at the club.
One man who had nothing to regret after the performance, however, was Morgan Amalfitano, the Baggies' on-loan Marseille winger who had a direct hand in both of the visitors' goals.
One part terrible United defending and two parts superb French finesse, Amalfitano strides forward from his own half before delicately dummying and chipping over David De Gea from close range, nutmegging Rio Ferdinand just to rub salt in the wound.
19. Cristiano Ronaldo Back-Heel vs. Getafe
As impressive for the Portuguese captain's superb reactions as it for the skill itself, Ronaldo added another back-heel finish to his already-thriving locker in the 4-1 win over Getafe.
There was the airing doubt that some of the spotlight at the Bernabeu may move away from Ronaldo slightly following the arrival of Gareth Bale, but after penning a new contract with Real, nothing could seem further from the truth as long as he keeps this sort of scoring form up.
18. Valentin Stocker vs. Sion
A perfect example of flash-in-the-pan brilliance producing some of the best finishes you'll see in the sport, Valentin Stocker gives new meaning to the word "thronker" with his outside-the-box drive against Sion.
The Basel midfielder didn't need more than one touch to make the difference with this left-footed pile-driver.
17. Miralem Pjanic Lob vs. Hellas Verona
One of the most difficult techniques to perfect, the lob was given a tremendous tribute at the beginning of the month when Miralem Pjanic helped Roma on their way to a 3-0 thrashing of Hellas Verona.
The Bosnian international has earned massive plaudits in his early career and it's concise moments of sheer magic like this that suggest he may yet go on to live up to his billing.
16. Bjorn Akesson vs. Varbergs BolS
An edge-of-the-box volley is hard enough for the most accurate of strikers to perfect, never mind a 35-year-old goalkeeper.
Paying little mind to the usual boundaries, however, Bjorn Akesson netted this extra time goal to pull Varnamo level against Varbergs BolS, the game finally ending 3-3.
15. Vladimir Weiss vs PSG
Although his side would eventually go on to lose 4-1 to the Ligue 1 champions, Vladimir Weiss' solo goal against Paris Saint-Germain initially gave Olympiakos reason to be hopeful about their Champions League chances.
The Slovakian winger has always had a penchant for producing skillful dribbles and his lightning-quick footwork was on full display in this equalising effort.
14. Douglas Costa Free-Kick vs Karpaty
Given the amount of Brazilian talent in their squad, one would like to believe that Shakhtar Donetsk are capable of producing some magic from the set-piece.
Douglas Costa ensured that the Ukrainian champions were given a lifeline against Karpaty, but it eventually counted for nought as Shakhtar went on to lose 3-2.
13. Adam Morgan vs. Manchester City U21s
You'd think that goalkeepers might learn their lesson, wouldn't you?
Manchester City under-21 stopper Ian Lawlor was the latest to be caught off his line after Adam Morgan picked up the ball at halfway before chipping in from 45 yards.
Morgan's finish is all the more impressive given that it takes just a second or two for the Liverpool starlet to turn around before deciding the space is there for him to double his side's lead.
No wonder Morgan's one of the more highly-rated in the Reds' reserves.
12. Aleksandar Kolarov vs. Wales
It's no secret that Aleksandar Kolarov's secretly found some sort of chemical compound that at least quadruples the strength of the user's left foot—and he's keeping it all for himself and Torsten Frings.
Whatever the formula is, the Serbian's shot power was at its optimum during his national side's encounter with Wales in a World Cup qualifier, where it's only apt that he should produce this standard of finish.
11. Adnan Januzaj vs. Bolton Reserves
One of the hottest debates around Manchester United right now is whether or not Adnan Januzaj is ready to take on the responsibilities of a starting spot for the first team.
Wherever one might fall on the debate, the Belgian youngster is certainly going about his progression the right way, giving David Moyes something to think about with this rocket during a reserves match against Bolton.
