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The Top 10 Best Goals Scored in World Football

Thomas Swan has been an avid fan of the English Premier League and European football for more than 25 years.

Football enchants fans with the incredible variety of goals that are scored.

Football enchants fans with the incredible variety of goals that are scored.

What Makes a Great Goal?

The technical and artistic flair that epitomizes football (soccer) has captivated audiences for over a century. Compared with other sports, football's unrestrictive rules allow players to create innumerable variations of tricks, skills, passes and shots.

This capacity for novelty has seen "the beautiful game" grow into the most popular sport on the planet. In particular, millions of unique goals have been scored, the best of which can be viewed in the video compilation below.

Choosing the best goals was not an easy task. A flicked back-heel or an audacious overhead kick will be attempted hundreds of times in a season, and one has to question whether it is luck or skill that causes some to hit the back of the net. This compilation includes only those strikes that required extraordinary ability, skill, and difficulty.

10. George Weah (1996)

Many people will remember George Weah for the incredible goal he scored for Milan in 1996. He managed to pick up the ball in his own penalty area before running the length of the pitch to slot past the opposition goalkeeper. On his way, he evaded three defenders with consummate ease. George was voted the best African football player of the 20th century.

9. Zlatan Ibrahimovich (2012)

In late 2012, Zlatan Ibrahimovich scored one of the best goals ever in an international friendly against England. When England goalkeeper, Joe Hart, made a poor headed clearance, Zlatan turned on his heels, leapt into the air, and looped an overhead kick into the England goal from 30 yards. While overhead kicks are generally lucky goals, the technique, composure, athleticism and accuracy demonstrated by Ibrahimovich was phenomenal.

8. Dennis Bergkamp (2002)

Dennis Bergkamp was known for his sublime skill and ball control, but his goal for Arsenal against Newcastle in 2002 left everyone stunned. It is difficult to describe exactly what he did because no one else seems to have done it before. You could say he flicked the ball backwards around the defender, turned, and ran around the opposite side to collect it and score—but it's better to just watch and be amazed!

7. Eric Cantona (1996)

This legendary goal from Eric Cantona in 1996 befitted his subsequent celebration. He beat two players before exchanging passes with a Manchester United teammate. He then chipped the ball over the goalkeeper from the edge of the penalty area. Cantona celebrated by standing on the spot, slowly pirouetting as he took in the atmosphere with a vaunting stare to accompany his most memorable moment.

6. Marco Van Basten (1988)

When Dutch legend Marco Van Basten scored a goal in the 54th minute of the 1988 European Championship final, even the emulous Germans stood up and applauded. His now infamous goal was a strike of incredible difficulty, being a precise, powerful, looped volley from a difficult angle. The Netherlands won the final with Van Basten finishing as the tournament's top scorer.

5. Carlos Alberto (1970)

The Brazilian team that took part in the 1970 World Cup was one of the greatest in football history. Led by Carlos Alberto, the team included Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino, and Gerson. They won every match in the tournament, culminating in a 4-1 demolition of Italy in the final. This final match saw one of the greatest team goals ever scored.

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4. Roberto Carlos (1997)

This entry is more of a tribute to the genius of Roberto Carlos. The spectacular video contains three extraordinary goals. The first is perhaps the most-watched goal in the history of football. Even to this day, no one appears to have reproduced Roberto Carlos' free-kick in 1997 that left French goalkeeper, Fabian Barthez, stationary and perplexed. Perhaps better, the second goal in the video features an impossible strike from the narrowest of angles.

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovich (2004)

In 2004, Zlatan Ibrahimovich produced a goal worthy of the great Johan Cruyff. He twisted and turned, evading five attempts to win the ball before slotting calmly into the goal. The range of skills and dummies he utilized made it one of the best goals ever. His team, Ajax, won the game 6-2, which may bring the quality of the opposition defense into question. Nevertheless, it is a joy to watch.

2. Diego Maradona (1986)

Perhaps the most famous goal in the history of the beautiful game, Diego Maradona's 1986 World Cup strike against England was a moment of pure genius. He picked up the ball in his own half and beat four players and the goalkeeper before poking the ball into the net. Argentina went on to win the tournament with Maradona named as the best player.

1. Lionel Messi (2007)

As the best player in the world, it is quite fitting that Lionel Messi has also scored the best goal. It came for Barcelona against Getafe in 2007, and it showed many similarities with Diego Maradona's strike 20 years earlier. From the same starting and finishing positions, he beat four players before rounding the goalkeeper to score. While there is little difference between the two goals, Messi's had a slightly better finish.

Honorable mentions

There were many fantastic goals that didn't quite make it into this video compilation.

Notable mentions go to the overhead kicks from Wayne Rooney, Dániel Zsóri, Mauro Bressan and Rivaldo, Olivier Giroud's scorpion kick, Rafael Van Der Vaart's back-heel goal, Clarence Seedorf's long-range pile-driver, Johan Cruyff's greatest goal (1972), Dalian Atkinson's solo goal, Andres Vasquez's "Rabona goal," and the flying volley from Robin Van Persie.

