Sport

Calm down, he's no Diego

Andrew Korner
Andrew Korner Rob Williams

YEAH it was pretty good - but was it the best ever?

Forgive my scepticism here, but the nature of football today seems to be that every time some bloke with a funny name bends it around a wall and into the top corner, or chips a keeper from 50 yards out, it is immediately followed by "best goal ever" claims.

The global debate that followed Zlatan Ibrahimovic's amazing overhead goal against England in a friendly played early Thursday morning was pretty standard.

Considering that soccer fans will spend the good part of a morning talking about whether or not Arsene Wenger brought Theo Walcott on too early, a sublime goal like Ibrahimovic's can generate days of passionate banter.

While he isn't everyone's cup of tea, Ibrahimovic is a very skillful player - that much is beyond dispute.

His goal against the hapless Poms the other day was good because, basically, it takes a lot of nerve for a man to attempt an overhead kick from a floating ball that far away from the sticks.

Like any good striker, "Ibra" knew where the goals were without having to look at them, and he knew the goal keeper was out of the picture. The hardest part of making an overhead kick go into the goals is keeping it down - which he didn't have to worry about in this case - but this goal still required an enormous amount of skill and flexibility.

Only a very small percentage of players are able to do an overhead kick and even fewer have the guts to do it in an International - albeit a friendly. That said, I still don't think Ibra's bit of brilliance comes close to the great Diego Maradona's goal against England in the 1986 World Cup.

Maybe it was the occasion - one million screaming fans at the biggest sporting event in the world, with the master Maradona well and truly in his prime.

Others, like fellow Argentine Lionel Messi, have come close to emulating the fabled, "goal of the century", but nobody can do it with the same speed and brilliance of Maradona.

Maradona dominated my earliest years of SBS watching - so perhaps I am biased here - but after all the drug controversy and other silliness associated with the great man over the years, nothing has tarnished that goal. Ibra's goal was unreal, but the true test will be whether or not we are still talking about it in 26 years time.

Topics:  naughty korner opinion



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