All goals count the same or so we’re told, but there’s little doubt that overhead kicks are one of the greatest art forms when it comes to finding the net.
The UEFA Champions League is the grandest platform in club football and every so often a player produces a moment fitting of such stage. Overhead kicks are the perfect execution of timing, technique and athleticism, the sort of goal to make stadiums stand and applaud regardless of loyalties.
Here, we look at some of the best overhead kicks scored in Champions League history.
The best overhead kicks in Champions League history:
Marco van Basten – AC Milan vs Gothenborg (1992)
Marco van Basten was no stranger to scoring stunning goals. In a career that brought 283 goals in just 379 games at club level, the Dutchman produced one of his very finest in a Champions League clash between AC Milan and IFK Göteborg in November 1992.
Van Basten – who had won back-to-back European Cups with Milan in 1989 and 1990 – became the first player to score four goals in a Champions League game as Milan thrashed their Swedish opponents 4-0 at the San Siro.
The pick of the bunch was this acrobatic effort, the highlight of a win which kickstarted Milan’s run to the final. Sadly, the 1992/93 season proved Van Basten’s final as a recurring ankle issue brought a premature end to his career. He announced his retirement in 1995 after two seasons on the sidelines, aged just 28.
🔴 Great goalscorer
⚫️ Scorer of great goals
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 31, 2019
Mauro Bressan – Fiorentina vs Barcelona (1999)
There are great goals, and then there are great goals.
Mauro Bressan will forever be associated with this goal, after scoring a spectacular scissor-kick from distance during Fiorentina’s clash with Barcelona in 1999. The Stadio Artemio Franchi was stunned as Bressan attempted – and executed – this outrageous effort from distance.
In an otherwise modest career at the top level, Bressan cemented his place in Champions League folklore with one moment of magic. It’s arguably the greatest goal the competition has ever seen.
🔥 Best bicycle kick in history?
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) November 2, 2020
Peter Crouch – Liverpool vs Galatasaray (2006)
Much to his annoyance, Peter Crouch was often told he never looked like a footballer.
He was, however, a quite brilliant one at his best and Crouch, despite his doubters, was capable of the spectacular. Galatasaray can vouch for that, after Crouch slammed home this acrobatic goal for Liverpool from a Steve Finnan cross in 2006/07.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 27, 2021
Philippe Mexes – Anderlecht vs AC Milan (2012)
Philippe Mexes was not your usual centre-half.
The Frenchman had a flamboyance not often associated with those in the backline, a pony-tailed performer who occasionally provided jaw-dropping moments at the opposite end. Against Anderlecht in 2012/13, a hoisted free-kick into the Belgian’s box appeared to pose little threat.
Mexes, thrown up as a set-piece threat for AC Milan, was free at the back post, but the delivery arrived a little behind him. The defender cushioned the ball on his chest, but with his back to goal a lay-off to a teammate looked the logical next step.
Instead, Mexes had the audacity to do this.
🗣️ “You only score a goal like that once in your career.”
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 30, 2020
Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus vs Real Madrid (2018)
Cristiano Ronaldo has a catalogue of defining Champions League moments, with the competition’s all-time record goalscorer having often saved his best for Europe.
Ronaldo scored one of his greatest goals during a glamour tie between Juventus and Real Madrid, unleashing an extraordinary effort past Gianluigi Buffon. It was an inspired intervention from the Portuguese superstar, one which saw Real Madrid take control of this quarter-final clash.
Such was its brilliance, the stunned supporters in the home end joined the ovation for Ronaldo’s special strike.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 3, 2020
Gareth Bale – Real Madrid vs Liverpool (2018)
Ronaldo’s overhead kick had helped Real Madrid on their route to the Champions League final, where the Spaniards faced Liverpool in their bid to win three in a row.
Gareth Bale decided a tight final that had been level at 1-1 before his introduction from the bench, as the Welsh winger took just three minutes to score one of the Champions League’s greatest goals.
Marcelo’s cross was floated into the penalty box, where Bale was poised to take advantage. One astonishing leap and connection later, the ball flew past Loris Karius to put Real Madrid ahead.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 26, 2020
Bale’s brilliance had been decisive, as he fired home a long-range second to seal the win – and Champions League success – for Los Blancos.