25 Obscure Golazos You Need to See Before You Die
Goals, goals, goals and more goals. There is nothing better for most football fans than seeing quality strikes, whether they occur in the world's biggest leagues or in more obscure climes.
The following list, in collecting a quarter-century of inspired efforts, aims to bring attention to the latter category.
They could be masterpieces netted by undistinguished scorers. Or they could be from some of football's most recognisable names, before or after they became global megastars. All 25 have one thing in common, however: they are all Golazos!
25. Javier Pastore vs. River Plate
Before moving to Europe, Javier Pastore was part of a scintillating Huracan team that has been unofficially dubbed the best side not to finish as champions. The Globo thrilled fans throughout the 2009 Clausura tournament, before breaking up following a devastating final-day defeat to Velez that robbed them of the title.
Pastore's time in Huracan was short but memorable. Here is the PSG man making a mockery of River's defence on the way to a 4-0 drubbing.
24. Gergely Rudolf vs. Fiorentina
This hit from Gergely Rudolf has more than a little Dennis Bergkamp in it. The Debrecen player breaks into the area before cutting back on himself, releasing a shot which gave the Fiorentina keeper no chance.
23. David Trezeguet vs. Ferro
After an illustrious career with France and Juventus to name just two, David Trezeguet continues to wow fans after moving back to Argentina, where he spent his formative years.
Now with Newell's Old Boys, the striker was key in River Plate's return to the Primera Division in 2012. Goals like this, a perfectly controlled half-volley against Ferro, helped the Millonario recover from a historic relegation and gain promotion at the first opportunity.
22. Juan Carlos Cardenas vs. Celtic
This cracker from "Chango" Cardenas was not only a great goal in itself, but was memorable for the stage on which he converted.
The striker's long-range effort decided the 1967 Intercontinental Cup in Racing Club's favour, as Cardenas' side prevailed 1-0 in a bad-tempered match with Celtic. The club became the first Argentine side crowned world champions, and Cardenas was deified as an all-time great in La Academia.
21. Heather O'Reilly vs. Colombia
Only five women have ever been nominated for a place in the Puskas Awards. The United States' Heather O'Reilly, moreover, is the only lady to make it for a goal scored in the senior World Cup.
The forward earned her nomination in 2011 for a wonderful strike from outside the area against Colombia—her only goal of the tournament—as the USA were narrowly defeated in the final.
20. Jose Luis Diaz vs. Chivas
Chilean side Cobreloa gave Alexis Sanchez his professional debut and are one of the nation's biggest, most historic institutions.
Club legend Jose Luis Diaz converted this acrobatic strike back in 2007, in an otherwise disappointing Copa Libertadores tie lost 6-1 on aggregate. Both the flick to send the ball into the striker's path and Diaz's overhead intervention were top class.
19. Gaston Mealla vs. The Strongest
One of two "scorpion" efforts to make this list, Bolivian forward Gaston Mealla shows brilliant dexterity to catch a cross upside down and turn it into the net. This goal earned the Nacional Potosi man a mention in the 2012 Puskas Awards.
18. Nelinho vs. Italy
The Brazil team of the 1978 World Cup is perhaps not remembered as well as it deserves, as it's overshadowed by previous winning sides and, of course, that unforgettable squad of 1982.
The Selecao, however, were one of the most entertaining nations in Argentina, thanks in part to talents like Nelinho. The player converted a wicked curling effort to hit the net for Brazil, a shot that appeared to come from nowhere.
17. Eric Hassli vs. Seattle Sounders
Vancouver is not known as a hotbed of football. But in 2011, the Canadian city played host to one of the most spectacular goals seen all year.
Intercepting on the edge of the Seattle area, Eric Hassli tees himself up before releasing a devastating volley, which twists and turns on its way to the top corner of the net.
16. Roberto Carlos vs. Portuguesa
Brazil and Real Madrid idol Roberto Carlos was perhaps best known for that wonderful swerving free-kick against France. Of course, that would be far too mainstream for this list.
Instead, feast your eyes on this goal direct from a corner for Corinthians. Most impressively, the star aimed the ball originally away from the net, a wicked attempt responsible for making the Portuguesa keeper look silly as the kick entered cleanly into the goal.
15. Luis Angel Landin vs. Morelia
Eccentric Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita made the scorpion kick famous when he practised the acrobatic move in a friendly against England. Even the colourful shot-stopper, however, did not see its potential as a goal-scoring device.
Enter: Luis Angel Landin. Playing for Cruz Azul in 2009, the execution for this improvised effort was not quite as clean as Higuita's, but for sheer inventiveness the Mexican deserves mention.
