There have been some astonishing goals scored since the turn of the 21st Century, but which rate as the very best?

From the world’s greatest stadiums to the hidden stages of this planet, we watched goals that took our breath away and renewed our love for this sport. From the most acclaimed names in football history to unknown players, here it is a list of some of the greatest strikes of the century:

10. Zinedine Zidane | Real Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen

The Champions League final - the greatest match in European football. The stage, Hampden Park, and a stubborn draw was the result at the time. All of a sudden, a combination between Santiago Solari and Roberto Carlos culminated in a high cross by the Brazilian, delivered to the master Zinedine Zidane who, with a fantastic left-foot volley, scored the winning goal to give Real Madrid their ninth Champions League trophy. Europe was speechless in wonder.

9. Ronaldinho | Barcelona v Villarreal 

Everytime we saw Ronaldinho play for Barcelona we were hoping for something incredible. An astonishing dribble, a magician-like first touch or an unstoppable strike. In November 2006, we witnessed one of those moments. From a cross, Ronaldinho stopped the ball with his chest, rotated on himself and without letting the ball fall, scored an amazing bicycle kick. Barcelona won that game 4-0, but what will last for eternity is yet another incredible moment by one of the greatest football players ever.

8. Cristiano Ronaldo | Manchester United v Portsmouth

We are used to seeing fantastic things when it comes to the Portuguese legend. At his time in Old Trafford, as well in Santiago Bernabeu, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a ton of goals, and most of them were simply unbelievable. To chose one over the others is almost sacrilege, but there's one that caught my eye. A Playstation-like free-kick against David James's Portsmouth left the world with their jaws on the floor.

A fantastic rocket, well over the speed limit I may add, gave Manchester United an important victory on their run to winning the Premier League and was one of Ronaldo's 31 goals that led to the Portuguese becoming Premier League's top scorer that year.

7. Neymar | Santos v Flamengo

Brazil's newest star has been dominating that country's football over the last couple of years. Whether dribbling, scoring, assisting or simply running with the ball, Neymar has done more than enough to deserve all the buzz around him.

Against Flamengo in 2011, Neymar stunned every football fan around the world with a combination of speed and dribbling ability that culminated with one of the greatest goals of the century. A samba move near the penalty box by Santos's number 11 left the defender wondering what day it was and left European's greatest sides wondering what would they have to do to get Neymar to sign for them. The birth of a star indeed.

6. Wayne Rooney | Manchester United v Manchester City

The Manchester rivalry is at its prime. There was never any love loss between this two sides, but ever since the Citizens investment we've seen and even greater dispute for English supremacy between United and City.

This game was tied at 1-1 before Rooney's goal sealed the fixture. This spectacular over-head kick was Rooney's most vital and important goal for Manchester United as they went on to win the league that year. Not just an amazing goal, but an amazingly important one. On the top of that rivalry lays one of the greatest moments of Premier League's history.

5. - Linus Hallenius | Hammarby v Syrianska

Surely most of us had never heard about this player before, but after watching him score a Marco Van Basten-esque goal his name will never be forgotten by football fans around the world.

After stopping the ball in his chest, and dribbling an opponent with a subtle touch over the defenders head, Hallenius, with his left foot, without much angle and without letting the ball touch the floor, scored an absolute stunner, unlike everything I ever saw. Luck? Skill? You decide.

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic | Ajax v NAC Breda

The Swedish bad boy has been scoring amazing goals throughout his career. In the early days of his path to football greatness, Ibrahimovic played for Ajax and at the time he was already the focus of Europe's attention.

After a God-like goal against NAC Breda in which he outsmarted and out-skilled half a team with the ball glued to his foot, we were all certain we were in the presence of one of the greatest, most talented players of his generation. And that sensational goal surely proved it.

3. Dennis Bergkamp | Arsenal v Newcastle

If we took a compilation of the Non-Flying Dutchman's goals we would probably think we were watching the greatest goals ever scored in this sport.

Bergkamp's ability made him one of the most feared strikers to ever play in the Premier League, and one day, against Newcastle, he made it clear why. A magic first touch and rotation by Arsenal's striker will echo in eternity as one of the greatest moments ever in Premier League history. I bet the defender is still wondering where the ball is and how Bergkamp made it disappear. In one word: absurd.

2. Grafite | Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich

What better way to shift the power balance than beat the defending champions in a dominant fashion on your way to win the title? That's what happened in Germany in 2009.

Wolfsburg won the Bundesliga that way after cruising against most sides, but what no one could expect was for them to simply destroy Bayern Munich that season. The Brazilian international, Grafite, played an important role that year by leading the top scorer charts with 28 goals, and against Bayern Munich his influence in his team was noticed yet again.

Scoring twice, Grafite helped his team grab the win, but we will always remember his sensational second goal that day. Not only did he dribble past three opponents - the goalkeeper included - but he also added a little bit of flair by finishing the play with his heel in a classy move that left the world amazed.

1. Lionel Messi | Barcelona v Getafe

In first place in this list, a player so amazing some say he is not even real. So amazing, that the word amazing is not good enough to describe him. I'm talking about Lionel Messi.

Messi's career is filled with unreal goals but there is one, when he was nothing more than a boy, that steps up from all the others.

In 2007, Messi ran pass five opponents, always controlling the ball with his left foot and leaving the impression that if he need to dribble five more he would have. That brilliant run remind us of Diego Maradona's goal against England, showing just how magnificent a goal Messi had just scored. It was almost like the passing of the baton. Maradona was no longer Dios and Messi was no longer the Messiah. That goal marked the beginning of an Era. Messi's Era

I know that narrowing 12 years of great goals into a top 10 probably leaves some breath taking moments out, but that is where you come in! 

Please don't leave players like Del Piero, Henry, Gerrard, Lampard, Nedved, Ronaldo, Figo, Kaka and many many others behind and speak up! Give us your thoughts on which are the greatest goals of the modern era.

 

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Football
Cristiano Ronaldo
Dennis Bergamp
Wayne Rooney