10. Leighton Baines' Second Free-Kick vs. West Ham
One of two peachy free-kick finishes from Leighton Baines in the fixture, Everton's Mr. Reliable turned up with the goods precisely when the Toffees needed it most.
The kind of free-kick that seems to float forever in the air yet could be missed with the blink of an eye, Jussi Jaaskelainen was helpless in preventing the Everton left-back from scoring his second of the match.
9. Victor Sanchez vs. Athletic Bilbao
Not exactly known for his prolific scoring record, it's incredible to think that a more defensively-minded player like Espanyol's Victor Sanchez was able to finish the slightest of opportunities such as this.
Wild in its execution yet technically brilliant at the same time, the 26-year-old's first of two scored in the 3-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao was the best Sanchez is likely to produce in his career.
8. Tomasz Cywka vs. Nottingham Forest
As lovely as it may be sometimes to watch the ball wobble precariously through the air a la Cristiano Ronaldo, it's sometimes just sweet to see the ball move not an inch as it glides into the back of the net.
Tomasz Cywka gave Barnsley an early goal of the season contender with this 35-yard free-kick effort against Nottingham Forest that provided testament to the notion that the lower leagues sometimes produce the best goals.
7. Jordan Mutch vs. Fulham
For a Premier League new boy, every single point is a vital one.
In that essence, it was generous of Jordan Mutch to gift Cardiff three with this 92nd-minute bullet from 25 yards out, flashing an unstoppable shot past David Stockdale.
Launched through a sea of four bodies, the 21-year-old got his Premier League scoring record off to the brightest of starts.
6. Zhi Gin Lam vs. Borussia Dortmund
A strike that seems to get better every time you view it, Zhi Gin Lam grabbed his first Bundesliga goal for Hamburger SV against Borussia Dortmund in September with an absolute cracker.
Dribbling at several opponents before cutting in and unleashing a ferocious curler past Roman Weidenfeller, there was really little that could be done to stop the German youngster's long-range finish.
5. Ronaldinho First Free-Kick vs. Fluminense
Arguably the best free-kick taker of all time, Ronaldinho's rise back to form with Atletico Mineiro has meant him rediscovering some of his better aspects but never losing his touch from a set-piece.
Against Fluminense last month, the veteran grabbed no fewer than two free-kick goals, the best of which being his first and reminding viewers of a certain ad campaign from years gone by.
4. Mattias Mete Volley vs. Mjallby
First it was Marco Van Basten with players such as Gareth Bale and Robin van Persie more recently giving commendable tributes, but the across-the-body strike from Mattias Mete earlier this month was a memorable goal in its own regard.
The Syrianska forward connects magnificently with his left foot, grabbing a sensational equaliser against Mjallby and not to mention struggling to crack even the slightest of smiles.
3. Yohan Cabaye vs. Everton
Yohan Cabaye somehow managed to get the ball out from under his feet in time to hit this rasping 35-yard shot past the diving figure of Tim Howard.
The Frenchman underwent a period of controversy over the course of summer after it emerged that he, per the Metro, wanted a move away from Newcastle United to Arsenal.
However, Cabaye is gradually rebuilding his relationship with the club and strikes such as this will make the job so much easier.
2. Carlos Clark vs. Limon
This week, it's the overhead kick that reigns as most delectable, with Carlos Clark's penalty-spot finish just missing out on top spot.
With the ball coming across his body slightly, the Carmelita attacker countered the flight of the ball with a sizable injection of pace, leaving the Limon No. 1 without the slightest chance of preventing the top-corner strike.
1. Jurijs Zigajevs' Bicycle Kick vs. Spartaks
On the very last day of September, Jurijs Zigajevs gave the top tier of Latvian football some much-needed publicity after bagging this ridiculous overhead kick goal against Spartaks.
The FK Ventspils midfielder chests up a teammate's hopeful chip forward with aplomb before then capitalising on some loose defending to punish the visitors.
Although just 18 yards out, it's the way that Zigajevs manages to loop the ball over the goalkeeper with pace that makes this such a highlight, straight off the showboat reel.
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