20 Football Tricks and the Players Who Invented Them
Known as the beautiful game, football brings endless joy to the millions of fans and followers around the globe.
Great saves, big tackles, tactical competence and great goals are all that make the sport so great.
But there's something else, something a little different that is more of the game now than it ever has been: tricks.
Tricks are often used to a player's advantage, helping him get past an opponent in order to further his team's progression up the pitch. They're also used to humiliate the opposition or for sheer entertainment purposes.
Whatever way a trick is intended to be used, they certainly add a little spice to the game.
So, with that in mind, here is a video slideshow of 20 great football tricks and the players who invented them.
The Cruyff Turn: Johan Cruyff
The Cruyff turn is one of the most famous and one of the most evasive tricks in football.
Though the Dutch hero undoubtedly performed it countless times beforehand, it was first witnessed by the masses during the 1974 World Cup in Germany.
Cruyff, one of the most talented players the game has ever seen, faked to pass the ball before dragging the ball in the opposite direction and heading into the penalty area—leaving the Swedish defender utterly baffled.
The Puskas 'V' Move: Ferenc Puskas
Ferenc Puskas was a Hungarian forward who played for Spanish giants Real Madrid, amongst others, and his goalscoring record put him up there with the best.
Puskas' famous trick came in 1953 when playing for Hungary. The forward receives the ball on the edge of the six-yard box and, instead of shooting, opts to drag the ball back—fooling the sliding defender—and move in a different direction in one fluid movement.
Wait for 00:18...
The Okocha Turn: Jay-Jay Okocha
Augustine "Jay-Jay" Okocha—the man so good, they named him twice—was one of the best tricksters the Premier League has ever seen.
The Nigerian had a number of evasive moves in his arsenal to out-manoeuvre the opposition, but his most famed trick was dubbed "the Okocha turn."
Rolling the ball one way with the studs of one boot, Okocha would then fake with his other foot to take the ball in the opposite direction but would instead step over the ball and carry on in the same way—often leaving the defender wrong-footed.
The Ronaldo Chop: Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is full of skills and tricks and is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to ever grace the game—his recent exploits in Portugal's astonishing 3-2 win over Sweden, in which he scored a hat-trick, are proof of that.
One of Ronaldo's favourite and most successful tricks is "the Ronaldo chop."
When facing a player from the opposition, the Real Madrid man often attacks him at pace, using the inside of either foot to move the ball inside the standing leg and at such an angle that it takes him in a different direction.
The Marseille Roulette: Diego Maradona
Also known as "the 360" and "the Gringo," this move was made famous by Diego Maradona.
Whilst running at the opposition, "the Marseille roulette" is executed by using one foot to stand on the ball, spinning over it in order to shield it away from the opponent and then using the other foot to drag it away from him.
Whilst Maradona was the man to introduce this to the world, this video shows Zinedine Zidane executing it in the best possible way.
The Rabona: Ricardo Infante
Though it's difficult to identify exactly who used this trick first, it is believed that the first "rabona" was performed by Ricardo Infante in a game between Estudiantes and Rosario in 1948.
The term "rabona" came about because an Argentinean football magazine, El Grafico, displayed a picture of Infante performing the trick with the caption "Infante played hooky"—"rabona" in Spanish meaning to play hooky or to skip school.
The Panenka: Antonin Panenka
One of the most cocky or most skillful ways of beating a goalkeeper from the penalty spot, "the Panenka" sees a player nonchalantly chip the ball down the centre of the goal whilst the goalkeeper dives either one way or the other.
As reported on FIFA's official website, "the Panenka" first came about in the final of the 1976 European Championships.
Antonin Panenka stepped up with a chance to score the winning penalty for Czechoslovakia against Germany. Facing German custodian Sepp Maier, Panenka simply lofted the ball down the centre of the goal and past the keeper.
Following the win, Panenka admitted, per FIFA:
I suspect that he doesn’t like the sound of my name too much. I never wished to make him look ridiculous. On the contrary, I chose the penalty because I saw and realised it was the easiest and simplest recipe for scoring a goal. It is a simple recipe.
