Choosing your favourite overhead kick is a bit like choosing your favourite child.
Clearly the socially acceptable thing is to pretend that each is a blessing and you love them equally. Clearly you have a secret favourite.
Alejandro Garnacho entered the chat on Sunday afternoon at Goodison Park, opening the scoring for Manchester United in a Premier League match which was in danger of being overshadowed by Everton fans protesting against their 10-point deduction.
There is nothing like a shiny megagoal to distract fans from finance-related sanctions. Now, of course, we have a new thing to discuss: Where does Garnacho’s golazo rank in the all-time list?
Ten bicycle-kick goals for your consideration below in reverse chronological order. All are rated in five categories: distance from goal, height at which the scorer connected with the ball, overall beauty, power of the shot and how much the goal mattered.
Let’s begin with this weekend’s:
For Manchester United vs Everton, Nov 26, 2023
Remarkable to be running backwards at some speed before connecting, a very modern overhead kick in that respect. Footage looks like it is playing on fast forward compared to some of what will come. Probably the best in Premier League history, although some edge taken off by how early it came in an ultimately run-of-the-mill game.
For Real Madrid vs Liverpool, May 26, 2018
Not only in a Champions League final, but a lead-restoring goal after Sadio Mané had equalised. Fairly flies in but something slightly untidy about the way Bale fell to the ground after connecting. No, this is not gymnastics, but these are the margins on which we must judge such objectively brilliant moments. Can you have a scruffy overhead kick?
For Real Madrid vs Juventus, April 3, 2018
Difficult to beat the timing here, with Senhor Abs judging his leap and leg thrust perfectly to connect at the apex. Satisfying sound of mass home fans applause helps its case. Mild question marks about leaving one of the world’s best players with enough space in the box to even attempt this sort of shot.
For Baroka vs Orlando Pirates, Nov 30, 2016
We all remember where we were watching this South African Premier League match seven years ago. Orlando Pirates in the lead in stoppage time? Goalkeeper Masuluke up for a late corner? Not ringing any bells? A glorious achievement for any keeper to score, let alone in such spectacular fashion, but a definite sense of novelty hurts the overall score.
An absurd goal to score, an absurd thing to do. Ibrahimovic’s extraordinary gifts meant he often literally reached heights few other footballers could match, never more so than when exposing a stranded Joe Hart in a friendly to open the Friends Arena in Stockholm. Only those low stakes deny it a higher placement.
For Manchester United vs Manchester City, Feb 12, 2011
Collectively willed into a slightly higher status than it deserves. Yes, wonderful goal, yes on one of the biggest stages imaginable, but 100 per cent comes off his shin. Despite that, gets more power on his shot than several other contenders and sounds delicious too.
The first in a delightful subgenre of self-teed overheads, the chest control with which Rivaldo sets himself up here is sumptuous. You cannot in good conscience give many power points for an overhead kick which bounces just over the line, but, you know, fair play for its part in a ridiculous hat-trick and the subsequent win securing Barcelona a Champions League spot.
For Sheffield Wednesday vs Newcastle, Aug 9, 1997
Very much the Yorkshire Rivaldo for a brief period in the late 90s, Carbone takes the self-tee to cheeky new places on the opening day of the 1997/98 season. Not a tall man, this all takes place at about the same height as John Beresford’s knees.
For QPR vs Barnsley, Jan 25, 1997
Near faultless, other than its context as a goal to make it 3-1 in the FA Cup fourth round. Connects just outside the box at practically suborbital height, ball dips marginally at the last moment to crash into the top of the net and forever hilarious that there is a bloke in a beige jacket in the away end behind the goal seemingly shouting at Barnsley’s defenders.
Marco van Basten
For Ajax vs Den Bosch, Nov 9, 1986
Impossible to separate the objective quality of the goal from the warmth of the grainy 80s VCR footage. Unusually angled, almost seeming to curl into the top corner. Like much of the Van Basten oeuvre, a thing of true beauty.
Can I just shock you? This QPR supporter believes that Trevor Sinclair’s overhead kick was best. The final ranking:
3= Van Basten