Efforts from long range in football often are speculative and easy for goalkeepers to save as they have more time to react and get themselves behind the ball. On many occassions the player hitting the ball may not connect too well and the shot bobbles at goal or goes a good distance wide of the target.
However when long rangers are done right they produce some wonderful goals and that’s what the top ten pays homage to this week. Balls can fly through the air when a player connects with their ‘sweet spot’ making life difficult for the ‘keeper as they face unstoppable shots.
For the purposes of this list, I’ve excluded dead-ball situations and volleys as previous top tens have looked at those already. Nevertheless sit back and enjoy ten offerings of great long-range efforts.
10: Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United v Porto 2009
In the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2009, Manchester United faced Portugese opposition in the form of Porto. At the time United’s leading marksman was Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo who was in blistering form and a return to play a match in his homeland was always going to be interesting. Five minutes into the tie Ronaldo had his say. From just under 40 yards from goal he belted the ball into the top corner of the net. His prowess at shooting from distance was and still is well known but no-one could have expected him to shoot here when he did. Without breaking stride he unleashed a ferocious shot which flew past Porto goalkeeper Helton.
9: Erik Edman, Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool 2005
Swedish left-back Erik Edman had a brief spell in the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur but his time in England will be remembered for this goal. Spurs were at Anfield facing Liverpool at with the scores at 0-0 a failed Tottenham set-piece ended up back with Edman in Liverpool’s half on the edge of the centre circle. The full-back took two touches to steady himself and from 40 yards out spanked the ball which soared into the top corner of the net in front of the Kop. What a hit.
8: Ronaldinho, Barcelona v Sevilla 2003
It wasn’t that long ago that Ronaldinho was considered one of the best players in the world and goals like this prove why. The Brazilian collects a long throw from the Barca goalkeeper inside his own half wide on the left. He carries it forward into Sevilla’s half, beats two players and whacks a 35 yard screamer in off the bar.
7: Arie Haan, Netherlands v Italy, 1978
In the group stages of the 1978 World Cup Holland faced Italy, two teams fancied to go on and win the trophy. The Dutch beat the Azzuri and the pick of the goals came from Arie Haan. A free kick near the centre circle was tapped forward to Haan who took the ball forward a few yards and struck a swerving effort which beat Dino Zoff in the Italy goal. An audacious effort but well executed as from nearly 40 yards Haan’s shot bends away from Zoff and in off the post.
6: Patrick Vieira, Arsenal v Newcastle 1998
During Arsenal’s Double winning season of 1997/98 their young French midfielder Patrick Vieira came to prominence with some dominant displays in the middle of the park and an eye for goal. During a match against Newcastle in April 1998 he scored a bullet from 35 yards. Marc Overmars won the ball and gave it to Nicolas Anelka who in turn passed it to Vieira on the edge of the centre circle. Vieira took a few strides forward with the ball and unleashed an unstoppable drive which flew past Shay Given’s dive and into the top corner.
5; Matt Le Tissier, Southampton v Blackburn Rovers 1994
Matt Le Tissier is still considered one of the best players to have played in the Premier League and it’s no doubt that his goals helped keep Southampton in the division for many years. ‘Le God’ as Saints fans dubbed the midfielder scored some incredible goals from all over the park during his career but the goal I’ve chosen is this strike against Blackburn Rovers. Picking the ball up near the centre circle, Le Tissier takes it forward, beats two players and from at least 35 yards to the right of goal hits a powerful bending shot which crashes into the opposite top corner of the net. One of the most skillful English footballers of his generation who should’ve received more international honours.
4: Nelinho, Brazil v Italy 1978
Another cracker from World Cup 1978 and another long range screamer Dino Zoff had to pick out of the net. This time Italy were up against Brazil and in the 63rd minute Brazil were on the attack. The ball was played out to the right where Nelinho was breaking forward. In the right wing position outside the penalty area most players would cross the ball in, instead Nelinho shoots at goal. This was in the days before Jabulani balls but he manages to curl it superbly into the far side of the goal off the post. The shot at first looks to be sailing wide but the bend takes it toward the net and in, a great strike.
3: Josimar, Brazil v Northern Ireland 1986
Eight years on and another Brazilian full-back scores with a long range belter in the World Cup, this time against Northern Ireland at Mexico ’86. With Brazil going forward the ball is played wide for Josimar. 30 yards from goal and away to the right it seems near enough impossible to score but Josimar shoots and the strike flies like a bullet into the top corner of the net past the veteran Pat Jennings who had no chance.
2: Remi Mareval, Nantes v Marseille 2009
An absolute screamer from Remi Mareval. During a Ligue 1 game against Marseille a Nantes corner was cleared away from danger and the ball rolled away harmlessly. However some 35 yards from goal Mareval ran onto the loose ball and left-footed fired it first time right into the top corner of the net. Look at the angle from behind the goal and you’ll notice the pace and swerve which sees the ball nestle in the corner.
1: Clarence Seedorf, Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid 1997
Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf has been renowned throughout his career as being technically gifted, a good passer and accurate shooter of the ball. He’s scored some great goals for the likes of AC Milan, Ajax and Inter but probably his best came for Real Madrid in 1997 against city rivals Atletico Madrid. He collected the ball out wide on the right around 50 yards from goal. He took two touches to control it and get it out of his feet, before letting fly with a rasping drive which flew into the back of the net from fully 45 yards. The ball keeps at a flat trajectory all the way and the swerve completely wrongfoots the goalkeeper who was caught off his line. A brilliant effort.