The best Predator goals retold
& FIVE OTHER GREAT PREDATOR GOALS
XAVI LEAVES IT LATE REAL MADRID 1-2 BARCELONA, 2004
“When I got the ball I thought I was offside because Ronaldinho saw me quite late. I was looking around straight away expecting to see the flag, but I was in line so it was fine. While the ball from Ronnie was in the air – and what a pass it was, too – I looked behind me to check if Iker Casillas was coming off his line to pressure me. If he had stayed on his line it wouldn’t have worked, but he felt that he had to come out. It all worked perfectly.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was my best goal, but it was definitely the most significant goal and not just because it was a late Clasico winner. I think that game marked the start of the Barcelona rise. We had great belief after that result.”
ZIDANE STEALS THE SHOW IN GLASGOW BAYER LEVERKUSEN 1-2 REAL MADRID, 2002
“What was I thinking as the cross came over to me? ‘I’m going to shoot’. I looked across to see where the goal was, I had the time… and I knew I was going to hit it first time. Whoosh!
When it went in I felt so much happiness. I ran off shouting, in Spanish too, ‘Take that! Take that! Take that!’ That was what I needed – a great moment. The trophy I didn’t have was the Champions League. I’d already lost in the final twice with Juventus – one of those against Real Madrid. And when that club buys you and pays €72 million, it’s because you’ve got to do something big.”
THE GERRARD FINAL GOES INTO EXTRA TIME LIVERPOOL 3-3 WEST HAM, 2006
“It was a hot day and I was thinking we had underestimated West Ham. But it was the biggest game of their careers for most of their players and they were right up for it. They’d started well and shocked us. But credit to the lads, we managed to turn it around.
“I have been asked many times what was my best ever display was – it was probably this. I had a perfect day with two goals and an assist. I’m flattered when people call it ‘The Gerrard Final’, though I do think that’s disrespectful to everybody else – it’s a team game. It was just my day.”
WEMBLEY FALLS HEAD OVER HEELS FOR GAZZA ENGLAND 2-0 SCOTLAND, 1996
“I could see Colin Hendry coming in, so I flicked the ball over his head and volleyed it. You can’t teach kids that, it was pure instinct. I trained with Andy Goram every day so I knew how to beat him – I knew I had to get over the ball and hit it low. On the coach going to Wembley, I told the lads we should do the dentist chair celebration. I timed that goal so well.”
KAKA PUTS ON HIS DANCING SHOES BRAZIL 3-0 ARGENTINA, 2006
“I’ve never been able to say which is the most important goal I’ve ever scored as I’ve scored so many decisive goals. But the most beautiful one? Well, that was for Brazil against Argentina in a friendly at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. I picked up the ball in our own penalty area and carried it more than 70 metres, running past several opponents before scoring.”
BECKHAM BENDS IT FROM HALFWAY WIMBLEDON 0-3 MAN UNITED, 1996
“Shooting from the halfway line: that’s something I’d try every game if it was on. The buzz of scoring the goal lasted a long time and it’s still with me now, to tell you the truth. I get goosebumps whenever I see it. I’ve got a picture in my house that was sent to me, taken from behind where I kicked it. The ball is in the air and the Selhurst Park crowd is in the background, and you can see my mum, my dad and my sister in the photograph as the ball drops towards the goal. That’s one to cherish.”