Rooney strike — wonder goal or shinpad special?

February 14, 2011

SOCCER-ENGLAND/Wayne Rooney’s overhead scissors kick goal to win the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Saturday has sparked a tidal wave of hyperbole in the British media, with “wonder goal” the most popular tag used to describe it.

The general consensus was not that it was just the nailed-on winner for “goal of the season” but was also the best of Rooney’s career and even the best ever seen at Old Trafford.

There must be some short memories in the north-west. The hundreds of thousands of fans who witnessed George Best score stupendous goals of every type – the vast majority never televised and enjoyed once and once only by those in the ground – will shake their heads in disbelief at how such a sweeping statement can quickly attract such currency.

There is no question that it was a great goal that took athleticism, confidence and precise skill – but even with all three of those elements in place it still looked as if the ball flew into the top corner off Rooney’s shin pad rather than his boot.

His own description of it as the best he’d scored was immediately tempered by him saying: “Nine times out of 10 they go into the stand.”

Fans of the goal say that is precisely why it was so special, because such attempts rarely come off. Others might suggest that the sheer hit-or-miss nature of such goals make them less impressive than, to pick just one example, Rooney’s own immaculately conceived and delivered curler for Everton against Arsenal that announced the 16-year-old to the world.

It is of course impossible to directly compare a 30-metre screamer with a bullet header or an immaculately-executed five-man, length-of-the field passing move that ends with a simple tap-in but there is something about overhead kicks that sends the English soccer Press and public into a frenzy.

Rooney’s United team mate Dimitar Berbatov looped a shot over his shoulder in his hat-trick for United against Liverpool in September, his standing leg barely leaving the ground, and the same wave of astonished adulation washed down upon him.

Perhaps it is because traditionally there have been so few of them and they still have that sophisticated foreign appeal that produced similar amazement at South American “banana kicks” of the 1960s that are now a daily occurrence at all levels of English soccer.

Hugo Sanchez used to score them for fun for Real Madrid and Mexico, spending hours on the training ground perfecting the technique, with a mattress to ease his landings.

Rooney’s strike, call it a “Chilena”, “bicicleta” or whatever you like, was pretty spectacular but “Goal of the Century” — even the 11-short years of this one — it was not.

PHOTO: Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring against Manchester City with teammate Nani during their English Premier League match at Old Trafford , February 12, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Staples


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

[…] I’m sure most of you saw highlights of Rooney’s 78th minute game winner for Man U in their match-up with former Rooney suitor Man City. Now discussion has begun about whether this represents the “Goal of the Century”. […]

Posted by Goal of the Season « Jays Hoops | Report as abusive

Rooney strike — wonder goal or shinpad special? | Analysis & Opinion |…

Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

Posted by World Spinner | Report as abusive

[…] post: Rooney strike — wonder goal or shinpad special? – Reuters Blogs (blog) Did you like this? Share […]

Posted by News stories | . | Report as abusive

exceelent review,many footballers tried but failed as many times.all supporters of man u will cherish the goal by rooney cause they are followers of man u, only winning at whatever;and some market value for a downprime player as per the epl standard,maybe someday chelsea will buy him,as they have saved liverpool the blush because only for torres liverpool was forced to play the formation in all matches in epl.

Posted by number10 | Report as abusive

given the context of the game, fact it was a derby and fact he has had a ropey season make it a better goal than maybe it actually was but it was shown all the way round the world on constant repeat. (France and Italy and Germany certainly)

Posted by MarkMeadows | Report as abusive

Greatest goal in the history of football, as far as I am concerned. I know I am biased and I don’t care.

Posted by red_devil | Report as abusive

Sorry, I beg to differ. First of all , when you execute a bicycle kick rarely it is possible to play with boots and in fact using the shin gives more power and control considering your gravity defying posture at the time of execution.. It’s more a question of perfect anticipation, timing,extraordinary reflexes and superior fitness and of course lot of luck.. but then because it is very hard/ rare to witness a perfect beicycle kick makes it all the more beautiful and brilliant just like Jhonty Rhodes’ flying catches at point .. you miss most and those that stick attain legendary status instantly.. To conclude , I feel it was one of the most brilliant goals ever right at the top few.. Also spare a thought for the lesser known foothabllers who may have done this at various occassions albeit not at the international level and hence missed glory.. At least I myself knew of an Indian player IM Vijayan who used to scored goals via B-kicks and that too in spectacular fashion, quite a few times.. in international and regional games.. Like that many across continents..

Posted by giridharnair | Report as abusive

[…] Left field Tweet Tagged with: goal • Rooney • shinpad • special • Strike • Wonder  If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it! […]

Posted by Rooney strike — wonder goal or shinpad special? | Report as abusive