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Ronaldinho

From Ronaldinho to Ruben Neves – Five of the best goals in off the woodwork

Some of the best goals to have gone in the net after hitting the woodwork, from some of the best goalscorers of all-time. 

We’re only a month into the 2019/20 Premier League season and we’ve already seen some unbelievably good goals so far. There’s been Teemu Pukki’s volley against Newcastle United, Harry Wilson’s free kick against Manchester City, and Harvey Barnes’ thunderbolt against Bournemouth.

We’ve borne witness to so many terrific strikes in fact, that one of the best of them all has been lost in the shuffle: Ruben Neves’ equaliser against Manchester United.

It was a lovely strike from outside the box that was put just far away enough that David De Gea couldn’t reach it. But it wasn’t great just because it was an accurate effort from distance — it was the way it went in off the woodwork, bouncing down and up before rippling the net, giving it that satisfying final touch to a proper golazo.

Goals that go in off the post or, better yet, the crossbar, are a rarity in football, but they are also some of the finest delights you will find in the sport. We’ve picked some that we think are the very best from down the years, and once you’ve looked at them you’ll be stuck down a rabbit hole of searching for videos of similar goals.

The best goals to go in off the woodwork:

Tony Yeboah, LEEDS UNITED vs Liverpool, 1995

Not many people know this but the technical term for hitting off the underside of the bar is a ‘Yeboah’. Well, it should be anyway.

The Ghanaian was an absolute banger merchant, but he became a Premier League legend the day he hit the sweetest of strikes for Leeds United against Liverpool in August of 1995:

Just a month later, he followed it up with an equally stupefying shot from outside the box against Wimbledon, rollicking the frame of the goal in a way we’ve never seen before.

Which one is the superior strike?

Ronaldinho, BARCELONA vs Sevilla, 2003

It’s a shame that Ronaldinho turned out to be a card-carrying member of Brazil’s fascist far-right, because that man had skills to burn on a football pitch.

For instance, there is a lot to love about his famous goal against Sevilla in 2003, where he dribbles nonchalantly past two players before releasing a perfect strike into the net off the underside of the crossbar.

Not so much to love, however, about his political affiliations.

Five highest scoring Brazilians in Premier League history

James Rodriguez, COLOMBIA vs Uruguay, 2014

I’d have to look into this further, but I would take a guess that no one player earned as much from one goal as James Rodriguez did thanks to his stunning volley for Colombia in the 2014 World Cup.

The playmaker’s finish was worthy of winning Fifa’s Puskas Award for goal of the year, but it also secured him a lucrative move to Real Madrid from Monaco that summer. Rodriguez earns around €22m a year now, with fruitful endorsements on top of that.

While the Colombian would have moved to a bigger club eventually regardless and earned plenty of money, that one moment, alongside the terrific performances for his country, alerted Los Blancos to his ability. Like a moth to a flame, Florentino Perez found his shiny new toy to bring to the Bernabeu.

Zinedine Zidane, FRANCE vs Italy, 2006

It takes a lot of courage to try a panenka. But to try one in a World Cup final? Only Zidane could be that bold.

On top of that, it was his final ever match. But the Frenchman’s logic for taking the penalty the way he did was fascinating:

“There are still people today that tell me that I was crazy. But Buffon knew me. I played with him for five seasons at Juventus and he knew the exact spot in which I like to put my penalties. What would have been crazy is to shoot like I used to. I told myself: ‘That’s the thing you need to do. There are still 83 minutes left if you miss.’”

The fact the ball never hits the netting makes it all the more astounding. Bien joué, Zizou.

Darren Anderton, ENGLAND vs Sweden, 1995

Whenever Darren Anderton is remembered these days, it’s usually in the context of his unfortunate injury record, and the nickname that he inherited as a result — ‘Sicknote’. But the former Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth player should be remembered for this cracking goal.

Not nearly enough goals go in off both uprights. Anderton should have been knighted for this finish alone.

Bonus Ball:

Let’s take a moment to reflect on Jon Flanagan’s ‘Premier League Years’ moment.

Read: Moura, Bendtner, Robben – Five of the best first touch goals ever