What would a great goal be worth on the art market?

October 7, 2008

Inter’s Ibrahimovic

Having seen replays of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s remarkable backheel goal for Inter Milan on Saturday, I reckon it’s one of those rare moments when football reaches the realm of art.

I realise you risk sounding like a wally by comparing something frivolous like football to such a serious business.

I’m not saying it was as good as the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel ceiling. But there’s a lot of rubbish around that passes itself off as proper art. One Italian artist, Piero Manzoni, famously sold cans of his own excrement in the 1960s and while I’m no critic, given the balance and coordination Ibrahimovic showed at the San Siro, I know which I prefer.

I’d say the Sweden striker’s goal was worth a minor piece by Picasso, maybe one of his sketches or his painted ceramics. I think it’s fair to say that nothing we’ve seen on a football field (yet) rivals the masterpieces of greats like Raphael, Michelangelo or Turner.

I’d rank soccer’s most sublime moment, Maradona’s second goal against England at the 1986 World Cup, alongside a major modern work like Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans.

Of course, the value of an artwork is in the eye of the beholder. For me, Gary Mabbutt’s own goal in the 1987 FA Cup final had as much surreal beauty as Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, although I’ll probably only have the backing of a few fellow Coventry fans on that one.

What do you think? How much are your favourite football moments worth with respect to artworks? Have I been mean in my assessment of Maradona’s great goal against England? Or is comparing football to art just barmy?

PHOTO: Inter Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring a stunning goal against Bologna during their Serie A match at the San Siro, Oct. 4, 2008. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

[...] Having seen replays of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s remarkable backheel goal for Inter Milan on Saturday, I reckon it’s one of those rare moments when football reaches the realm of art.   I realise you risk sounding like a wally by comparing something Ceiling Fan Modern [...]

1970 world cup final,Brazils fourth goal.
Three passes seem to be played at half speed.
Carlos alberto then appears from nowhere at 100 miles an hour,belts it in the corner
Its against the best defensive team in the world at the time.
I’m sorry but………… THAT IS ART.

Posted by matthew elam | Report as abusive

I remember couch Capello commenting something like “Cassano is poetry” few years ago, and my father, commenting the work of a macedonian tiler in our kitchen “he is an artist”. I think your views are extensive versions of the word “art”, which become in virgo’s and capello’s (and my father’s too) interpretation “whatever is well done”. Is this the real definition of art? Maybe yes (but i’d still prefer a minor piece by Picasso).

Posted by Edoardo | Report as abusive

Football will always affect me more than art (or is football art? that’s another debate).
Shouldn’t art I touch all our emotions and take us to corners of our mind otherwise unexplored? The fact is it’s hard to think anything could excite, depress, exhilarate or overwhelm me more than Istanbul in 2005 – as one of our banners says: “Picasso is a painter, Alonso is an artist, Basque in his glory”

Posted by Paul Anthem | Report as abusive

Baggio 1990 vs Czechoslovakia a Raphael?
Archie Gemmel v Holland 1978 a Pollock?
Van Basten v USSR ’88 a Monet?
Tenuous I know but I’m pretty sure Michelangelo anticipated Peter Withe’s winner for Villa against Bayern Munich in the 1982 European Cup Final.

Posted by denis greenan | Report as abusive

All you have to do is watch Cesc Fabregas week in week out to agree that his artistic style of football is a lot better than some of the modern art being displayed worldwide.

Posted by Benjamin King | Report as abusive

what I really like about Zlatan is his lack of modest when he score those beauties, Who’s the man? he seems to ask, we are at times to modest to really enjoy life! Go Zlatan though am not Sure Mourinho and his defensive self deserves him, He wasted Arjen

Posted by njau | Report as abusive

For a truly contemporary collection, one should check out Hull City’s Brazilian maestro, Geovanni. Three masterpieces already in this season’s Premiership.

Posted by Wollocks | Report as abusive

Of course you can compare football to art! If art is something that is beautiful or exciting to look at, which involves exceptional skill and even inspiration, then Ibra’s goal certainly counts.
I guess where a great goal differs from art is that the latter has usually been constructed with great care and attention over some time. Ibra’s strike was glorious because it involved a split-second reaction — it was conceived and executed in the blink of an eye.
And then the other thing about art, especially modern art, is that it is often art simply by virtue of the fact that someone says it is (see the Campbell soup cans). Or because the person who did it is accepted as an artist. Well, I think Ibra would have a lot of supporters on that front…

Posted by Martin Penner | Report as abusive