Neymar Creates A Whole New Way of Skinning A Defender

We’re pretty sure the maneuver Neymar puts on the last defender here is unprecedented in the annals of spectacular soccer goals, but take a look and judge for yourself:

Combined with the magic he uses to scorch the two opponents on the sideline at the start of the sequence, the finishing flourish makes this an instant icon in the history of great goals. And Neymar is 19 years old, just for the record.

The top commenters on the YouTube clip of the goal may have said it best:

 “What in the actual fuck was that”

AND

“It’s times like this I remember he’s 19, and I’m here on my computer getting fat.”

But here’s the kicker: Neymar’s goal put Santos up 3-0 on Flamenco,  but Flamenco, spurred by a hat-trick from Ronaldinho, came charging back, tied the game up before halftime, and eventually won, 5-4.

H/T’s to the Carolina Cannon and Seeling the Deal.

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Highlights Reel: All About the Bike

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.”

Bonus clips!

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.

Ronaldinho Will Do As He Pleases with A Ball at His Feet, Thank You Very Much

We’ve often thought about the similarities between golf and soccer. In both games, players drive the ball, curl it, and chip it—and the act of putting in golf is comparable to the basic side-foot pass in soccer (in fact, the coach at our first soccer camp used that very analogy to teach us basic passing technique).

The comparison cropped up again when we saw this clip of former LA Galaxy transfer target and Brazilian legend Ronaldinho casually executing soccer’s version of a draw—curling the ball and imparting enough spin to score from behind the goal.

Check it out:

He gets bonus points on the last two for one-timing a moving ball and still accomplishing the feat.

Ljunberg, Bornstein Headed Out of MLS, Ronaldinho on Way In?

Seattle Sounders FC Designated Player Freddie Ljunberg is “exploring options,” regarding other places to ply his trade, according to his coach, Sigi Schmid.

Ljunberg had an excellent first season with the Sounders last year, but has become dissatisfied in 2010, apparently over the club’s unwillingness to commit to him for 2011.

The former Swedish international hasn’t played since July 4, and he didn’t travel with the team for its July 15 game at D.C. United.

U.S. international Jonathan Bornstein has announced that he will join Mexican club Tigres after the 2010 MLS season. The 25-year-old defender—whose mother is from Mexico—will be the second capped American to depart Chivas this year, following midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who signed with Anderlecht earlier this summer.

If Dave Checketts is to be believed, there will be an acquisition in the next few days that will more than make up for these departures: The Real Salt Lake owner suggested that Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho, 30, was about to sign with Major League Soccer and join the LA Galaxy.

No word yet from the Galaxy or MLS on this, but … let’s see: Thierry Henry to New York, possibly followed by Rafael Marquez, Nery Castillo to Chicago and Ronaldinho linked to LA, (where he could line up alongside Beckham and Donovan)?

The three-D.P.s-per-team rule may just be on the verge of ushering in a new era for the 15-year-old league.