From spectacular screamers to classic finishes: 60 of the best goals from 2021

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·8-min read
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Let’s kick off with Euro 2020’s goal of the tournament, scored at Hampden Park by Patrik Schick. The Czech forward lobbed David Marshall from the halfway line for one of the year’s most memorable goals:

Patrick Schick (Scotland v CZECH REPUBLIC, June)

Schick was the inevitable pick, but there were plenty of other tidy finishes at the Euros. Paul Pogba found the top corner before France went out, Mikkel Damsgaard silenced Wembley with this free-kick and Lorenzo Insigne proved unstoppable against Belgium. Not forgetting Andreas Christensen, Luka Modric, Kevin De Bruyne, Andriy Yarmalenko, Aleksei Miranchuk, Kasper Dolberg or even Luke Shaw.

Another Puskás award contender, and one of the most eye-catching goals of the year, came in March’s north London derby:

Érik Lamela (Arsenal v TOTTENHAM, March)

Here are three more Puskás nominees from the women’s game, from a precise lob in the WSL to memorable goals in Mexico and Ghana:

Caroline Weir (MANCHESTER CITY v Manchester United, February)

Daniela Sánchez (QUERÉTARO v San Luís, January)

Sandra Owusu-Ansah (SUPREME LADIES v Kumasi, November)

Other nominees include an outrageous piece of skill in Ligue 2, a blood-twisting solo run from the Eredivisie and two moments of acrobatic brilliance:

Gauthier Hein (Niort v AUXERRE, November)

Vangelis Pavlidis (WILLEM II v Fortuna Sittard, May)

Luis Díaz (Brazil v COLOMBIA, June)

Mehdi Taremi (Chelsea v PORTO, April)

Over to the Premier League and a classy early winner that feels like it can’t possibly have happened in 2021:

Danny Ings (SOUTHAMPTON v Liverpool, January)

A couple more under-the-radar efforts from the English men’s top flight. Mohamed Salah’s goal against Manchester City, on the other hand, has certainly not been forgotten – although it’s even better than we remembered.

Phil Foden (Brighton v MANCHESTER CITY, May)

Dwight McNeil (Everton v BURNLEY, March)

Mohamed Salah (LIVERPOOL v Manchester City, October)

Long-range howitzers are not confined to international tournaments. The Football League has been packed with them this year. First up, a decent hit on the turn …

Nathan Ferguson (Forest Green v SOUTHEND, February)

… and not one but two long-distance screamers from Morecambe’s finest. Extra points for the away-end limbs in the second clip:

Cole Stockton (MORECAMBE v Wimbledon, September)

Cole Stockton (Fleetwood v MORECAMBE, November)

… and further afield in Romania, Ronaldo Deaconu lives up to his forename by adding his own entry to the year’s screamer collection – before following it up with an outrageous lob for good measure:

Ronaldo Deaconu (GAZ METAN MEDIAS v Dinamo Bucharest, Oct)

A couple of quick reminders that the world’s best players do occasionally score the best goals …

Robert Lewandowski (Dinamo Kyiv v BAYERN MUNICH)

Lionel Messi (PSG v Manchester City, September)

But of course, from the Champions League to Sunday League, a great goal can be scored absolutely anywhere:

Alexander Sami (LEATHERHEAD v Bowers & Pitsea, October)

Dovydas Kavaliauskas (ROSE & CROWN MOSQUITO FC v Welwyn Warriors Reserves, October)

Haruki Hayashi (TAKAGAWA GAKUEN HIGH SCHOOL v Ridge Star of Ishikawa)

From the Olympics and the Indian Super League – and curled home in opposite directions – here are two of the year’s most immaculately placed free-kicks:

Dominique Janssen (NETHERLANDS v Brazil, July)

Greg Stewart (JAMSHEDPUR v Kerala Blasters, December)

It’s not always the finish that matters – sometimes the first touch can be just as important …

Ben Worman (Morecambe v CAMBRIDGE, November)

Robbie Muirhead (MORTON v Airdrie, May)

… and sometimes it can be just as brilliant:

Bersant Celina (IPSWICH v Crewe, November)

Danny Welbeck (BRIGHTON v Leeds, May)

You’ve cleared the corner – the danger is over, right? Wrong:

Yahia Nader (AL-AIN v Sharjah, February)

Liberato Cacace (NEW ZEALAND v Honduras, July)

Sarah Zadrazil (Chelsea v BAYERN MUNICH, May)

Junior Onana (Montpellier v BORDEAUX, September)

What’s better than a delicate chip? A delicate chip from a million miles out, of course:

Edinson Cavani (MANCHESTER UNITED v Fulham, May)

Youcef Belaïli (QATAR SC v Al-Gharafa, October)

Glen McAuley (ATHLONE v Waterford, July)

And four more outrageous goals, from increasingly binocular-tastic distances:

Rory Donnelly (GLENTORAN v Dungannon Swifts, April)

Lee Geum-min (Reading v BRIGHTON, May)

Liam Burt (Drogheda v BOHEMIANS, September)

Michele Castagnetti (CREMONESE v Virtus Entella, March)

A couple of entries from Ghana now. What were you doing when you were 15?

Mizak Asante (GOLDEN KICK v Mobile Phone People, September)

James Bissue (ELMINA SHARKS v Legon Cities, July)

In Japan, the rarely-seen quadruple nutmeg (or is it?)

Takefusa Kubo (JAPAN U24 v Jamaica, June)

How about some end-to-end stuff – here we have two team breakaways, a solo breakaway, and a really solo breakaway:

Bernardo Silva (MANCHESTER CITY v Aston Villa, December)

Mohamed Salah (West Ham v LIVERPOOL, January)

Jesse Lingard (WEST HAM v Wolves, April)

Pernille Harder (Manchester United v CHELSEA, September)

We all know that nothing beats a goal that goes in off the bar:

Jimmy Medranda (Portland v SEATTLE SOUNDERS, August)

Jakob Glesnes (PHILADELPHIA UNION v Atlanta, June)

Superbly struck goals both. But when they go high, Liverpool’s playmaker goes low:

Thiago Alcântara (Porto v LIVERPOOL, November)

Sometimes, a great goal is all about the assist:

Aitana Bonmatí (Chelsea v BARCELONA, May)

Raheem Sterling (MANCHESTER CITY v Everton, November)

Lynden Gooch (SUNDERLAND v Tranmere, March)

How about this for a pair of exquisitely placed volleys?

Joachim Waroi (WESTERN UNITED v Laugu United, July)

Azzeddine Toufiqui (EMMEN v Maastricht, September)

Thought the scorpion kick was just a passing fad? Think again:

Cyril Ngonge (GRONINGEN v AZ Alkmaar, October)

Elisha Sam (NOTTS COUNTY v Oxford City, February)

And here are more feats of footballing contortionism …

Olivier Giroud (Atlético Madrid v CHELSEA, February)

Kristian Kushta (IERAPETRA v Karaiskasis, February )

Joca (Benfica B v LEIXÕES, March)

… though not nearly as unlikely as the scorer of this iconic injury-time winner:

Alisson (West Brom v LIVERPOOL, May)

And last but not least, Ryan Broom dons his flippers and snorkel to get on the scoresheet in rainy Plymouth … and celebrates in the only way he could:

Ryan Broom (PLYMOUTH v Bolton, October)

Happy new year!

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