Zidane – Real Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen – 2002

25 01 2011

Dominic Pollard’s blog, Polly’s Pause for Sport, is one of the Guardian’s Top 100 blogs to follow in 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @DominicPollard … This is Dom’s favourite goal:

Ok, so zero marks for originality with my choice. The more I racked my brains for my all-time favourite goal, though, the harder I found it to pull myself away from this moment of magic from Zidane.

You have all seen it before. Probably many, many, many times like myself. Yet every time I watch it, I am left dumbfounded at the sheer technical brilliance of it. 

This was the winning goal in Real Madrid’s 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League Final. A goal of sensational quality and almost unparalleled importance. Is there a better way to win the Champions League than with a roundhouse volley on your weaker foot? Words cannot do justice to the goal. There is only a select number on the planet who could have stood under that high, hoisted cross and struck the ball so well with their weaker foot while the footballing world sat watching on with bated breath.

It is, however, a goal that is more than just a wonder-strike. For me, this remains the iconic image of one the greatest players of his generation. Forget the petulant head-butt that may have tainted the final page of the final chapter of his playing career, this goal encapsulates the living legend that is Zinedine Zidane. 

He is a player that I, along with every other football fan, watched and admired for over a decade. Let’s just look at his trophy cabinet; two Serie A winners medals, one Supercoppa Italiana, one La Liga winner medal, two Supercopa de Españas, two Intertoto Cups, two Super Cups, one European Football Championship, one World Cup and a Ballon D’or… Ridiculous.

Everything he did on the pitch had a sprinkling of the audacious. His most subtle of touches, flicks, skills and passes were always sublime. There are just not enough superlatives for me to do justice to the quality of this player. This volley was one of the greatest goals ever scored, by one of the greatest players to ever play the game. I can’t put it much simpler than that.




One response

25 01 2011

I concur. Best ever. For once, Tyldsley got his lines right: ‘fantastic’.

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