Five of the best: Volleys

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There are few instances in football that provide greater pleasure for the spectator than witnessing a player lace a rasping volley into the top corner of the net.

Expertly controlling a strike with the ball dipping is regarded as one of the most difficult techniques to execute in football, which makes a goalscoring volley all the more impressive.

Fernando Llorente demonstrated just how it's done with his wonderfully taken goal against Manchester United on Thursday evening, which has encouraged GMF to compile a short list of some of our favourite volleys.

This is in no way intended to be definitive, and plenty of sensational strikes will not make the cut, so feel free to add your favourite volleys in the comments section below.

Paul Scholes

Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United - December 23, 2006

There are few players in world football who can boast a technique as sound of that of Paul Scholes, who has garnered quite a reputation for scoring goals from long-range in a glittering career.

But perhaps hist finest of connections came against Aston Villa shortly before Christmas in 2006 as Manchester United secured a valuable three points on their way to the title.

Ryan Giggs swept a corner into the box, but a Villa defender rose highest to seemingly head the ball away from relative danger.

But Scholes, lurking some 30 yards from goal, advanced as the ball began to drop from the sky, steadied himself and thundered a shot in off the crossbar to but United two-up. Watch the goal here.

Paolo di Canio

West Ham 2-1 Wimbledon - March 26, 2000

This effort from mercurial Italian Paolo di Canio was named BBC Goal of the Season and was also voted Goal of the Decade in a poll conducted by Sky Sports.

And who are we to argue with such a ringing endorsement? It really is a quite breathtaking goal from the West Ham hero, who is still regarded as an icon at Upton Park.

Receiving the ball on the right from Marc-Vivien Foe, Trevor Sinclair plays a fantastic raking pass across field as Di Canio pulls away from the Wimbledon right-back.

As the ball enters into the area, Di Canio meets it with both feet of the ground and steers his shot past a helpless Neil Sullivan to record one of the greatest goals ever seen. Watch the goal here.


Wayne Rooney

Manchester United 2-1 Newcastle United - April 24, 2005

This goal epitomised Wayne Rooney in his early years as a Manchester United player - mixing a display of petulance with a moment of pure genius.

As United advance on the attack, Rooney can be seen fiercely remonstrating with the referee following the failure of the match official to award the home side a free-kick.

But, as the ball is headed out of the Newcastle area, the focus of the England striker switches completely as he senses an opportunity to have a strike at goal.

Rooney streaks forward onto the loose ball and connects quite brilliantly; hammering a ferocious shot into the top corner, which beats Shay Given at full stretch. Watch the goal here.

Dejan Stankovic

Inter Milan 2-5 Schalke 04 - April 5, 2011

This Champions League quarter-final encounter between Inter Milan and Schalke at the San Siro was a quite unbelievable game, not least for this incredible goal from Dejan Stankovic.

The Serbian midfielder deserves praise not just for the execution of fabulous technique, but also for his quick thinking to take advantage of stranded Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Esteban Cambiasso fires a long ball forward in the hope of finding Diego Milito, but the Inter forward is beaten to the pass by Neuer - who heads clear towards the half-way line.

Stankovic, however, sees the opportunity to have a crack at an empty net and, somehow, controls his volley to perfection having met the ball only five yards or so into the opposition half. Watch the goal here.

Robin van Persie

Charlton Athletic 1-2 Arsenal - September 30, 2006

Although Arsenal fans are now accustomed to watching Robin van Persie win games almost singlehandedly that, of course, was not always the case, but this match against Charlton was one of the first examples of him doing so.

The Gunners had fallen behind to a first-half strike from Darren Bent, but Van Persie levelled for Arsene Wenger's side following some neat work from Alexander Hleb.

Shortly after the interval, the Dutch forward then gave his side a deserved lead and, in the process, netted one of the most memorable goals ever by an Arsenal player.

Emmanuel Eboue surged down the right and played a hopeful box towards the edge of the Charlton box and, with the full-back static, Van Persie got the run on his opponent.

The way Van Persie manages to control his shot is astounding - leaping off the ground to ensure he gets over the strike, and lashing into the roof of the net with his left foot. Watch the goal here.

So, there you have it - some of GMF's favourite volleys. But we want your input too. Who would make their way into your own list?

Zinedine Zidane's strike against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League final, perhaps? Or maybe Marco van Basten's iconic effort for Holland in Euro '88?

And who could forget Tony Yeboah for Leeds during the Premier League's infancy?

Let us know.

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