A piece of skill demanding mastery, agility, precision and coordination, the volley consists in hitting the ball before it touches the ground, while a half-volley means hitting the ball after it bounces off the grass. Hit with power, with spin or with dip, it is the goalkeepers’ nightmare and the supporters’ treat. Impact Media presents our picks from the fiercest volleys in football.
Marco van Basten v. USSR
Euro 1988, final
This is the pick of the bunch for many fans. In the Euro 1988 final against the Soviets, the scoreboard reads 1-0 for the Oranje. Arnold Mühren crosses to the far post for the tournament’s top goalscorer; van Basten sets his eyes on the ball and sends his dipping volley over the keeper Dasayev and into the top corner. Uitstekend!
Zinédine Zidane v. Bayer Leverkusen
UEFA Champions League 2002, final
Zizou, the technician from another planet, has made his reputation on big games. In the Champions League final, Roberto Carlos sends a high ball towards the top of the German box, where Zidane is well positioned. The Frenchman adjusts his feet and hits the ball at hip height, adding a little bit of left-to-right spin. Sublime.
Lionel Messi v. Athletic Bilbao
La Liga 2016
It does not need to be a shot to be impressive. Look at this magnificent pass by Messi to create a 3v2 on the left wing.
Didier Drogba v. Everton
English Premier League 2006
The King saves the day by putting Chelsea in front with a couple of minutes to spare. But beyond the power in the shot, the trajectory of the half-volley bends our mind.
Marcel Ndjeng v. Bolton Wanderers
Preseason friendly 2015
A goal from the centre circle is pretty rare. But coming from a straight volley, it’s… genius or lucky?
Franck Ribéry v. Borussia Mönchengladbach
The last Bundesliga game of Jupp Heynckes, who during that season completed the league-cup-Champions league treble, is a memorable one, with five goals coming in the first 20 minutes, including this powerful Franck Ribéry volley. Munich would win that game 4-3.
Aaron Ramsey v. Galatasaray
UEFA Champions League 2014
We have a penchant for this left-footed half-volley from 30 yards out by Welshman Aaron Ramsey. Wojciech Szczesny’s reaction says it all.
Wayne Rooney v. Newcastle United
English Premier League 2005
There was a time – long gone now – where Wayne Rooney and Newcastle were not England’s laughing stock.
Paolo Di Canio v. Wimbledon
English Premier League 2000
Even though it can be confusing, this volley was really done on a soccer field and not in the den of Borg, Navratilova, Sampras, Graf and Federer. In full flight, Di Canio resorts to his karate skills to hit this ball inside the second post with power.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic v. England
International friendly, 2012
Who else? A volleyed bicycle kick from 30 yards out, there’s only Zlatan to try – and succeed.
These last two volleys by ex-Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie were added begrudgingly by your humble Impact Media representative. For context, read this break-up letter he wrote us in 2012.
Robin van Persie v. Charlton Athletic
English Premier League 2006
Power, athleticism and a bit of luck: this RvP finish comes thanks to his shin.
Robin van Persie v. Aston Villa
English Premier League 2013
During his only potent season at Old Trafford – helping United win its 20th English title, a record – when he scored 30 goals, this game against Villa could mean the Red Devils have clinched the top spot in the Premier League. After having opened the score in the second minute, van Persie does it again in the 13th with a highlight-reel volley.