La Cuauhteminha: Cuauhtemoc Blanco
Rarely ever seen and used by predominantly by one man, "La Cuauhteminha" is used by Mexican football Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
Often when facing two defenders, Blanco would hold the ball between both feet and hop through the air, carrying the ball past his opposition.
Though not always successful, the move is highly entertaining and could leave a number of defenders embarrassed when executed properly.
The Aurelio: Rodrigo Taddei
Performed on a regular basis by Rodrigo Taddei, "the Aurelio" is one of the more difficult tricks to master.
Stepping over the ball with the non-kicking foot, Taddei then uses his favoured right foot to drag the ball around the outside of his left—fooling the opposition to thinking he is going one way—before whipping it on in front of him and back on to his right side.
The Step-Over: Law Adam
One of the most simple yet effective tricks in football, "the step-over" can create a player space to pass, cross or shoot if done correctly.
Many, many players have used it throughout the history of football—Chris Waddle, Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo to name a few—but it is believed that Dutch footballer Law Adam was the first to perfect the trick.
The Trivela: Ricardo Quaresma
"The Trivela" is a very effective way to play a pass or a shot when a player has been forced on to his weaker foot.
Portugal's Ricardo Quaresma is an expert at "the Trivela." Having been turned onto his weaker left side, rather than using his unfavoured foot, Quaresma often uses the outside of his right foot—and to great effect.
The Back-Heel: Juan Carlos Lorenzo
"The back-heel" is one of the more simple tricks in football, but if used correctly, it can be one of the best.
Simply put, when wanting to play a pass or a shot in the opposite direction from where a player is facing, "the back-heel" is the most effect method of doing just that.
It is believed that Real Madrid forward Alfredo di Stefano was one of the first to execute it, after notching one of his four goals in a match against Atletico Madrid back in 1955.
Seal Dribble: Kerlon
Undoubtedly one of the most irritating tricks—if you're a defender, that is—Kerlon's "seal dribble" is something of a rarity.
The Brazilian often flicks the ball up in the air and opts to run with it, bouncing it on his head as he passes opposition players.
As the video shows, not everybody is a fan of it...
The Flip-Flap: Rivelino
Also known as “the akka” or “the elastico,” Brazilian Rivelino first executed the trick during the 1970 World Cup.
Often done using the player's stronger foot, the ball is moved one way—as if meaning to go past the opposition in that direction—before being whipped back, using the inside of the foot.
Ronaldinho perfected it after bursting onto the scene, and it has since been used by countless other players.
The Fake Kick: Ronaldinho/Thierry Henry
More of a gimmick than anything, "the fake kick" is rarely seen but can be relatively useful—if performed correctly.
The Mule Kick: Gianfranco Zola
Fortunately, England Under-21 striker Ravel Morrison scored a goal using this trick in training recently, and it has since been dubbed "the mule kick."
Though it is sheer improvisation that forces a player to kick the ball in such a way, many players have used in throughout the history of the game, but the most famous is surely Gianfranco Zola's effort against Norwich.
The Biava: Giuseppe Biava
Possibly not a trick a huge amount of people would have seen, but Giuseppe Biava's goal—which he has since done a number of times—against Reggina is truly astounding.
For want of a better name, "the Biava" came about due to the centre-half's ability to contort his body when the ball was seemingly out of reach.
Front-Flip Throw-In: Ryan Guy
Not a particularly useful trick, but "the front-flip throw-in" is highly entertaining.
It doesn't need much of an introduction, as it does exactly what it says on the tin.
The Ball-Stand: Andrei Kanchelskis
Like Ryan Guy's throw-in, Andrei Kanchelskis' "ball-stand" doesn't serve much purpose, but it will always be remembered as one of the more entertaining tricks around.
The Dive: Jurgen Klinsmann
The most hated trick of them all, "the dive" has been around for years and is now adopted by many, many footballers in order to con the referee into awarding a free-kick.
Though many players will have performed this trick beforehand, it first reared its ugly head properly when German international Jurgen Klinsmann took a dive during the 1990 World Cup.
So much was said about Klinsmann's dive that he adopted it as his celebration whilst playing for Tottenham in the Premier League.
Love it or hate it, "the dive" is one of the most popular tricks around and, when executed properly, can be one of the more effective methods of defeating an opponent.