Football: 10 of the best bicycle-kick goals

Cristiano Ronaldo scores with a bicycle kick during the Uefa Champions League quarter final match between Juventus FC vs Real Madrid CF.
Cristiano Ronaldo scores with a bicycle kick during the Uefa Champions League quarter final match between Juventus FC vs Real Madrid CF.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

It could be the unusual sight of an upside-down finish with the boot above one's head, or how the player seems to hang in the air for an implausibly long time, or just the perfect timing and sweetness of the connection that makes the bicycle-kick goal one of the most awe-inspiring moves in football.

Cristiano Ronaldo conjured one such moment with his extraordinary effort in Real Madrid's 3-0 win at Juventus in the Champions League quarter-final, first-leg clash on Tuesday.

The Straits Times looks at 10 of the best bicycle-kick goals.


Champions League quarter-final first leg: Juventus 0 Real Madrid 3 - April 4, 2018

The Champions League's all-time top scorer added another feather to his cap with his 119th and latest goal in the competition. Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo made full use of his Adonis-like physique to launch and flip himself to meet Dani Carvajal's cross.

Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli could only stretch his hands in wonder, Real manager Zinedine Zidane clasped his bald head and the Allianz Stadium was stunned before both sets of fans applauded in approval.


Champions League group stage: Anderlecht 1 AC Milan 3 - Nov 21, 2012

Bicycle kicks do not belong exclusively to attackers, as French defender Philippe Mexes proved in this Champions League tie.

The AC Milan player chested a free kick on the edge of the Anderlecht box with his back to goal, and lashed a looping shot beyond Silvio Proto.

Mexes said: "I will admit it was a bit lucky. For a defender to score a goal like that is unusual and I'd never got one like that before. You only score a goal like that once in your career. My team-mates asked if I was trying to provide a cross and got it wrong."


International friendly: Sweden 4 England 2 - Nov 15, 2012

He had already become the first man to score a hat-trick against England for the first time since Marco van Basten in 1988, when Joe Hart decided to race off his line to head a long punt.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic allowed the goalkeeper to get to the ball first, tracked the ball like a lurking lion before contorting his 1.95m-frame mid-air for an audacious bicycle kick from 35 metres that sailed in.

On Ronaldo's effort on Tuesday, he said: "It was a nice goal, but he should try it from 40 metres."


English Premier League: Manchester United 2 Manchester City 1 - Feb 12, 2011

Perhaps a little biased, then Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson claimed: "I have never seen a goal like that in my life."

But Wayne Rooney's goal off Luis Nani's cross was definitely spectacular and significant as he got in between Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards to score a winner against United's noisy neighbours.


English Premier League: Manchester United 3 Liverpool 2 - Sept 19, 2010

It seemed like the Red Devils were particularly keen on punishing their most bitter rivals with the most spectacular goals in the 2010-11 season.

Again, it was from Nani's cross from the right that found Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian Ballerina demonstrated his poise and panache by controlling the ball on his thigh before dispatching a bicycle kick off the crossbar beyond Pepe Reina for the winner.


FA Cup fourth round: Queens Park Rangers 3 Barnsley 2 - Jan 25, 1997

This should be one of the first goals that come to the minds of Generation X football fans when it comes to great bicycle kicks.

Voted Match of the Day's Goal of the Season for 1996-97, it boosted Trevor Sinclair's reputation as one of the best volleyers of a football. There seemed little danger in David Barnsley's first-time cross, until Sinclair slammed it in with his back to goal from just outside the penalty box.


World Cup group stage: United States 2 Colombia 1 - June 22, 1994

There were about 10 minutes left with the United States leading 2-0, when Colombian defender Marcelo Balboa delivered a bicycle kick straight from a team-mate's corner.

The shot whizzed just past the left post and the hosts held on to win 2-1 despite a late Colombia goal.

There was a fairy-tale ending for Balboa, as he finally tucked in a bicycle kick, for the Colorado Rapids against Columbus Crew, which was named the 2000 Major League Soccer Goal of the Year.




FAM Division II League: Singapore 8 Brunei 0 - Sept 28, 1993

His national team may be struggling for goals now as the Lions are more known for being defensive than dazzling under him.

But once upon a time, V. Sundram Moorthy was the one who made the bicycle kick sexy to Singaporeans.

Anticipating Nazri Nasir's cross from the right flank, the Dazzler leapt into the air as his body rotated on an imaginary axis to hit the ball past Brunei goalkeeper Ibrahim Bakar to make it 8-0.


World Cup semi-final: West Germany 3 France 3, Germany win 5-4 on penalties - July 8, 1982

The former West Germany striker can fill up this list on his own with gems for club and country. There was the stunner for Schalke against Karlsruher in 1975, and a stupendous effort for Die Mannschaft against Switzerland two years later that was voted the Goal of the Year (and later also Decade and Century) by German television viewers.

In 1978, he did it again against the Soviet Union, but the goal was disallowed for dangerous play.

Klaus then replicated the bicycle kick at the biggest stage when he netted the final equaliser in the 108th minute of the epic 3-3 extra-time, semi-final draw against France before the Germans won on penalties.

1982 for West Germany against France


Escape to Victory: Allied Prisoners of War 4 German Team 4 - 1981

This one is just for fun, a fictional goal, but scored by a legend. Pele had scored a few bicycle kicks in his career, but none as well documented, in all its slow-mo glory, as the one in this film.