Ibra goal splits opinion on all-time ranking

LONDON Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:05pm IST

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring his fourth goal against England during their international friendly soccer match at the Friends Arena in Stockholm November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring his fourth goal against England during their international friendly soccer match at the Friends Arena in Stockholm November 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Phil Noble

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

LONDON (Reuters) - Zlatan Ibrahimovic's memorable fourth strike in Sweden's 4-2 win over England on Wednesday has sparked worldwide debate about its place in the pantheon of great goals.

England skipper Steven Gerrard said it was the best he has ever seen live but Norway coach Egil "Drillo" Olsen said it could not be regarded as truly great because goalkeeper Joe Hart was a long way off his line.

Sweden coach Erik Hamren said the goal, scored with a flying left-footed bicycle kick from 40 metres out, was like one "in a video game" while England manager Roy Hodgson said it was "extraordinary - a work of art."

Former England manager Graham Taylor said it was "an absolute first class goal and it certainly ranks as one of the best goals I have seen in professional football."

The Daily Telegraph hailed it as "Goal of the Century", which is reasonable as the century is still only in its second decade, but whether it will still be spoken of by the year 2099 is debatable.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas was less effusive, describing it as an amazing goal but adding: "It's an awkward goal. Goals come in various different forms, it's really amazing to see, not the best I've ever seen, but really amazing."

Olsen did not think it was all that special, but perhaps that was because he is Norwegian.

"The goalkeeper wasn't there, so it's not that hard," he told Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. "Without a goalkeeper you can score from 50 meters," continued Olsen, before adding his respect to the growing pile of plaudits for Sweden's captain.

BOTCHED HEADER

Counting against it being the best ever is the fact it was scored in stoppage time at the end of a friendly international with Sweden already 3-2 ahead -- all three scored by Ibrahimovic.

It also came with the England goalkeeper out of his goal after a botched headed clearance but there is no doubt that Ibrahimovic's athleticism and invention was remarkable as he leapt high in the air.

The strike prompted the BBC to put together a selection of some outstanding individual goals, while thousands took to Twitter and other social media sites with their own opinions.

Among those mentioned, by far and away the most popular choice for best international goal ever scored was Diego Maradona's slalom through the England team for Argentina in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Marco Van Basten's incomparable angled strike for the Netherlands against the Soviet Union in the 1988 European Championship final is also a perennial favourite among international goals.

Dennis Bergkamp's goal for the Netherlands against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup finals, and Roberto Carlos's 35-meter swinging free-kick for Brazil against France in 1997 are also outstanding strikes.

In club matches, Zinede Zidane's volley for Real Madrid in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen is an obvious contender while England fans remember a bicycle kick just as athletic as Ibrahimovic's scored by Trevor Sinclair for Queens Park Rangers in an FA Cup match in January 1997.

There are dozens of other contenders though, with greater claims than Ibrahimovic's because they were in competitive matches or finals.

Carlos Alberto's fourth goal for Brazil in the 1970 World Cup final against Italy capped a surging Brazilian build-up and clinched the World Cup. Ricky Villa's goal for Tottenham Hotspur in the 1981 FA Cup replay, when he shimmied his way through the Manchester City defence for the winner, was voted the greatest FA Cup final goal of all time last year.

Ibrahimovic has scored some other astonishing goals himself for both club and country, including a remarkable solo effort for Ajax Amsterdam against NAC Breda in which he turned virtually the entire opposing defence inside out.

But even that cannot compare to the goal George Weah scored for AC Milan against Verona in 1996 when the Liberian collected the ball in his own penalty area, ran 90 metres with it, evaded or beat six opponents, and lashed it home from inside the other penalty area.

(Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Alan Baldwin)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Urging Optimism

Urging Optimism

Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter.  Full Article 

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea.  Full Article 

Phelps Sceptical

Phelps Sceptical

'Grandfather' Phelps plays down Rio prospects.  Full Article 

On Trial

On Trial

Formula One boss Ecclestone goes on trial in Germany.  Full Article 

Premier League

Premier League

Preview - Liverpool seek to land knockout blow on Chelsea.  Full Article 

Time at United

Time at United

Sacked Moyes thanks Ferguson for Man Utd opportunity.  Full Article 

Praise For Real

Praise For Real

Ancelotti happy as Real thrive without much from Ronaldo, Bale.  Full Article 

Coach Sacked

Coach Sacked

Struggling Nuremberg sack coach Verbeek.  Full Article 

Ferrer Out

Ferrer Out

Ferrer suffers early defeat in Barcelona.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage