There are many, many ways to score great goals.
You could resort to excellent build-up play from the team as a whole, like the peerless Brazilian squad of 1970 did against Italy in the final of the World Cup in Mexico, in a glorious move involving Rivelino, Jairzinho and Pele that allowed marauding full-back Carlos Alberto to score what is considered to be the greatest goal ever.
You could score sensational free-kicks, like Ronaldinho did against England in 2002; take off on long, mazy runs past five players like Diego Maradona did (against against the Three Lions) in 1986, or rifle in ferocious long-range goals like Andres Iniesta's crucial last minute equaliser in the second leg of the semi-final clash against Chelsea in the 2008-09 Champions League campaign.
Tap-ins, headers, close-range finishes, curling efforts from out wide, back-heeled goals a la Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo, and even goals scored using one's shoulder (courtesy Mario Balotelli); there are many ways to score goals ranging from the ordinary to the unforgettable, the simple to the technically ingenious.
However, it is probably fair to say that there are very few sights in football that are as reminiscent of and inextricably linked with the bulging of the back of the net than that of a player lining up to take a volley from 20 or 30 yards out.
Over the years, we have seen so many great instances of players meeting a ball in the air with the perfect body position - their knee lifted, body leaning forward and eyes focused on the ball - and making the perfect contact, sending the ball rocketing past keepers' outstretched arms into the back of the net.
It seems like too tall an order to select five of the many outstanding volleyed goals we've seen over the last 13 years, just based on the excellence in the technique involved in their execution.
However, if one was to create a shortlist of the best volleyed goals of the 21st century based not just on the technique involved but on the importance of the goals scored in determining the result of the game, or even the tournament, he would be left with a much shorter list, one restricted to just the goals most worthy of being glorified.
That is exactly what this article has attempted to do. Having gone through the annals that record the greatest goals ever scored, we have arrived at a definitive list of the five most important volleyed goals of the 21st century.
Oh, before we start, just one thing I'd like to confirm: for all the footballing connoisseurs reading this, my definition of a "volleyed goal" as a criterion for forming this list was just this: the ball had to be in the air when struck (struck with some amount of venom, and not placed into the back of the net like Robert Pires' incredible goal against Aston Villa).
I hope this is in keeping with your understanding of the same.
Read the next page to find out which incredible goal is number five on the list!
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