14. Pele vs. Bolivar
Picking any one of Pele's reported 1,000 career goals is never an easy task. This bicycle kick in 1971 against Bolivian side Bolivar, however, deserves mention.
The Santos man appears to have lost control in the box but has the talent and presence of mind to smash home the rebound with an excellent overhead.
13. Daniel Luduena vs. Tigres
We may not know who wins the 2013 Puskas Award until January, but Argentine star Daniel Luduena's strike for Pachuca has to be one of the favourites.
The former River Plate man let loose from inside his own half, emulating the likes of David Beckham to score an incredible goal.
12. Saeed Al-Owairan vs. Belgium
The World Cup is the biggest of stages for any goalscorer. But few were expecting a goal from Saudi Arabia to be one of the tournament's highlights in 1994.
Saeed Al-Owairan let loose with a run from deep inside his own half, leaving a pile of stricken Belgium defenders in his wake before sliding home.
11. Socrates vs. USSR
Corinthians and Brazil idol Socrates tragically passed away in December 2012. But his wonderful talent and love for the game of football will live on for many years to come.
One of the midfield general's best efforts came in the 1982 World Cup against the USSR. Receiving the ball outside the area, Socrates nonchalantly sidesteps a defender before, with seemingly little effort, blasting the ball into the top corner.
10. Eliran Atar vs. Maccabi Netanya
Currently playing for Stade de Reims in France, goals like the one above established Eliran Atar as a top talent in Israeli football.
In 2009, the striker hit one of the most perfectly executed scoring overhead kicks you will ever see, a goal that made fourth in that year's Puskas Awards.
9. Linus Hallenius vs. Syrianska
In the depths of the Swedish Second Division, one can also unearth some beautiful goals. This effort from Linus Hallenius is particularly memorable.
The Hammarby man casually flicks the ball over his marker's head before unleashing a left-footed volley, giving the goalkeeper no chance to react.
8. Diego Maradona vs. Deportivo Pereira
Bear with the frankly awful video quality here, as between the blurs you can see one of young Maradona's finest goals for Argentinos Juniors.
Giving a taste of what was to come six years later against England, the teenager ripped apart the Deportivo Pereira defence in 1980, coolly finishing to mark a wonderful individual effort.
7. Benjamin De Ceulaer vs. Club Brugge
The former Belgium Under-21 international made the Puskas Award shortlist in 2011 with this magic effort. De Ceulaer effortlessly flicked the ball over his marker's head before smashing home, earning the Lokeren striker a place on this list.
6. Jose Manuel Rey vs. Ecuador
Jose Manuel Rey is one of the most important figures in the history of Venezuelan football. With 115 caps accrued over a 14-year international career, the central defender was a stalwart for the Vinotinto as they went from also-rans to real contenders in South America.
He did not just stop goals. Rey demonstrated his free-kick ability with a frankly outrageous long-range effort against Ecuador, a strike which deserves to be remembered as one of the best goals ever.
5. Martin Palermo vs. Velez
Boca Juniors idol Martin Palermo was not the most elegant player ever to take a football pitch, but he certainly knew where the goal was.
This effort against Velez sums up the blonde bombshell. Whether he meant to do it, or the ball just hit him, a headed goal almost from the halfway line racked up another for Palermo in his illustrious Xeneize career.
4. Miroslav Stoch vs. Genclerbirligi
The annual Puskas Award often features, alongside household names, less famous strikes. This beauty from Miroslav Stoch walked away with first place for the 2012 edition.
The Fenerbahce star took a corner full on the volley and, with a shot that fulfilled the training-ground dreams of many a coach, smashed into the net with a stunning effort.
3. George Best vs. Fort Lauderdale
Legendary Manchester United talent George Best filled many a highlight reel with his skills. But perhaps his best goal came in the more obscure environment of the North American Soccer League.
The Northern Ireland international proved that the move stateside had not slowed him down with an astonishing exhibition of close control, capped by a smart finish that wowed his new audience.
2. Neymar vs. Flamengo
The only injustice with Neymar's stunning strike against Flamengo is that it did not yield any points. Santos went on to lose 5-4 in one of the greatest Brasileirao games in recent memory.
The Barcelona forward is not exactly obscure now, but two years ago he was only starting to gain worldwide recognition. This incredible dribbling effort is one of the reasons the youngster was catapulted to fame.
1. Matty Burrows vs. Portadown
This scorcher in the Irish Football League won third place in the 2010 Puskas Award race, and it is easy to see why. Matty Burrows immediately made himself a YouTube sensation with an improvised overhead that stole victory for Glentoran in the 92nd minute.