This list of incredible goals has to make some omissions! Thank you for reading and watching, I hope you enjoyed this compilation!

© 2012 Thomas Swan


Fussy on May 17, 2020:

Where is Cristiano RONALDO’S goals!

MR M H CHOUDHURY on May 17, 2020:

The Ryan Giggs solo vs Arsenal is I think the best goal scored by him for me. Also his one against QPR is good

MR M H CHOUDHURY on May 17, 2020:

paul scholes volley vs aston villa. his BEST goal! looks better coming off the crossbar.

Shushu on April 28, 2020:

ronaldinho's craaaaazzzyyy

soheil on April 08, 2020:

where is ronaldo’s goal against porto and bicycle kick against juve

Avi Serig on August 06, 2019:

Ronaldinho free kick against England 2002 WC???

Gerry O Hara on May 18, 2019:

Maradona number 1 by a million miles Simply Outrageous And Brilliantly GENIUS

Nganingam on May 04, 2019:

Where is Christiano Ronaldo the king of football why did you ignored him is it because of jealousy or hatred

Ed Setzler on July 08, 2018:

It never ceases to amaze me how football fans will go to any length to "hate on" Germany. There is absolutely no doubt - the greatest soccer goal of all time, given the difficulty of the shot and the significance of the moment, is Mario Goetze's championship winning goal in the 2014 World Cup finals. If we look back 100 years from now, there will probably not be another goal that cwill compare Goetze's Weldmeisterspiel...

Nicholas Daly from NSW Australia on April 09, 2015:

Another Australian comment- Tim Cahill at the most recent World Cup was one of the best I've seen.. Like you I can watch goals for hours & these are some of the best for sure, any other updates since the last 7 or so months?

charliecrews38 from Melbourne, Australia on August 14, 2014:

yea you probably see those kind of free kicks in england everyday, we've only got the a league over here, the quality is getting better but that's just our opinion, you seem to be judging goals on their technical achievements, I'm just picking goals that I think are great to watch, other ones that spring to mind are rooney's volley against newcastle in 2005, and harry kewell's strike against bordeaux in 2009, the second one is probably obscure, i agree about zidane, i've hit a few volleys in my time but it would be good to hit one like zidane, thanks for following me

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on August 14, 2014:

Wow, he really leathered that one. A terrible wall, but a very good free kick. Not all too rare though. We see those at least once a season I'd say.

Zidane's would be very close to this list for sure. The way he hit that volley showed every inch of his technical brilliance. It was almost like his foot was under the ball and he was going to slice it, but somehow he made the perfect connection. Zidane was a real big game player too. Always performed well in finals. Few other players can say that.

charliecrews38 from Melbourne, Australia on August 14, 2014:

i remember watching a goal by hugo almeida in the champions league, fc porto vs inter milan, really amazing free kick, one of the best goals ever I would say,, zidane's volley in the champions league final vs bayer leverkusen was also pretty good

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on July 09, 2014:

Thanks for commenting abidareacode. I agree Rodriguez scored the best goal of the WC. I was amazed when it went in and it confirmed his status as the best new superstar of the game.

Thanks cabmgmnt. I also remember the 94 World Cup. It was the first World Cup I experienced (on the television). Players like Hagi and Stoichkov stuck in my mind.

Charles, I agree that Zlatan should have been here, but Sweden have declined as a force in the last decade. It would have been a one-man-team and they wouldn't have made it beyond the group stage.

Sherwani, I agree, and I nearly always call it football (I'm from England). I wanted to call it soccer this time because it's called that in some parts of the world.

Thanks Kathleen. I haven't heard it being called "futbol" much. Maybe in Brazil though? I'm glad it's getting more popular in the USA though. It is the global game after all! This hub has been up for almost 2 years, but I edited and improved it quite a bit about a month ago, so I'm pleased to see it being awarded hotd!

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on July 09, 2014:

John Brooks' 86th-minute header

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on July 09, 2014:

Actually, it's Futbol. I'm just glad to see an HOD on the subject while the whole world is watching its favorite sport. Even we Americans are starting to "get it"! Thanks Christy for this HOD at an opportune time. And congrats to the author - 2 years later! But worth the wait, I'm sure.

JCielio: I'd vote for the American header against Ghana, but then, I'm prejudiced.

Mohammed Abdullah Sherwani from Karachi on July 09, 2014:

It's FOOTBALL, not SOCCER. . . . X-(

Charles Goulding from Long Island, New York on July 09, 2014:

The world cup this year would have been better if Ibrahimovic was playing.

Corey from Northfield, MA on July 09, 2014:

Nice hub. I remember being in San Francisco for the World Cup over 20 years ago and it still seems fresh and exciting today.

abidareacode from Areacode , Kerala, India on July 09, 2014:

I think James Rodrigue's (Colombia) half volley was the best of this world cup

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on July 09, 2014:

Thanks for commenting JCielo. I think James Rodriguez's volley would come very close. Cahill's volley was also very good, but not a contender.

Thank you also to the others who commented above. I'm sorry I wasn't around to respond.

