Words: Connor O'Halloran
Image: Offside Sports Photography
It’s a shame Wayne Rooney’s greatest goal is a shinner against City. And all everyone ever talks about is that volley he scored against Newcastle just because he was annoyed at the ref.
Here’s nine of his best thwacks:
2007—Milan (skip to 3:57)
We had to go to WAZZA TV Official (as opposed to the other WAZZA TV accounts that are out there) to find this beauty. He’d already knocked one in and accidentally nutmegged a shaved-headed Gennaro Gattuso. But, drawing 2–2 in stoppage time, Rooney bashed a 20-yarder past Dida. He did it all with a shiny gold number eight on his back and a naturally grown barnet.
This is the game Rooney had a Storelli black headband wrapped around his bonce—the same gear that the US army uses to line their helmets. A last-minute consolation in a 4-1 kicking by Man City, he left Joe Hart for dead back when that actually (sorta) meant something. Meant absolutely nothing in the end, this one, but, still, a lovely goal.
Belted that, didn’t he? Cushioned it onto his hairy chest, let it drop down to his Nike T90 Laser Is, then hit it really, really hard.
Usually, a chip comes as a result of a little ill-fated courage from the ‘keeper. Go on; I dare ya. Try it. David James couldn’t have been any more the opposite. He wasn’t just inside his six-yard box. James is practically standing on the bloody goal line, not even tempting the chip. Rooney doesn’t care. He’ll chip him anyway. The Portsmouth back four are in front of him, and he’s just chipped their goalie on the line.
Look at his face at the end. Cheer up, mate.
First, he went with his knee, only to be denied by the finest goalkeeper in Kazakhstan, Aleksandr Mokin. Admire that fingertip save. Then Rooney showed everyone that you can score an overhead kick while having one foot on the floor, channelling his inner Ronnie O’Sullivan. “Keep those toes on the floor,” he whispers to himself. Then he hit the ball into the corner and won the frame 4-0.
It was a dark age for the England team (Tom Cleverley provided the assist, but this game was different) but this game was brief respite: at the Maracanã for a 2-1 win. Rooney’s goal was the first of those. You can literally hear some of the fans leaning across to their mates, pointing at the stanchion he’s just hit. “Right in the net, that.” (N.B: No, we don’t care that it took a bit of a deflection)
This was Rooney’s 250th goal for United, and it came as a last-minute equaliser in the 94th minute. Did he celebrate? He did not. He was more interested in getting just… one… more... The greedy git.
And that. That’s how you volley.
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