In his time with Stoke City Xherdan Shaqiri has been very hot and cold. Stoke fans are beginning to become frustrated with how talented he is, coupled with his inconsistency and injuries. Let’s take a look at the Swiss playmaker.
One thing you can’t deny the Swiss international is his almost unparalleled ability to score stunning goals. In his time with Stoke Shaqiri has only scored seven league goals, but they have all certainly been worth watching. So, it’s time to not only recount some of his best strikes, but also look at players through history with a similar trait.
First Stoke season
‘The Alpine Messi’ scored his first goal for the club against Everton at Goodison park. By his usual standards this was quite an uninspiring finish. After a fine passing move the ball was cut back to him in the box and he scored with a low strike. But not long after he doubled his tally with a strike that the Premier League has never seen the likes of before.
Following some Everton pressure the ball was broken up and given to Bojan deep in his own half. The little Spaniard looked up and saw Shaqiri making a run on the last man. Bojan picked out Shaqiri with a wonderful left footed pass and Shaqiri did the rest. The winger dinked the ball over Tim Howard whilst running at full speed. The goal was so unbelievable the ground (including Stoke fans) remained silent for a few seconds.
Shaqiri has always been known for his long-range strikes, fueled by his mammoth calf muscles. His next Stoke screamer came at home to Newcastle as he lashed the ball in from 25 yards. The keeper was left standing with no chance of even getting near the ball.
At the Euro 2016 tournament Shaqiri was relatively quiet until yet another moment of brilliance came against Poland. Switzerland were trailing and in desperate need of an equalizer. After a few attempts at putting the ball into the box the ball broke loose on the edge of the box. Shaqiri managed to maneuver his leg into the air and meet the ball, firing it into the bottom right corner. One of the goals of the tournament.
Second Stoke season
In the 2016/17 season Shaqiri scored four goals, all from outside the box. The best all came against Hull, both home and away. His first against the Tigers came at the KCOM is some style. Following a corner, the ball broke onto the edge of the box. Ryan Shawcross passed the ball back out wide to Shaqiri, who looked primed to cross. Instead he feinted past his man, cut inside and let fly. The ball flew straight into the top corner of the near post. The sheer power behind the ball gave the keeper no chance of getting a hand on the ball.
Then at the Bet365 stadium later that season, Shaqiri stunned Hull’s keeper once again. The potters were leading 2-1 and hunting for a 3rd. After some tidy build up the ball came to Shaqiri 30 yards from goal. The diminutive Swiss looked up and knew what to do instantly. He pulled back that infamous left foot and pinged yet another phenomenal strike, this time into the far top left corner. The stadium went into hysterics and Shaqiri soaked up the praise.
Other big names
Throughout footballing history there has always been a player like Shaqiri. A real crowd pleaser capable of moments of true aesthetic beauty. Some have had more successful careers than others, but all of their goals still do the rounds on YouTube and other social media.
Known by many as ‘The ice man’, Bergkamp was renowned for his calmness in front of goal. He had a famous first touch and seemed to manipulate the ball any way he pleased. His most iconic moment came in March 1997. In the Premier League’s goal of the month he finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
Arguably his best goal was against Newcastle in 2002. This goal is painted all over the internet as one of the best ever. Following a swift counter attack Robert Pires found the ball on the left wing. He fed the ball into the feet of Berkamp who unleashed an unbelievable turn to leave Nikos Dabizas on his backside. Bergkamp then calmly slotted the ball into the goal with ease.
This time a set piece specialist. Juninho is also regarded by many as one of the best free kick takers of all time. He scored over 75 free kicks in professional football, most of which from impressive range. His technique is labelled by many as a ‘knuckle-ball’. This involves getting top spin on the ball in order to make it dip and swerve.
His most notable strike came in 2009 in the Champions League against Barcelona. With the ball near the left touchline, not far from the corner flag he struck a powerful drive. The ball dipped, swerved and deceived Victor Valdes and flew into the top corner.
Zlatan seems to be able to score an abundance of goals in any country or league. The big Swede is infamous for his ego but has scored many a wonder goal along the way. Often acrobatic, his goals are a genuine pleasure to watch.
His best is a goal England fans (and Ryan Shawcross) will remember well. On Shawcross’ first cap for England he was given a baptism of fire by Zlatan himself. After Joe Hart came a long way out of his net to punch away a long ball, Zlatan eyed up the loose ball. He let fly with a bicycle kick from 30 yards which chipped Joe Hart. Shawcross tried to clear the ball off the line but got nowhere near.
Is there anyone missing from the other big names? If so, let us know in the comments.