A look at the best chipped goals through time
As a football admirer and former striker, there’s almost nothing more satisfying to me than a good chip. And I’m not talking about the ones you eat.
What you just saw was one of Lionel Messi’s best chipped goals, a player who’s feared for his ability to dink the ball over the ‘keeper, as he’s proven to many netminders over his illustrious career. As you can hear, Messi’s goal sends commentator Ray Hudson into a delirious rant: “Arsène Wenger was wrong to call him a Playstation player, this is the art of football.”
Truth is, Ray has a point. For all the FIFA enthusiasts out there, despite how realistic the game play has become, chipping the ball over the ‘keeper doesn’t have the same feel. And that’s because there’s something special about a goalkeeper thinking he has you beat, with all of his angles perfectly covered, only to see the ball soar over him ever so slowly and into the back of the net he was protecting so well.
Chipping the goalkeeper encompasses the very core of football: the audacity, the surprise, the eloquence, the sheer nerve of attempting something so humiliating only to watch it succeed.
As I dug through the back pages of the internet looking for the first registered chipped goal in the history of football, my luck ran out. But that’s when I realized that lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper to score a goal has probably been a part of the game since its very beginnings, when a few bored friends in a park made a net with a few sticks and started kicking the ball around.
There have been hundreds, maybe thousands, of goals scored by chipping the goalkeeper. If one thing is certain, it’s that chips come in all different shapes and sizes, but we’ve narrowed it down to the 10 we find most impressive, with a few Impact nominees in the mix:
Alejandro Silva – Montreal Impact – 2018
Alejandro Silva put an end to any possibility of a Philadelphia comeback when he stormed up the field with Nacho Piatti at his side. The Uruguayan waited until the last second to pass the ball to Piatti, but the Argentine immediately repaid the favour by shuffling it back to Silva, who cheekily chipped it over the goalkeeper, making it 4-1.
Quincy Amarikwa – San Jose Earthquakes – 2016
Who remembers striker Quincy Amarikwa, who had a short stint in Montreal, wowing us as much on the field as he did through his strikingly deep conversations? The MLS veteran was a member of the San Jose Earthquakes back in 2016, and he scored one of the best chips in MLS history against the Portland Timbers that year.
Eric Cantona – Manchester United – 1996
Eric Cantona was famous back in the day for his ability on the ball and his heated temper, although more recently you may recognize him from the Joga Bonito videos produced a few years back. The Frenchman ended his career with five long seasons at Manchester United, where he found the back of the net 64 times, yet none of those goals are as famous as this time-stopping chip against Sunderland.
Lionel Messi – Barcelona – 2015
The master of the chip, Lionel Messi, has humiliated countless goalkeepers through a career that’s nowhere near its end. Although some may be prettier to the eye than this one against Bayern Munich in 2015, none have become more infamous in the little magician’s career.
There’s also the fact that he let one of the best defenders of that time, Jerome Boateng, lying on the ground as if he’d been hit by a truck, before dinking past a goalkeeper also considered the best in his category.
Obafemi Martins – Seattle Sounders – 2014
We head back to MLS for this one, where Martins combined a chipped goal with something else we love to see: an impossible angle. As Martins sprinted into the box from the right side with a defender firmly behind him, the Nigerian swung his left foot upward, and the ball soared over the goalkeeper, off the post on the opposite end, and into the back of the net. Remarkable.
Maximiliano Urruti – Montreal Impact – 2020
Look alive, Impact supporters. How can we forget Maxi Urruti’s stunning game-winning goal in our first MLS game of the season against the New England Revolution? The Argentine, from way out, spotted the goalkeeper off his line and his attempt was spot on, bouncing once and ensuring an Impact win.
Frank Lampard – Chelsea – 2006
Another tight angle chip, this time brought to you by Frank Lampard against Barcelona in 2006. Lampard was mostly known for scoring from long range, but that didn’t mean the Englishman couldn’t pull off something like this.
Giovani Dos Santos – Mexico – 2011
One of the more memorable chipped goals in recent times comes from international play, in the Gold Cup back in 2011. While the Mexicans took on their American rivals in the final and led 3-2, Giovani Dos Santos came up with a moment of sheer brilliance.
After he was sent in behind the defense, Dos Santos waited, dribbled, waited, and dribbled some more, creating just enough space to attempt a chip from the top of the box that would beat Tim Howard and a defender at the second post as well.
Lionel Messi – Argentina – 2007
Mexico was on the receiving end in another continental competition, the Copa America, back in 2007, with Lionel Messi being the one wreaking havoc this time. Cunning as always, the Argentine surprises everyone here by stopping in his tracks and chipping the goalkeeper from way out, making it 2-0 Argentina.
Diego Maradona – Napoli – 1985
We finish with a goal from another Argentine wonder, Diego Maradona, who decided to chip the goalkeeper from 30 yards out almost 35 years ago, when Lazio was taking on Napoli in Serie A.