There have been a catalogue of goals that would have gone down in football folklore had it not been for a refereeing and/or linesman's decision that starved these players of their moment of glory.

As case in point, Antonio Valencia scored a scintillating left-foot volley for Ecuador last night in a World Cup qualifier against Paraguay, only to have the goal chalked off for offside, as can be seen by clicking here.

So this feature is a tribute to the nearly men of football - to the players whose names were etched into and quickly erased from the history books, as we look at five of the best disallowed goals.

5. Edinson Cavani | Napoli vs Barcelona

It’s not easy to outshine Lionel Messi, but Edinson Cavani gave it his best shot with a thunderous overhead kick that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar during a pre-season friendly against Barcelona in 2011.

Unfortunately for Cavani, team-mate Marek Hamsik had been flagged offside when heading the ball back across goal, meaning the strike didn’t count.

Barca won the game 5-0 as Messi completed a second half hat-trick. Better luck next time, Cavani.

4. Cristiano Ronaldo | Portugal vs Spain

Never one to shy away from the big stage, Ronaldo rounded off a typically mazy dribble with an audacious chipped finish that left Iker Casillas stranded, only for Nani to head the ball in on the line from an offside position.

Portugal went on to win the game 4-0 but judging by Ronaldo’s reaction, I don’t think he say the funny side of it.

3. Pablo Osvaldo | AS Roma vs Lecce

Pablo Osvaldo is being tracked by all manner of clubs across Europe and with strikes like this, it’s no wonder.

In a Serie A game against Lecce, Osvaldo leapt highest to bury a cross from Fernando Gago in spectacular fashion, only to see the flag raised against him.

Replays showed the goal should of stood and though Roma won the game 2-1, you can bet Osvaldo had a few choice words with a certain assistant referee at full-time.

2. Peter Schmeichel | Manchester United vs Wimbledon

What’s better than an overhead kick you say? An overhead kick from a goalkeeper!

The big Dane had something of an eye for goal throughout his career, scoring 11 times in his career.

Having gone forward to join the attack at a corner in the dying embers of United’s 1997 clash with Wimbledon, big Pete was on hand to bury the recycled ball into the box in acrobatic fashion.

He was a good few yards offside though and was left with a sprint back to his own goal to reflect on what might have been.

1. George Best | Northern Ireland vs England

Football genius and ‘cheeky chappy’ George Best was never afraid to push the rules to the limit to gain an advantage, as he showed against England.

Best hounded Gordon Banks as he attempted to kick the ball clear, hooking the ball over the ‘keepers head as he released it from his hands before bundling home with his head.

The goal was ruled out but will always be remembered as one of Best’s most infamous moments.


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