Skill moves

All roads lead to Rome. This old proverb certainly applies well on a soccer pitch, where creativity, improvisation and intuition divide the very good from the best. And if good players are able to dribble and beat a defender, the elite do it with style and flair. Impact Media presents twelve more or less difficult skill moves.


The Maradona turn

Perfected by: Diego Maradona, Zinédine Zidane

Skill level: B+

Spectacular and effective, the Maradona turn is the go-to move for the most agile and gracious: Maradona and Zidane became experts in the art of the 360 degree spin. The secret is in the formula. With the weaker foot, the player starts his rotation and rolls the ball towards the strongest foot, which touches the ball close to the end of the spin to push the object in the dribbler’s run.


The Cruyff turn

Perfected by: Johan Cruyff, Cristiano Ronaldo

Skill level: B+

This move was completely created by the master himself. The apparent simplicity of the skill does not show the ploy and technical quality needed for its successful completion. With a fake shot, the player drives the ball, with the strongest foot, behind the standing leg and goes full throttle to take advantage of the space and the fraction of a second created by the flimflam. Used as much to create a crossing opportunity as to cut in the middle, the Cruyff turn is now used by the best (and the rest too) everywhere in the world.


The Elastico

Perfected by: Ronaldinho

Skill level: A

Speed, agility, control: the Elastico requires a lot of technical mastery to be done well. The basics is simply to take two quick touches of the ball, the first with the outside of the foot and the other one with the inside, or vice-versa. We see this skill move in game situations only from the best dribblers on the planet.


The Hocus Pocus

Perfected by: the Brazilians

Skill level: A 

Derived from the Cruyff turn and the Elastico, the Hocus Pocus consists in getting the ball behind the weaker foot before changing suddenly its direction, either by using the stronger foot’s follow through or the weaker foot. For a flawless victory, the Hocus Pocus finishes with a nutmeg (discussed below).


The bicycle kick

Perfected by: Pelé

Skill level: B

Whether a shot, a pass or a clearance, the bicycle kick is easy to execute, but much harder to master. While facing away from the target, the player needs to jump to send the ball behind him with the top of the foot. Prepare for landing!


The Sombrero

Perfected by: Neymar

Skill level: B

The ball is bouncing too much and a defender is charging you? Get out your sombrero: you just flick the ball over the head of the opponent. Easy, you think? Mistaken, you are. Kick the ball too low and it will be intercepted; kick the ball too high and the defender will have time to recover. Find that sweet spot.


The Rainbow flick

Perfected by: Neymar

Skill level: A 

The Rainbow flick is the Sombrero taken to the next level. With both feet on each side of the ball, roll it with your weaker foot on your stronger foot before flicking it in the air, over the head of the defender in front of you. This is a hard piece of skill to do alone in the park, so imagine in a game situation…


The Step-over

Perfected by: Cristiano Ronaldo

Skill level: B-

Pretty simple to execute but efficient, the Step-over aims to unbalance the opposing defender by faking a change of direction to go another way. Going forward, backward, with only one leg or both legs, any imaginable combo is useful to try and beat your rival.


The Rabona

Perfected by: Ricardo Infante

Skill level: A

This is for pros only. With the ball outside the weaker foot, the strong foot kicks the ball going behind the standing leg. Coordination, flexibility and strength must all be well balanced to successfully complete this skill without finishing on all fours. Once mastered, you can provide key passes or even score with the Rabona.


The Nutmeg

Perfected by: the best

Skill level: from C to A

Depending on your opponent, the Nutmeg can be as simple as child’s play or mission impossible. The concept is easy, the goal being to make the ball go through the defender’s legs. Now, is the opening as big as the eye of a needle or as NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building door?


The Runaround

Perfected by: Dennis Bergkamp

Skill level: from C to A`

Once again, the quality of the opponent eases or complicates the success of this skill move. To complete the runaround, the ball needs to go on one side of the defender while the dribbler runs on the other side. Are you up against Sonic or a Koopa Troopa?


The Backheel

Perfected by: Didier Drogba, Mesut Özil

Skill level: B-

To pass, deke or shoot, the backheel is always savoury. It allows to catch flatfooted a defender, to surprise and to add a breath of inspiration and confidence to the teammates of the player doing it, while giving goosebumps to supporters. Warning: use moderately and sparingly.