Wayne Rooney and 10 Other Amazing Long-Range Goals
Wayne Rooney scored a spectacular 40-metre goal for Manchester United against West Ham United in the Premier League on Saturday, one of two strikes he netted in the 2-0 win.
He's not the only one to have scored such outrageous and audacious efforts—in fact Rooney wasn't even the only top-flight star to score a thunderbolt on the same day, with Norwich City's Alex Tettey also hitting a long-range rocket.
Flowing moves, individual dribbles and well-struck set pieces all have their own charm, but there's something special about a long-range effort catching everybody out. Here are 10 of the best.
We'll start in England, with former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso.
The Spaniard scored successive long-range strikes: a cracker from his own half against Luton Town, shown here in the FA Cup, before perhaps an even better one against Newcastle United in the Premier League.
Mario Balotelli has received criticism from some quarters for mainly scoring penalties since moving to AC Milan, but he has hit the odd corker in open play too.
This peach of a strike came late on in a game against Bologna, and boss Clarence Seedorf no doubt wouldn't mind seeing a few more to rescue Milan's ailing season.
This goal comes from Germany's Bundesliga 2, where Marvin Bakalorz hit a thumping effort from range recently.
Bakalorz plays for Paderborn and scored this scorcher against Dynamo Dresden earlier in the month. Hitting the top corner from 30-plus yards? Spectacular.
You could probably pick a top 10 of Zlatan screamers alone, but we've opted for one from slightly closer to goal that is slightly more spectacular.
This no-look, first-time bicycle kick came in an international friendly for Sweden against England—his fourth goal of the game.
Anything Ibrahimovic can do, Joe Cole can do...well, not quite as spectacularly, but certainly earlier in his career.
Back in the day, when the now West Ham midfield puffer was a sprightly and creative attacking player, he was an England regular and banged in this sumptuous effort against Sweden. Lovely.
Remember Arsenal's former midfielder Denilson? He went back to Brazil, on loan initially at Sao Paulo, where he hit this fizzer from distance.
One touch to control, and then power and accuracy, all combine for an unstoppable shot against Palmeiras.
A couple of lesser-known lights now.
This goal came in the Chinese Super League (h/t Christopher Atkins), where Shanghai East Asia and Dalian Aerbin were facing off.
Daniel McBreen was the scorer, a great half-volleyed, lobbed effort on the turn.
How many truly long-range headers do you get to see hit the back of the net? How about headed goals from inside a player's own half of the pitch?
This is Jone Samuelson scoring from the improbable distance of 57 metres with a first-time header, in a game in Norway featuring Odd Grenland and Tromso.
Enough of the strange and unwatched games, here we finish up with two of the finest players over the last couple of decades.
First up, a famous strike from Clarence Seedorf, who buried this long-range pearler for Real Madrid against arch rivals Atletico Madrid. Not much to say here except...wow.
And finally, the master that is Andrea Pirlo.
Back before he was bearded and clad in the black and white of Juventus, the Italian playmaker controlled the middle for AC Milan, where he netted a few crackers from range, including this one at Parma in 2010.
He's still pinpoint now from range, as two recent free-kick goals have shown.