Cristiano Ronaldo’s wonder-strike, Gareth Bale against Liverpool in the final and Peter Crouch in front of the Kop… Sportsmail rates the best EVER Champions League overhead kicks after Olivier Giroud’s effort at Atletico Madrid – but which is the greatest?
- Olivier Giroud scored an overhead kick against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night
- Giroud joins an exclusive group of acrobatic Champions League scorers
- They include Cristiano Ronaldo who scored a wonder goal against Juve in 2018
- Gareth Bale scored in the Champions League final against Liverpool in 2018
- The list also includes Peter Crouch, Marco van Basten and Andy Cole
- Sportsmail counts down the best overhead kicks in Champions League in history
The Champions League has long been regarded as the greatest club competition in the world, and with every great competition comes great goals.
The season-long campaign has seen the most decorated players across the European leagues score some sensational goals… but there’s always something that little bit extra special about a bicycle kick.
Olivier Giroud became the latest player to leave fans speechless with an outrageous overhead effort against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday nightand he joins an exclusive group of players who have achieved such a feat on the European stage.
From Cristiano Ronaldo’s wonder-strike against Juventus to Gareth Bale’s stunner in the Champions League final against Liverpool, Sportsmail has counted down the best.
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud became the latest player to leave fans speechless with an outrageous overhead kick against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night (above)
Van Basten may have possessed a greater overhead technique than any other player in the game. His most memorable effort came against Gothenburg in 1992 – one of four goals he scored that night but easily the most memorable.
Stefano Eranio delivered the ball into the box for Holland legend Van Basten to execute an acrobatic overhead kick that saw him seal his hat-trick, four years on from his famous strike in the final of Euro 88.
Marco van Basten may have possessed a greater overhead technique than any other player
8. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) vs Atletico Madrid – 2021
Giroud helped Chelsea take a step closer to reaching the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2014 with his moment of class on Tuesday night.
The 34-year-old scored the only goal of the game against Atletico Madrid in Bucharest after the game was relocated due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
Giroud’s contribution was his sixth goal in this season’s competition and gives Chelsea the advantage for the second leg.
Giroud scored for Chelsea against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League round of 16
7. Andy Cole (Man United) vs Marseille – 1999
It’s fair to say every footballer has a favourite goal from their career and Cole is no different.
The former Manchester United player said the best he ever scored was his overhead kick at Old Trafford against Marseille in the Champions League.
David Beckham whipped in one of his sublime crosses to the back of the box. The ball was then headed onto Cole – who leaped in the air to pull the trigger.
Holders United went on to win their first group stage game 2-1 one after Paul Scholes added another.
Andy Cole’s overhead kick against Marseille in 1999 is his favourite goal of his career
6. Mario Mandzukic (Juventus) vs Real Madrid – 2017
During the 2017 Champions League final Mandzukic scored to get Juventus back into the game after Cristiano Ronaldo had given the Spanish champions an early lead.
Mandzukic’s goal came off the back of impressive team sequence that saw Alex Sandro volley the ball into Gonzalo Higuain – who chested the it down before laying it off.
Mandzukic then shocked the world by with a sensational bicycle kick showing great finesse to make the game level at 1-1 heading into half-time.
Real did, however, score three in the second half to win the Champions League final 4-1 – the second of three in a row.
During the 2017 Champions League final Mario Mandzukic scored a stunning bicycle kick
5. Philippe Mexes (Milan) vs Anderlecht – 2012
Mexes wasn’t wrong when he said ‘you only score a goal like that once in your career,’ after his acrobatic effort against Anderlecht.
A regular threat from set-pieces, he scurried up the pitch to give Milan an additional attacking option. The Frenchman made an aggressive run in hope the ball would be delivered to him.
Much to his delight it was! However, the delivery arrived more towards the front of the box than he had intended, causing him to turn and race to meet it at its peak. He used his chest to control it, then set himself and fired home.
There was a moment of silence around the stadium before the fans erupted over what they had just witnessed and the defender’s smile said it all.
Philippe Mexes (right) scored a once in a life-time goal against Anderlecht in 2012
4. Mauro Bressan (Fiorentina) vs Barcelona – 1999
Fiorentina and Barcelona shared six goals during their thrilling 1999 UEFA Champions League group stage encounter, but it was Bressan’s effort that is best remembered.
The Italian defied the laws of physics to score a bicycle kick from more than 30 yards and send the 25,000 fans packed into the Artemio Franchi wild.
With his back to goal, Bressan made the sweetest of connections to see the ball grace the underside of the crossbar and beat Francesc Arnau – who lay shattered on the floor as a result.
3. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) vs Liverpool – 2018
Bale’s strike for Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final has gone down in history as one of the best in a showpiece game – not to mention the fact it was by a player who had only been on the pitch for two minutes.
In the true nature of a super-sub, Bale was introduced in the second half when the game was level, with each team having one goal apiece. Bale occupied the space between his fellow forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema before sailing into the air to meet Marcelo’s cross.
Having connected sweetly with his left foot, the ball fired past Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius to land in the back of the net – giving Real Madrid the lead.
Bale went on to claim a second goal in the match, although far less exciting than his first effort.
Gareth Bale scored a bicycle kick for Real Madrid after being on the pitch for just two minutes
2. Peter Crouch (Liverpool) vs Galatasaray – 2006
Given his height, it is somewhat of a surprise that Crouch scored so many overhead kicks throughout his career. Nevertheless, his 2006 screamer against Galatasaray has to be the pick of the bunch.
The 6ft 7in Liverpool striker played off the back of the Galatasaray defender to give himself room to connect with Steve Finnan’s cross in front of the Kop end during a 3-2 Champions League win.
Now a Sportsmail columnist, he even beat Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale and Mandzukic in a 2019 UEFA poll for the best acrobatic goal scored in the Champions League.
Peter Crouch 2006 bicycle kick against Galatasaray for Liverpool was the best of his career
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) vs Juventus – 2018
Ronaldo has amassed an unrivalled collection of UEFA competition records and scored some wonderful goals during his time.
However, of his 134 in the Champions League, there are, arguably, none better than the one he scored against his current employers Juventus at the Allianz Stadium while playing for Real Madrid in the quarter-final in 2018.
Ronaldo provided Real’s opening goal of the game in the first half before going on to score a sensational overhead kick to help his side beat Juve 3-0 in the first leg.
Martin Vasquez delivered Ronaldo a ball that was not only behind him but also above his head. However, such positioning caused the Portuguese superstar little concern as he manoeuvred his body to execute a well-timed bicycle kick that flew past Gigi Buffon.
Of his 134 Champions League goals, Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2018 bicycle kick was his best
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