JCielo from England on July 09, 2014:

What do you think of the goals scored in this years World Cup? Would any make it into your top 10?

Avinesh Prahladi from Chandigarh on October 28, 2013:

I am a huge fan of soccer. These are indeed some of the best goals.

Thanks Thomas Swan for posting the hub.

tastiger04 on July 01, 2013:

Great hub! I remember some of these goals....

Bajazid from Sarajevo, Bosnia on April 11, 2013:

Ibrahimovich and Van Basten are my favorite one. Both players in general were continuous danger for goal keepers. You never know what they will make next, surprising score or a great asist.

Rest from the list are also fantastic! This hub to.

Adam Barker and Dean Barker on March 23, 2013:

Just wondering why Phillippe Mexes goal against Anderlecht in this years CL isn't in the list? A similar goal to Zlatan's but A lot better. Maybe you chose a players name over actual goal quality on that one. However a good read and fitting that Messi's goal is at the top of the list!

Andrey from Ukraine on March 05, 2013:

Wow! Zlatan goal is really awesome!

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on February 20, 2013:

Thanks for commenting SimeyC! I remember the Gascoigne one against Scotland where he lobbed it over the defender before volleying it in. A very good goal indeed. Barnes was a great goal too, though that Brazil defense looked terrible; they just allowed him to waltz on through. Both are probably top 30 I think. I suppose it's all a matter of personal taste when it comes to this sort of list.

Simon from NJ, USA on February 20, 2013:

Interesting list - number 9 is probably my favorite (even though I'm an England fan!) - what about John Barnes (against Brazil I think) and the stunning Gasgoine (agaist Germany I think) - plus about 20 or other Gasgoine goals...

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on December 11, 2012:

Hehe, updated this hub with Zlatan Ibrahimovich's exceptional goal against England. Comes in at number 9!

Richard-Murray on November 01, 2012:


yes I agree, the corner goal.

I understand what you mean about PK's but when they are cheeky and work, they are brilliant, so deceptively hard

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on November 01, 2012:

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Internpete, I took a look at some of Derosario's goals. I didn't see one better than Roberto Carlos's. I know people have scored better one's from corners, but the free-kick and angled shot Roberto scored are hard to beat.

CCahill, I never rated the Beckham goal. I don't think distance equals skill or even difficulty. Lots of people attempt those goals, and sometimes they go in; Beckham's goal was overhyped imo. Rooney's overhead kick was a close contender, but I'm not really a fan of one-touch goals. Like the long shots, every now and then one flies in. You could say Mauro Bressan's overhead was better than Rooney's.

Glad you liked it, Jason and chef. George Best scored some great ones. His lob over all the defenders and goalkeeper was a close contender.

jmartin, Giggs' goal is more of a top 30 for me. He beat a few players but it's not as good as Weah's, which I put at #10. I think it was more of the occasion of a FA Semi Final replay that made it so special for everyone.

Many thanks for the shares stiggies and James!

Richard, do you mean Henry's corner goal? That was definitely better than Roberto Carlos' corner, but Roberto's other two goals in the vid are better imo. I could never include a PK in a top 10 list, let alone a top 100! Was a crafty one though.

James Vernon from UK on October 24, 2012:

Really good hub. There were a few here that i had forgotten about.

Voted up and shared on twitter/fb

Richard-Murray on October 09, 2012:

Henry's this year for red bulls is a challenger or an ode to Roberto Carlos's and lets be honest, Pirlo's PK in the Euro's needs to be added.

Ian Stiglingh from Cape Town on October 09, 2012:

Entertaining hub. Thanks. Shared to Google+ and Twitter.

CCahill from England on October 08, 2012:

oh Ryan Giggs good shout!

jmartin1344 from Royal Oak, Michigan on October 08, 2012:

Unreal hub...takes me back! I'll never forget that Cantona goal - saw it live when I was 9 years old I think!

I would have to suggest that Ryan Giggs in the 1999 FA Cup game against Arsenal to preserve the Treble...

What a great goal!

Great hub Thomas Swan!

Andrew Spacey from Sheffield, UK on October 08, 2012:

Classics all 10, well done. There are many more that would qualify but these will do for starters!

If you ever get the chance have a look at some of the goals George Best scored when he was a regular for Manchester Utd and Northern Ireland back in the 1960s and 70's. True genius at work.

Many thanks.

Jason Matthews from North Carolina on October 08, 2012:

WOW! this is one of the most fantastic hubs I have every read/watched! You have great selections and the videos make it possible for all of us to enjoy the goals over and over again. This very well done! I look forward to following you and reading some great material!

CCahill from England on October 08, 2012:

I like the Ibrahimovic and Bergkamp goals best.

if i were to add any it would indeed be the Rooney overhead kick or the Beckham halfway line goal

Peter V from At the Beach in Florida on October 08, 2012:

A fun hub to read through and watch, Great job including the youtube vids. While there are a few other goals I might include in my top ten, this is a very good list. There was a goal by dwayne derosario in the MLS which I think is better than Roberto Carlos's goal.

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