25 Best Struck Soccer Goals of All Time
Striking the ball is perhaps the most basic skill in soccer.
Players learn how to do it from their earliest days in the game. But even the biggest international stars sometimes struggle with it.
That's why it's such a joy to see a superbly struck goal. When the ball is hit perfectly into the back of the net—whether it's on a volley or from a dead-ball situation—it's one of the best sights in football.
With that in mind, we've compiled a list of the 25 best-hit goals of all time. We think you'll enjoy them, even if they're not in any order.
We just don't think it's possible to sort out the best from the best.
Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 2002 Champions League Final
Having said all that in the introduction, this goal is the obvious choice for the best of the best.
In the 2002 Champions League final, Zinedine Zidane scored this volleyed goal for Real Madrid against Bayer Leverkusen. It turned out to be the game-winner.
Zidane did everything perfectly, from timing to form to placement. It's really a joy to watch.
Eric Cantona, Manchester United vs. Wimbledon, 1994 FA Cup
This isn't just a footballer.
This is Cantona.
People like us still use over-the-top descriptions like that for the Frenchman, mostly because of moments like this—moments of sheer genius and skill.
Marco Van Basten, Netherlands vs. USSR, Euro 88 Final
Like the Zidane volley, you've seen this goal by Marco van Basten in the Euro 88 final a gazillion times.
And like the Zidane volley, van Basten's goal has stood the test of time.
Still an absolute classic.
Roberto Mancini, Sampdoria vs. Napoli, 1990
Fast forward to the 1:52 mark.
That's current Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, back in his playing days.
In this clip, he's scoring a superb volleyed goal for Sampdoria against Napoli. That's a heck of a strike.
Dario Rodriguez, Uruguay vs. Denmark, 2002 World Cup
A well-struck shot can also have finesse.
Case in point—Dario Rodriguez's goal for Uruguay against Denmark in the group stages of the 2002 World Cup.
Watch how Rodriguez hits the ball well but bends it with the outside of his left foot into the top corner at the near post.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United vs. Porto, 2009
Here's Cristiano Ronaldo's wonder-goal for Manchester United against Porto in the Champions League in 2009.
We still don't know how he did that.
Andrea Pirlo, AC Milan vs. Parma
We'll head to Italy for our next goal, Andre Pirlo's firecracker for AC Milan against Parma.
How far out was he—40 yards? 45?
And could he have placed it any better?
We think not.
Tony Yeboah, Leeds United vs. Liverpool
There's just something about a well-hit volley, isn't there?
This is one of the best, and it resulted in a goal for Tony Yeboah against Liverpool.
Joe Cole, England vs. Sweden, 2002 World Cup
Two more words:
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United vs. Newcastle, 2005
Robin Van Persie, Arsenal vs. Charton, 2006
These days, Robin van Persie scores when he wants.
Back in the day, he didn't score quite as often—but he has always known how to score great goals.
Here's one of his absolute best.
Robin Van Persie, Arsenal vs. Sunderland
Roberto Carlos, Brazil vs. France, 1997
This is perhaps the best free kick of all time.
Seriously, how did Roberto Carlos bend the ball back like that? How well did he strike the ball?
Hamit Altintop, Turkey vs. Kazakhstan, 2010
This goal by Hamit Altintop for Turkey against Kazakhstan won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal in 2010.
It's easy to see why.
Maxi Rodriguez, Argentina vs. Mexico, 2006 World Cup
Maxi Rodriguez scored this goal for Argentina against Mexico in extra time during the knockout stages of the 2006 World Cup.
That alone makes it a great goal. But look at how well he struck it.
Ludovic Giuly, Monaco vs. Lens
It's hard to know which is more enjoyable about this video.
Is it the bombastic French commentary?
Or is it the ludicrously awesome semi-overhead kick by Ludovic Giuly.
We're going with the former. Sorry, Ludovic.
You've got to tip your hat to Steven Gerrard.
It's hard to find a footballer who works harder or is more dedicated to his club.
He also comes up with moments of genius like this one from time to time.
You remember Gaizka Mendieta, right?
He's the Spanish midfielder who helped lead Valencia—that's Valencia, we said—to back-to-back Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001.
They didn't win either game, but just making it that far was quite an accomplishment.
How did they get there?
This goal by Mendieta against Barcelona provides a clue.
Johnny Metgod, Nottingham Forest vs. West Ham United, 1986
Holy Caesar's ghost, Batman! What a strike!
Think this one is too far out for a free kick?
Paul Scholes, Manchester United vs. Bradford City, 2000
We miss Paul Scholes already.
He only just retired after last season, but it's already been too long since we saw goals like this from the little guy.
Then again, if Manchester United have any more players get injured, we might just see Scholes soon.
Lothar Matthäus, Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Speaking of players we miss—can you believe it's been more than a decade since Lothar Matthäus retired?
Matthäus last played professionally in 2000, for the New York/New Jersey Metro Stars (now the Red Bulls).
That spell was forgettable, but this goal wasn't.
Socrates, Brazil vs. USSR, 1982 World Cup
Here's another footballing legend we all miss dearly.
Socrates, who died in December at the age of 57, scored this cracker for Brazil against the USSR at the 1982 World Cup.
Rest in peace, Socrates.
Vasily Rats, USSR vs. France, 1986 World Cup
Vasily Rats must have been impressed by Socrates' goal in the 1982 World Cup.
Four years later, Rats pulled off a similar strike of his own against France.
Actually, we have nothing to base that on. We just know we would've been impressed.
Ernie Hunt, Coventry City vs. Everton, 1970
Ernie Hunt scored it. Willie Carr set it up.
Why don't more teams try this?
Zico, Brazil vs. Scotland, 1982 World Cup
Fast forward to the 0:40 mark (or not, if you want a view of Graeme Souness' mustache).
Those Brazilians had some scorers in 1982.
Which was better? Zico or Socrates?
We really can't say.