The Rabona - Assorted
When it comes to show-boating on a football pitch, the rabona is often the star of the show, and deservingly so! While it is rarely very effective during the game, owing to the difficult technique involved in producing perfect rabona, it remains one of the most spectacular tricks attempted on a football pitch.
The first rabona was performed by Ricardo Infante in a game between Argentinian teams Estudiantes de la Plata and Rosario Central in 1948, while the first rabona ever caught live was executed by Pele in 1957. Since then, it has been utilized by innumerable footballers, some of the most famous names including Diego Maradona, Roberto Baggio, Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard, Joe Cole, David Villa, Nani and Luis Suarez.
A technique that involves kicking the ball with the leg that is effectively wrapped around the back of the standing leg, the rabona is rarely used to take shots on goal, owing to the fact that it rarely allows the player to kick the ball with the kind of force required to beat keepers from distance. It is mainly used to float in crosses from either flank by players who prefer not to use their weaker foot while attempting the cross.
Some of the most notable rabonas in recent memory, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Emmanuel Adebayor, Diego, Deco, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Maradona, Ricardo Quaresma and more can be seen in this video.
A fitting measure of the spectacle offered by a well-executed rabona is that the tango dance-form even adopted the move as a step!