To all those who witnessed Wayne Rooney’s reminder that he truly is a world class talent, it is a moment that will live long in the memory. The vision, craft and execution stood as proud as Rooney’s celebration, hopefully for United fans marking a return to the level of performance thats accompanies the name, yet has been largely absent so far this season.

With such a piece of individual brilliance, applauded even by opposition manager Roberto Mancini (post match), the chat amongst football fans has triggered the classic debate of the best individual goals of recent times.
Below, the Saint Sport team offer their – in some cases slightly less mainstream – ‘Top 5’ to stir the pot!

Trevor Sinclair – Rooney’s Inspiration
Post Rooney’s goal many fans have had to go as far back as Trevor Sinclairs stunner for QPR against Barnsley in 1997 as an overhead kick of comparable vision and class. Although the timing of Rooney’s goal may push it higher, it’s definitley a close rival. Pundit Brian Phillips gave this slightly hyperbolic and humorous account of the goal which shows how emotional such goals can be: “This isn’t a ‘bicycle kick’ or a ‘scissor kick’. This is a scorpion kick. There are creatures in Egyptian mythology who shattered kingdoms with strikes like this!”

Ibrahiam Afellay – Training Ground Creativity
A goal which has become a Facebook sensation this week and is most definitely worth a watch. Footage taken from a PSV training session shows Ibrahim Afellay displaying a touch of brilliance to finish creatively. Perhaps not one that will live long in the memory taking place at a training session, but well worthy of a place on our list as ‘unique!’

Matthew Burrows – Back-heel Volley
Scored to seal victory in injury time over league rivals Portadown, Glentorian’s Matty Burrows imaginative back heel volley caught the attention of audiences worldwide. Nominated for FIFA’s ‘Goal of the Year Award 2010’ and unlucky to lose out to Hamit Altintop’s screamer, the 16 yard, mid air volley racked up the you tube hits and turned the footballing world’s attention to the Irish league.

Roberto Carlos – The ‘Impossible Goal’

Famously proven as technically impossible by a group of mathematicians, Roberto Carlos defied all laws of physics to curl a shot level with the goal towards the top corner. The sheer impossibility of the goal, bending a ball an entire meter at 112.26 km/h … makes it one that will never be forgotten. A true moment of brilliance!
(Equally, his free-kick against France could also have been included, along with several other of his other trade mark hammers!)

Jamie Ness – A Star is born!
Ok, perhaps personal bias has shattered my own neutrality for this one, but a truly memorable first Rangers goal by seventeen year old Jamie Ness a fortnight ago. A surprise starter on the team sheet by Walter Smith who proved his worth after just three minutes with an instinctive volley from outside the area. Although the game finished a 2 -2 draw, it is a day that will live long in the memory of Ness and Rangers fans alike.

So there it is, some memories to get you thinking of your own favourite goals and magical footballing moments. As an aside, how many football fans turned up the volume as Rooney flipped backward through the air, almost in slow motion, waiting to hear the infamous words: “take a bow son, take a bow” only to be left disappointed, and reminding themselves to tune in to talk sport.

Alastair Ferrans

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