Scoring goals looks rather straightforward, but it’s actually the hardest job to do on a football pitch.
If it were easy, top strikers wouldn’t be so jaw-droppingly invaluable and command such insane transfer fees.
That means when a good goal is scored, we all know about it. And the best goals are hung up in football’s collective mental museum.
What constitutes a ‘good goal’ changes for everyone, though. The strikers among us will appreciate the scruffy, poacher’s tap-in and the work that goes with that, while others will prefer those speculative efforts that turn into unforgettable, long range net rippers. And that’s without even mentioning volleys, set pieces, bicycle kicks, mazy runs from deep – you get the idea.
And while we’ve probably all got our favourites for some reason or another, livefootballtickets.com has been putting together research to find out which goals make up that hall of fame through the public vote.
You know a goal is an all-time classic when it bangs on YouTube. Using that idea, livefootballtickets.com has created data to compile a list of the 15 most viewed goals on YouTube, correct as of the time of writing.
Seriously, there are some absolutely ferocious goals in here. From forgotten Premier League strikes and peak La Liga wizardry, to goals on the international stage and more, here are the 15 most popular goals on YouTube.
15. Marta Vieira da Silva vs. USA (2007)
Marta earned Pele comparisons for her wizardry level of skill, and ability in possession of a football.
Bagging her second of the game in 2007 Women’s World Cup semi-final, Marta takes in a bobbled pass with her back to goal by flicking it around her marker, juggles the ball down to settle, drops another defender and then slots it past the goalkeeper. It’s a disgraceful show of skill.
14. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Bologna (2008)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic. One of very few who could probably have a museum dedicated to his own absurd goals over the years. This one in his Inter days while playing against Bologna would absolutely be in there.
Running away from the goal at the front post to evade his marker and meet Adriano’s cross, Ibrahimovic improvises to get a shot on the keeper, in true Zlatan style. Hooking his foot around the ball, Ibrahimovic flicks the ball behind him and past the goalkeeper with venom, essentially scoring via sweet chin music, as Shawn Michaels would say. Only he could pull that off.
13. Marco Van Basten vs Soviet Union (1988)
We’ve all tried to recreate this one. And we’ve all failed miserably.
Van Basten was an absolutely glorious footballer, and that volley against the Soviet Union is a perfect summary of his outlandish abilities. Technical excellence, power, precision and all the steel in the world to even give it a go – in a final. It’s such a shame that injuries stunted what could’ve been an even more breath-taking legacy.
32 years ago today: Marco Van Basten vs Soviet Union.pic.twitter.com/82ExfxrpKE— 🇪🇷 b. (@ehrebb) June 25, 2020
12. Thierry Henry vs Manchester United (2000)
It’s two for a volley. Or at least it should be. Henry’s effort against Manchester United certainly should’ve counted for two.
Seriously, it’s an angle and a position on the pitch that very few other players would see a goal from, not least such an unworldly strike to pull it off. Flicking up a tame pass and looping a volley into the far corner, proper Barclays.
11. Maxi Rodriguez vs Mexico (2006)
Volleys just don’t get boring, do they? They feel almost impossible to pull off, but when you catch one sweet, it’s a feeling that cannot be matched.
Rodriguez will tell you that more than anyone. Bringing down a switch of play on the edge of the box, his last 16 volley at the 2006 World Cup remains one of the best goals in the tournament’s history.
10. Dennis Bergkamp vs. Newcastle United (2002)
One of the most technically excellent, glorious goals ever. Perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing in Premier League history.
Prime Bergkamp was an absolute cheat code. There were very few who could manipulate a ball like he could, and his goal against Newcastle is proof. Impossible to recreate.
9. Roberto Carlos vs Tenerife (1998)
Was it a cross, or was it a shot? There’s a strong case to suggest it was the former, but we won’t be putting that to the man himself. No thanks.
Besides, it doesn’t matter what Carlos meant with the effort; he still scored one of the most impossible goals in football history. The sheer venom behind the strike is frightening, too.
Will Gabriel Jesus join Arsenal? (Football Terrace)
8. Roberto Carlos vs France (1997)
He might not have meant the one against Tenerife, but there’s no denying Carlos’ intentions against France a year earlier.
One aim – absolutely smash it. A truly freakish strike and one that is textbook Carlos. In the words of Alan Partridge, he must have a foot like a traction engine.
7. Zinedine Zidane vs Bayer Leverkusen (2002)
The greatest goal in Champions League history. There, we said it.
To pluck a ball out of thin air and decide the Champions League final with a ‘weak’ foot volley so effortlessly is simply out of this world. Zidane’s strike is one of the greatest, and the views suggest people agree.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. England (2012)
Back in the list for a second time, and for understandable reason. This Ibrahimovic goal is still a mystery.
It’s one thing attempting to score from near enough the halfway line and it’s another trying to pull off a bicycle kick. But to put the two together in the blink of an eye, running on pure instinct? Truly absurd from Zlatan.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. LAFC (2018)
Completing his hat-trick of entries, it’s yet another stunning goal that very few players would have the guts to even try. Ibrahimovic made it look easy.
Scoring one of the greatest MLS goals of all time on his debut, Ibrahimovic plucked a loose ball out of the Los Angeles sky and looped an inch perfect volley over the LAFC goalkeeper on his LA Galaxy debut. Better yet, he’d score the game’s winner at the death in a 4-3 classic.
4. Sergio Aguero vs QPR (2012)
Look away now, United fans.
No, Aguero’s historic strike wasn’t one of the most aesthetically pleasing goals ever, but the circumstances made it absolutely monumental. With United all but confirmed as Premier League champions, up stepped Aguero to snatch away the title at the very death to win Manchester City their first ever Premier League in front of a frenzied home crowd.
3. David Beckham vs Greece (2001)
When discussing goals that fire nations to major tournaments, they don’t come much better than Beckham’s effort versus Greece. Absolutely textbook Becks, and nerves of steel.
England needed a miracle to avoid further major upset in one of their golden generations and were on the cusp of failing to make the 2002 World Cup. But when Beckham placed that ball down on the turf at Old Trafford, everything settled. He wrapped a sensational free-kick into the goal to send England to the World Cup and complete his own Three Lions redemption arc.
2. Diego Maradona vs England (1986)
Nobody show Peter Shilton this information. He’s still not over it as is.
The second-most viewed goal in history is one of football’s most controversial ever. The ‘hand of God’ will never be forgotten. And while it isn’t something we want to see in the game, you have to admire Maradona’s quick thinking and unrelenting desire to carry Argentina to a World Cup win.
1. Lionel Messi vs Real Madrid (2017)
Topping the lot, it just had to be this one. El Clasico. Cristiano Ronaldo vs Messi. Stakes higher than ever as always, and Messi produces a superhuman moment – as always. The astronomical viewing figures reflect just how good this goal was, absolutely blitzing the rest of the competition as it closes in on 100 million total views.
Barcelona were a different beast with this man in the side, and El Clasico was an unmissable fixture. A swift Barça counter attack at the death, game locked at 2-2. Started by Messi, finished off by Messi. Barcelona leave the Bernabeu with a win. With Ray Hudson’s commentary over the top, this goal will keep you entertained for hours. Seriously.
Lionel Messi’s game by numbers vs. Real Madrid on this day in 2017:— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 23, 2020
23 final third passes
7 successful take-ons
6 shots (4 on target)
6 fouls won