Wayne Rooney’s fantastic (three-quarter) bicycle kick against Man City on Saturday may end up as goal of the year in the Premier League this season, not only for the quality of the strike, but also for its importance—it proved to be the game-winner in a Manchester derby with title implications.
(The EPL has successfully scrubbed it from most of the interwebs, but you can still see it here.)
As great as it was, though, it’s probably not even in the Top 10 for overhead-kick goals in the past two decades. A quick search by the Backpost I-Team turned up several bikes more impressive than Rooney’s self-described “best goal” of his career—including a couple from the unsung ranks of MLS.
Let’s take a look, in ascending order of brilliance:
5. Taylor Twellman, New England Revolution, 2007
Sandwiched between two defenders, Twellman would have received a high-kick call (and possible booking) from the ref if he hadn’t punched the ball into the back of the net.
4. Ronaldinho, Barcelona, 2008
With a defender to his left and one directly on his back, he loops it over the latter and—golazo!
3. Marcelo Balboa, Colorado Rapids, 2000
MLS goal of the year that season, naturally, and a strong contender for top goal in league history.
2. Trevor Sinclair, Queens Park Rangers, 1997
Pfffft. What?! Top of the box, man tight on his back, this one would top our list if not for …
1. Rivaldo, Barcelona, 2001
Forget bicycle kicks, this might get our vote for greatest goal of any kind, period. You heard the announcer: “…completes the hat-trick, a minute from time” to give Barca a 3-2 win over Valencia, send them to the Champions League, and claim the La Liga scoring title with his 23rd goal of the season.
Add that importance to the off-the-charts skill, and this one is tough to beat.
*Amusing footnote to Rivaldo goal: He’s currently 38, and played the past two seasons in Uzbekistan (really) after signing what he termed an “extremely tempting contract offer.”
Marcelo Balboa, United States, 1994 World Cup [“Missed it by that much!” says Tony Meola]:
Dwayne De Rosario, San Jose Earthquakes, 2004
Two words: De. Ro.
That’s our list (nothing against Rooney’s great goal of course). Care to dispute it? Know of any better ones? Let us know in the comments.