Best bicycle kicks

The Best Bicycle Kicks in Football History

Bicycle kicks, or overhead kicks, are one of the most exciting prospects in football. Whenever a player scores via a bicycle, or even attempts one, the crowd at the stadium and all over the world have a rush of excitement.

A bicycle kick is when a player has the goal behind him and then he jumps in the air and hits the ball with their leg over the head. The athleticism, awareness, technique, and sheer determination to score through a bicycle kick is unparalleled. One has to be sure about the trajectory and pace of the ball to connect with it cleanly.

Moreover, it isn’t just about the jump and connection on the ball but also the landing. Some players achieve great height on a bicycle kick and need to ensure they land safely without any injury concerns.

Also Read: Top 10 Best Strikers in UEFA Euro 2024

Over the years, there have been some iconic goals scored through a bicycle kick on the biggest of stages. So, let’s take a look at some of the best bicycle kicks of all time.

5. Rivaldo – 2001

Rivaldo celebrates against Valencia (Credits: FC Barcelona)

FC Barcelona legend Rivaldo scored a sensational hat-trick against Valencia in 2001, which was not only stunning but also significant. It came on the final day of the season as Barça needed to beat Los Ches to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season.

Rivaldo opened the scoring in the third minute with a long-range strike before Baraja equalized for Valencia in the 25th minute. Rivaldo scored another long ranger in the 45th minute but Baraja again restored parity in the 46th minute.

It appeared that Barcelona will have to be satisfied with Europa League football. However, Rivaldo stepped up again in the 88th minute. He stood on the edge of the box with his back to the goal, received a pass on his chest, controlled it, and scored through a sensational overhead kick. It is certainly one of the best bicycle kicks in terms of both, technique and importance.

4. Alejandro Garnacho – 2023

Alejandro Garnacho’s bicycle kick (Credits: Sky Sports)

Manchester United teenager Alejandro Garnacho scored one of the best bicycle kicks of all time against Everton in the 2023-24 season. Before the match, there was a lot of frustration among the Everton supporters after the club was docked a few points due to a breach of financial rules. Hence, Goodison Park was expected to be charged up for the match.

However, Garnacho silenced the crowd within three minutes. A Diogo Dalot cross was behind the Argentinian, who jumped and appeared to stay in the air and connected sweetly with the ball to score.

It was the first goal in a 3-0 win for his side. The goal was also nominated as the Premier League Goal of the Season.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo – 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo’s bicycle kick against Juventus (Credits: Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo has attempted the bicycle kick many times throughout his career. He has often seen them go wide, hit the woodwork, or be saved by the goalkeeper. However, he finally produced one of the best bicycle kicks ever in 2018.

Real Madrid faced Juventus at the Allianz Arena for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash. Ronaldo scored in the third minute to make it 1-0. With the game on the knife edge, he got another chance at the hour mark but the pass to him was overhit. He still managed to keep the ball in play and continue the move. The ball reached Dani Carvajal on the right flank and he put a cross in.

The ball was behind Ronaldo but the legendary Portuguese jumped and produced one of the most technically sound bicycle kicks ever seen. He had the perfect form as he connected sweetly with the ball to put it past Gianluigi Buffon. Even the Juventus fans in the stadium were amazed by the goal and stood up to applaud Ronaldo.

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2. Gareth Bale – 2018

Gareth Bale’s bicycle kick against Liverpool (Credits: Getty)

The 2018 UEFA Champions League produced two stunning bicycle kicks, both from Real Madrid players. While Cristiano Ronaldo did it in the quarter-finals against Juventus, Gareth Bale produced one of his own in the final against Liverpool.

After a goalless first half in the final in Ukraine, Karim Benzema (51’) and Sadio Mane (55’) scored a goal for their respective sides to make it 1-1. Gareth Bale then came on as a substitute in the 61st minute and it took him just three minutes to make an impact.

Marcelo put in a cross from his weaker right foot from the left flank. The ball was behind Bale but it didn’t matter as ‘The Flying Welshman’ caught the ball gracefully with his left foot and produced arguably the best bicycle kick of all time. Many consider it the best goal in the competition’s history and there is very little to argue against it.

Bale scored another goal in the game to help Real Madrid win 3-1.

1. Zlatan Ibrahimović – 2012

Zlatan Ibrahimović (Credits: Getty)

Zlatan Ibrahimović scored some outrageous goals over the course of his career. However, he would also agree that none of them were as good as the one he scored for Sweden against England in 2012.

The Swedish striker opened the scoring in a friendly against the Three Lions in the 19th minute. However, Danny Welbeck (34’) and Steven Caulker (37’) gave England the lead. Ibrahimović then scored in the 77th and 83th minutes to complete his hat-trick and turn the game around.

The former AC Milan man saved the best for the last though. A long ball saw England goalkeeper Joe Hart come out of the box to head it. The header didn’t go far and the Swede, who was chasing the ball, just turned around and hit an overhead kick from way outside the box into the goal. It was a stunning strike, which also won him the Puskas Award that year.