It was a goal that took not only Zinedine Zidane’s, but also the entire football fraternity’s breath away. Launching himself at Dani Carvajal’s cross as it looped across the penalty area, Cristiano Ronaldo and his right boot connected with the ball at the astonishing height of nine feet, and then watched as it sailed past a helpless Gianluigi Buffon.
In a heartbeat, Ronaldo had made the calculations and he seemed to levitate rather than leap. The balletic beauty was overtaken by the ruthlessness of the execution.
As it always happens in the world of internet discussions, while they marvelled at Ronaldo’s latest masterpiece, there were already talks about where this fits in terms of all-time bicycle kick goals.
Confining the below list to only post 1990- in no particular order, here are other wonderful goals that could rival the Portugal forward’s brilliant effort.
Philippe Mexès, Milan v Anderlecht, 2012
Initially expecting to contend for a header as Milan line up a free-kick 35 yards from goal, the defender checks his run, takes a touch on his chest and pulls the trigger with a preposterous bicycle kick from just outside the penalty area.
Ronaldinho, Barcelona v Villarreal, 2006
A goal that redefined the parameters of the overhead kick. With the ball sailing over his right shoulder after his first touch, Ronaldinho somehow managed to twist his body around in time to connect with enough power to send the ball into the corner of the net.
Rivaldo, Barcelona v Valencia, 2001
On the final day of the La Liga season and with Barcelona on the brink of failing to qualify for the Champions League, the Brazilian’s premeditated chest up and strike completed a brilliant hat-trick
Trevor Sinclair, QPR v Barnsley, 1997
Rated by some as the best goal ever scored in the FA Cup, Sinclair’s strike in the fourth round was one those who saw it will never forget. A high and hopeful cross from the right wing was so inaccurate that it swirled out of the penalty area as Sinclair timed his connection perfectly to smash the ball home.
Wayne Rooney, Man United vs Man City, 2011
Yes all right, it might have come off his shin, but you’d have to be a cold-hearted killjoy incapable of experiencing happiness to deny Rooney’s derby delight a place in the top bicycle-kick goals(well, either that or a Manchester City fan !!)
Christian Benteke, Liverpool vs Man United, 2015
Slow-motion replays don’t do any favours to certain goals, and Benteke’s is one of them. On second viewing, it becomes clear that the ball wasn’t as far into the corner as it initially seemed, but this stunner is best appreciated in real time.
Mauro Bressan, Fiorentina vs Barcelona, 1999
The build-up to Bressan’s effort is hardly the tidiest, but in a way that makes his strike stand out even more. When the ball eventually sits up invitingly for the Italian midfielder, there’s still plenty of work to be done; the task proves to be within his capabilities, as Bressan directs a staggering bicycle kick into the far corner.
Oscarine Masuluke, Baroka v Orlando Pirates, November 2016
Extra points for being scored by a goalkeeper in the 96th minute of a South African league match. Masuluke missed out to Olivier Giroud for Fifa’s Puskas award for the best goal of that year
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden v England, November 2012
Even when Joe Hart fails to get a clean connection on his clearing header, there doesn’t appear to be too much imminent danger for England.
But the Swede, with a combination of instinct and audacity, takes a few steps towards the ball before sending it back in the other direction in breathtaking fashion, with the striker somehow able to find the optimum combination of power and accuracy for his fourth goal of the night.