Having infamously embarrassed myself with an attempted overhead kick during a match with UEFA.com colleagues three years ago, I am perhaps the worst person to comment on such a skill. However, after watching Philippe Mexès's strike against RSC Anderlecht last week, a few days after Zlatan Ibrahimović's effort for Sweden in a friendly against England, I could not resist.
Ibrahimović and Mexès have been joined by a whole host of players in scoring spectacular bicycle kicks in recent weeks: Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus), Moussa Sow and Bekir İrtegün (both Fenerbahçe SK), and Javi Martínez (FC Bayern München). Putting those to one side, here are my personal top five overhead kicks.
Marco van Basten: AFC Ajax 3-1 FC Den Bosch, 09/11/1986
I remember watching this strike on several occasions the summer Milan signed the Dutchman, who was relatively unknown in Italy at the time. It may have been his calling card then, but he went on to score plenty more memorable goals for the Rossoneri, including another stunning overhead effort against IFK Göteborg in the UEFA Champions League in 1992.
Hugo Sánchez: Real Madrid CF 2-0 CD Logroñés, 10/04/1988
"If a player scores a goal like that, the game should be suspended and a glass of champagne offered to the 80,000 fans who witnessed it," commented then Madrid manager Leo Beenhakker after the Liga game in question. Enough said.
Youri Djorkaeff: FC Internazionale Milano 3-1 AS Roma, 05/05/1997
With the Roma defence struggling to clear their lines, Djorkaeff met a high bouncing ball with a powerful overhead volley from an acute angle and found the opposite corner of the net. Considering the height at which the former France playmaker made contact, not to mention the angle, this was perhaps the most difficult of all my choices to execute.
Mauro Bressan: ACF Fiorentina 3-3 FC Barcelona, 02/11/1999
Arguably the most famous bicycle kick in UEFA Champions League history. Such an acrobatic finish from long distance, delivered by a player with only a handful of competition appearances to his name, ensured this overhead will forever be etched into UEFA Champions League folklore. As if that was not enough, Bressan's splendid back-heeled assist for Enrico Chiesa guaranteed that he stole the show altogether.
Ronaldinho: FC Barcelona 4-1 Villarreal CF, 25/11/2006
Ronaldinho took a chipped cross on his chest and readjusted his body to meet the ball at the right angle before sending a spectacular shot into the back of the net. The peculiar thing about this particular finish was how the Brazilian maestro pivoted on his right foot and then used the same boot to fire home. It was like watching a conventional overhead kick in the mirror.
This is my own top five and even though I know I can select better than I can execute, I also recognise I have missed out plenty. What are your favourite overhead kicks?
The opinions expressed here are the writer's own and not those of UEFA.
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