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Seven Great Goal Celebrations

Updated on December 9, 2015

Its time to Celebrate

Two things inspired me to write this hub. Recently I watched an American football college game when a player scored a touchdown and interacted with the crowd in celebration, something which is prohibited in the college game. Where has the fun gone I thought if a player cannot enjoy his moment with the fans. Later that week I tuned in to listen to the weekly podcast of World Soccer by brilliant BBC Radio 5 broadcaster Dotun Adebayo and he and his guests were talking about bizarre goal celebrations in the world of soccer, a couple of which I have used here. Credit should also go to journalist Tim Vickery who was on the show. Forget the annoying 'heart celebration, the boring out stretched arm or the Paddington Bear hard stare (think Ronaldo for this). This is about the bizarre and funny. Dotun's feature made me laugh and I hope mine does the same for you.

A traditional goal celebration


Carlos Tevez - Boca Juniors v. River Plate

In 2004, great Argentinian rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors faced each other in the Copa Libertadores semi final. Carlos Tevez scored in the 85th minute and promptly did an impression of a chicken, a dig at River Plate having been given the nickname of the Gallinas (chickens) by opposition fans due to their ability to choke at the last minute. Tevez was promptly given the red card for this celebration and River had the last laugh winning the match on penalties. What I find most amusing about the clip below is the impression of a chicken performed by the referee as he explains to Tevez why he has been dismissed.

'The Chicken'

Jimmy Bullard - Hull City v Man City

In November 2009, Hull City were awarded a penalty in their Premier League match against Manchester City. Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard promptly stepped up to dispatch the spot kick. What followed next has gone down in Premier League folklore. Bullard's team mates sat down and he proceeded to appear to give them a dressing down. The dressing down was in reference to the team talk Hull manager Phil Brown had conducted in the centre circle in the previous season. Brown was ridiculed for it and this was the Hull teams attempt to poke fun at the episode. Surprisingly Brown took it well and the celebration remains one of the best.

Team talk celebration

Gordon Stachan – Man Utd v. Liverpool

Despite their success in the 80’s, Man United had a good record against Liverpool. In this particular game from 1988, United were trailing 3-2 at Anfield and were down to 10 men. Scottish international Gordon Strachan was put through one on one with the keeper and promptly equalized for United in front of the Kopp. Strachan then proceeded to celebrate his goal by smoking an imaginary cigar in front of the furious home fans. There is no love lost between either sets of fans so this one though funny, was not well received.

Strachan has a cheeky cigar

Eric Cantona – Man Utd v. Liverpool

Another match from the two great rivals and this one was Eric’s first match after his 9 month ban for jumping kung fu style into the crowd to attack a Crystal Palace fan who had verbally abused him after he was sent off. Played at Old Trafford, United were trailing 2-1 and were awarded a penalty which Cantona elected to take despite his long absence. The ball was dispatched into the net and Cantona ran to the United fans and imitated his kung fu kick before twirling round the post behind the goal much to the delight of the home crowd. The King was back!

Cantona Kung fu celebration

Finidi George – Nigeria v. Greece

Taken from the 1994 World Cup finals, this was the first goal in Nigeria's 2-0 victory over Greece in their final match of group D. Right at the end of the first half, George, then of Ajax, scored with a sublime chip over the keeper. He then ran to the corner flag to celebrate, dropped on all fours and proceeded to mimic a dog urinating. Quite what George was intending with the celebration is unclear other then simply disrespecting the Greek's or perhaps paying tribute to his own dog. Nigeria went on to win the group but fell at the first knock out stage to Italy. George retired from international football in 2002 having made 62 appearances for Nigeria scoring 6 goals.

The dog celebration

Nicki Bille Nielsen – Esbjerg v Hobro

Esbjerg striker Nielsen has never been far from controversy and once was almost sent to jail for biting a police officer. The Danish striker elected to take a 94th minute penalty his side had been awarded in the match which was a chance to equalize. Nielsen dispatched the penalty and then ran to celebrate with his sides fans grabbing and drank one of their beers. It is unclear whether Nielsen later found the fan and bought him another.

Make mine a pint!

Stjarnan FC Celebrations

You cannot write a piece on football celebrations without referencing Icelandic side Stjarnan FC. They have come up with some greats in the past many of which can be viewed on YouTube. This one from 2010 shows the players setting up a scene of someone using the toilet. It is brilliantly worked and probably one of their best.

The human toilet


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