In our new feature focusing on the best skills in the beautiful game, Danny Owen takes a detailed look at the Overhead Kick – made most famous by Hugo Sanchez.
A looping cross has a strange effect on the human psyche. For a few fleeting seconds, as the tattered, thorn-filled football spins slowly in our direction, we disregard our general wellbeing and lose all track of reality. We are blinded by the bright lights of Wembley. The expectant crowd pierced by the coach’s desperate plea for a saviour from the stands. Yes, we’ve brought our shinpads. This is our moment.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, we lie in a crumpled heap, hamstring strains, quad tears and bruised spines – nothing compared to an ego wounded beyond repair. After all, a perfectly executed overhead kick requires a little more than a rush of blood and a desperate hope that the footballing ship has not yet sailed.
Namely, “instinct, a lot of courage, and a bad cross” according to expert scientist Hermann Schwameder. So, just to clear this up, does Nani get the credit for officially the greatest goal in Premier League history?
As you might have guessed, the overhead kick is not of British origin. For we would never sully our noble game with such ungentlemanly conduct as, you know, skill and imagination. Once again, the South Americans stepped forward to save us from the ignominy of endless ‘kick and rush’. Though apparently invented by Chilean Ramon Unzaga in 1914, every ‘la chilena’ is an ode to Mexico and Real Madrid legend Hugo Sanchez. As former Los Blancos boss Leo Beenhakker famously quipped: “When a player scores a goal like that, play should be suspended and a glass of champagne offered to the 80,000 fans that witnessed it.” We’ll drink to that, ‘Hugol’.
‘That Zlatan is a bit overrated isn’t he?’ – Everyone on the morning of November 14th 2012. A few hours later…
It wouldn’t be a Golazo-special montage without a player you’ve never heard of scoring the greatest goal you’ve ever seen for a team you vaguely recognise from your Football Manager heyday. Step forward (*frantic Googling) Javi Gomez of (*copy and paste) Unión Deportiva Socuéllamos Club de Fútbol in the (*double check) Spanish third tier.
Now, there’s few funnier sights than an overhead kick gone wrong. In fact, it’s probably on par with Sepp Blatter tumbling dramatically from deceptively lofty stages or a forlorn, post-sitter Fernando Torres. The ‘defender’ in question here remains unknown. Probably for the best.
Be honest, you’ve spent the last three hours locked in an epic daydream involving a last-minute overhead kick and a vividly real FA Cup trophy. You’d even practiced your celebration. But, hey, if ever your team’s centre forward hobbles off, all substitutes used, and the coach glances desperately in your direction, use these tips to channel your inner Zlatan and execute the game’s greatest trick©.
By Danny Owen, @danny8195 on Twitter.