Ah yes, the backheel. A piece of skill which in a split second can make you look like a genius, or Titus Bramble, blindfolded, on ice.
It takes flair and class to effectively and aesthetically utilise the backheel. The awareness, the timing, the precision. Or just swinging your leg back when you’re boxed in and hoping it finds a teammate. Whether it be your number 10, your false 9, or the fancy dan winger with new flashy boots, the backheel can always cause trouble, and not always for the opposition. Nonetheless, in homage to QPR’s Charlie Austin and Newcastle’s Ayoze Pérez’s efforts in recent weeks, here are 5 examples of it being done
Roberto Mancini V Parma
Yeah, Roberto Mancini, remember him? Long before he was flaunting the sky blue scarf of Manchester city (like only a fashionable Italian, comfortable with his sexuality, could do), he was rocking the sky blue of Lazio. In 2000 Mancini popped out this beauty against Parma. ‘Bobby Manc’ later accused one Mario Ballotelli of ‘not taking the game seriously’ after Mario attempted a backheel finish, in a pre-season friendly. Spoilsport.
Grafite V Bayern Munich
Grafite was one of those players: The next Ronaldo (until he got fat). The next Adriano (before Adriano lost the plot and started playing with guns and drugs). However, it never really came about for him. A few transfer windows worth of rumoured big money moves to England was all he got before he burnt out. Fortunately, We’ll always have this beauty to remember him for, and if you get the right video, the commentary is just as good as the goal.
Matt Burrows V Portadown
Matt Burrows can dine off this goal for a long time to come. Burrows somehow managed to meet the ball perfectly as he ran away from goal to score this mid air backheel, facing away from the goal, from the edge of the box. Oh, and it was a 92nd minute winner. Despite playing for a Glentoran, it didn’t go unnoticed amongst the big names in Europe, after being nominated for Fifa’s 2012 Puskás award (for best goal) claiming 3rd spot ahead of the likes of Neymar, Robben, and a certain Lionel Messi.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic v Bastia
Truth be told, there’s enough of Ibra’s backheels on YouTube to fill this list on his own. But that’d be boring. What isn’t boring is this effort against Bastia. The man with a black belt in taekwondo is renowned for his flexibility and acrobatics (see England V Sweden) so in a way this goal probably didn’t surprise him. However it certainly caught the Bastia keeper off guard.
Gianfranco Zola v Norwich
The archetypal flying backheel. The Stamford bridge faithful knew fairly well what the diminutive Zola was capable of, but he stunned even them with this one. After making a darting run to meet a near post corner from Graeme Le Saux, the man from Sardinia managed to time his jump to meet the ball at just the right height and angle to direct it up into the far top corner using only the speed of the initial ball. Cue a bewildered Norwich defence who thought they had it covered, and ecstatic Chelsea fans (including one bald fat guy who just couldn’t abstain from showing his love for li’l Gianfranco)
Sure, we all have our moments in training. Of course it’s the match scenarios like above where it really counts. But it would’ve been a crime to leave this one by Wesley Sneijeder out. The ‘oohs’ when it hits the net are the sound that let you know when you’ve done something you’ll probably never pull off again, but your mates will be hearing about for weeks to come. On the other hand, something tells me Wesley probably could do it again. And again. And again. Take a bow
Videos courtesy of Youtube
Photo courteosy of the Daily Star