Look, the international break is almost over.
But there’s still a couple of days left until we get our fill of football once again, so we’ve been thinking – shall we, if we possibly can, see if we can definitively choose the best goal of all time?
Here, our writers state the case for their favourites. We used the 80/20 formula – that is, the selection is 80 per cent goal and 20 per cent context.
That means that the banger you saw on YouTube in a Russian friendly doesn’t count because it has no wider context to it.
But equally Sergio Aguero’s goal which won Man City the league is out too – which could have been the winner on context alone.
Gareth Bale, REAL MADRID 2 Barcelona 1 (16/04/2014)
A great goal has to have something weird about it.
And watching Bale take the long way round past Marc Bartra, picking UP speed after he was shoved off the pitch, was like nothing ever seen before in the long and incredible history of football.
The fact that it was in the Copa Del Rey final – against Barcelona – ensured that his wonder goal actually meant something too.
Bale ran 60m for the goal and hit an unbelievable 16mph. Remember, too, that this was in the 84th minute and just 10 seconds before he scored Barcelona had the ball in the Real box.
But bollocks to all the stats and figures – because this goal simply ~looks~ like perfection. I could watch it forever.
Pajtim Kasami, Crystal Palace 1 FULHAM 4 (21/10/2013)
Fulham on Sky Sports. A rare occurrence. But as I sat down to watch Fulham take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park I wasn’t particularly excited.
The Whites were on an inevitable slide towards relegation under Martin Jol, although worse was to follow in the shape of Felix Magath.
But then it happened. In the 19th minute Patjim Kasami scored a goal that should only be described through interpretive dance.
Taking a Sascha Riether pass down on his chest Kasami proceeded to volley past Julian Speroni without breaking stride. From five yards inside Fulham’s half to the back of Palace’s net in four seconds of technical brilliance.
My dirty secret? I wasn’t even watching the screen when it happened. Thank God for the rewind button.
Lionel Messi, BARCELONA 5 Getafe 2 (18/04/2007)
My favourite goal is Lionel Messi’s electric run against Getafe in 2007. Aesthetically it’s a thing of beauty; he glides across the pitch at lightning speed, even beating the same defender twice before finishing with a deft chip.
A finish we’ve seen so many times since, the delicate killer blow has become something of a trademark.
For me though it’s the fact the goal is an echo of Diego Maradona’s wondergoal against England in the 1986 World Cup that makes it so special. The goals are eerily similar. For an Argentine footballer to replicate a goal so steeped in history at just 19-years-old was truly miraculous.
It was Messi saying that he was not like all the other ‘next Maradonas’ that came before him who all fell woefully short of the great man’s standard. Not just Maradona’s equal, his superior.
At the risk of sounding like a massive wanker, it was poetry in motion.
Ryan Giggs (Arsenal 1 MAN UNITED 2, 14/04/1999)
How could anyone pick anything other than Ryan Giggs against Arsenal in 1999?
Not only does the context of the FA Cup semi-final replay (Arsenal missed penalty, best two teams in England, United going for the Treble) warrant its inclusion, but Giggs’ skill to beat five Arsenal players is wonderful.
And then, once he’s beat half of the Gunners’ side, he scores from an almost impossible angle past England’s best goalkeeper for a few decades in David Seaman.
Zinedine Zidane, REAL MADRID 2 Bayer Leverkusen 1 (15/05/2002)
It’s utterly impossible to find a more important or better executed goal than Zinedine Zidane in the Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen.
The biggest club match in the world, scored by arguably the best player in the world at the time.
What I love most about it is that Zizou makes the best of what is, with all due respect to the great man, a terrible ball from Roberto Carlos.
Not that a hit-and-hope ball 30 yards in the air would worry a man like Zidane, as the ball dropped from the stratosphere onto the Frenchman’s foot, swinging like a pendulum, left Hans-Jorg Butt clutching at fresh Glaswegian air.
If anyone disagrees, I’ll get Zidane on you.
Steven Gerrard, LIVERPOOL 3 West Ham 3 (13/05/2006)
Steven Gerrard’s equaliser against West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup final may seem like a pretty run of the mill long ranger. After all Gerrard used to score these in his sleep.
But given the context and timing – given the fact the Liverpool captain could barely walk after going down with cramp in the last 10 minutes – it has to be considered among the best of all time.
Almost exactly as the announcer at the Millenium Stadium revealed there would be four added minutes Gerrard, hobbling around on one leg, smashed past Shaka Hislop from 30 yards to send the game to extra time.
The game will always be remembered as the ‘Gerrard final’ but nobody will ever score a better goal in an English cup competition either. Mark my words.
So which is the best goal of the lot? Vote below by clicking on the option.