Football is nothing without skill.
As fans, we love to see a player do something that little bit different. Whether it’s a simple stepover or a bicycle-kick, there’s nothing better than a well-executed piece of skill.
But what is the greatest piece of skill we’ve ever seen in football?
It’s certainly a broad question but it’s a question Spanish outlet Marca asked fans last week.
They listed the best 16 skills ever and then held a knockout style tournament to declare the winner - with fans voting for the best skill in each round.
The 16 skills that made the tournament were:
Dennis Bergkamp vs Newcastle
Did he mean it? If he did, it’s quite ridiculous. The fact nobody else has ever produced that skill again to score a goal proves just how hard it is.
Adriano vs Valencia
If only the Brazilian had scored as he took it past the goalkeeper, produced a roulette turn on the defender. But he fired the ball into the side netting.
Zinedine Zidane vs Tokyo Verdy
Zidane was one of the most graceful and skilful players ever. His incredible touch, stepovers and finish in a pre-season friendly was just amazing.
Robinho vs Ecuador
Stepovers. A dummied rabona cross. And then the beautiful skill to beat the defender on the touchline. The fact it ended in a goal made it even better.
Ronaldo vs Lazio
The king of stopovers. In the 1998 UEFA Cup final, Ronaldo went through on goal, sat the goalkeeper on the floor with a series of stopovers before scoring.
Emilio Butragueno vs Cadiz
The former Real Madrid striker embarrassed two Cadiz defenders and their goalkeeper with the same skill to score a legendary goal.
Lionel Messi vs Atletico Madrid
Messi leapt to control the ball on his head before spinning and nutmegging Filipe Luis.
Lionel Messi vs Bayern Munich
The goal that turned Jerome Boateng into a meme. Messi’s footwork and nutmeg left the Bayern defender falling backwards as the Argentine dinked the ball over Manual Neuer and into the back of the net.
Juan Roman Riquelme vs Rosario
It’s like a roulette with using his heel. Magnificent from the legendary Argentine.
Fernando Redondo vs Manchester United
An incredible piece of skill to nutmeg Henning Berg, before setting up Raul to put Real Madrid 3-0 up at Old Trafford.
Jose Caminero vs Barcelona
A simple but very effective dummy as Caminero sent Miguel Nadal - Rafa’s uncle - to the shops before setting up a goal at the Camp Nou.
Pablo Fornals vs Athletic Bilbao
The West Ham midfielder produced a madness last season for Villarreal as he embarrassed Inigo Martinez on the touchline.
Ronaldinho vs Lecce
Of course, Ronaldinho features. He produced his famous elastico to create space before a rabona cross. It deserved a finish at the end.
Neymar vs Botafogo
Bouncing the ball into the ground and over the defender’s head is something we’ve hardly ever seen before. But Neymar has that in his locker.
Joaquin vs Elfsborg
A skill so unique that it’s got its own name - La Joaquininha. We can’t even explain what the winger produced so just watch…
Romario vs Real Madrid
A beautiful scoop to take the ball past Real Madrid defender Rafael Alkorta and a lovely finish to top it off.
So, you know the top 16 skills so let’s take a look at how the tournament panned out.
ROUND OF 16
BERGKAMP 78%-22% Adriano
ZIDANE 60%-40% - Robinho
RONALDO 58%-42% Butragueno
MESSI (BOATENG) 74%-26% Messi (Felipe Luis)
RIQUELME 54%-46% Redondo
Caminero 38%-62% FORNALS
RONALDINHO 72%-28% Neymar
Joaquin 43%-57% ROMARIO
BERGKAMP 59%-41% Zidane
Ronaldo 42%-58% MESSI (BOATENG)
RIQUELME 59%-41% Frontals
RONALDINHO 53%-47% Romario
Bergkamp 49%-51% MESSI (BOATENG)
RIQUELME 53%-47% Ronaldinho
BERGKAMP 63%-37% Ronaldinho
MESSI (BOATENG) 54%-46% Riquelme
So after hundreds of thousands of votes, Messi's skill on Boateng and finish against Bayern Munich is the greatest skill of all time. In truth, it's a worthy winner.
Bergkamp can maybe feel hard done by to only finish third in the voting. Perhaps the doubts over whether or not he actually meant it has harmed him.
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