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Top Football Skills

Updated on July 26, 2012
Gordon Banks Great Save Against Brazil
Gordon Banks Great Save Against Brazil

There are many skills needed in a football team. Every player should at least be able to master basic skills such as having good ball control, ability to pass accurately and head a ball, but the more that a player can do the better. If a team has a few players who can contribute some other skills then they’ve got a great chance of success.

Some players will excel at particular types of play and these are some of the finest examples available.


A skilful turn first attempted by Johan Cruyff and it is still called ‘The Cruyff’ turn nowadays, when not a week goes by when many footballers will attempt this skill. The skill of looking as if you are going to pass the ball forward before playing it between your legs in the opposite way you were facing was first seen by a large audience in this game for Holland v Sweden in the World Cup of 1974.


Long regarded as one of the best all time footballers and his dribbling skill and pace at running with the ball was superb. He shows it here as he goes on to score against England in the 1986 World Cup, a tournament Argentina won and many acknowledge that it was one of the few occasions when one man carried a nation to victory almost single handedly with his brilliant displays


In a Hungary team regarded as the best in the World at this point in 1953, Puskas was their main player. Hungary beat England 6-3 and the drag back by Puskas to score was the most talked about moment. It was something new at the time, and certainly no English defenders expected anything but a straightforward shot at goal.


This is a breathtaking save by Banks in a World Cup game between England and Brazil. It has long been regarded as one of the best saves ever seen as he not just stops but puts away for a corner a crashing header from Pele. In fact all the action in this clip is among the best ever seen. The pass from defender Carlos Alberto looks as if it is going inside England defender Cooper but then swerves out to his team mate Jairzinho who sprints to the line and puts over a brilliant cross for Pele who jumps and puts in a great downward textbook header which is powerfully heading towards goal before Banks wonder save. So that was 4 great players all doing different skills in the game which has probably been the best ever quality 8 seconds ever seen on a football pitch.


Amazingly from the same England- Brazil game is this example of a fantastic,well-timed tackle. It is Brazil winger Jairzinho in action again,close to goal but Moore waits for the perfect moment before making his challenge. He wins the ball fairly. He didn’t have to be overly aggressive and run the risk of giving away a free kick or penalty but put in his tackle when he was sure and he not only won the ball but came away with it to start an England attack.

This clip shows a few Moore challenges but it is the one after 15 seconds that is particularly well remembered and acknowledged.


Another example from a Brazil game in the 1970 World Cup. Spain have had a lot of plaudits for their passing football recently but this still stands as a fantastic goal over 40 years later. It is the final minutes of the World Cup final v Italy and Brazil pass their way up the pitch before Peles pass into space for Carlos Alberto to run onto and score a brilliant goal. Brazil seemed to be able to score a lot of different types of goals at this point in time and this passing goal is still regarded as one of the best ever.


This is a classic example of a 1-2,or a wall pass as it's sometimes known. A player passes the ball on to a team-mate and continues his run and the other player plays it back to him first time as if it has been hit off a wall. This can happen all over the park but can be particularly effective in attacking positions,trying to break down a good defence. In this occasion it is a World Cup group match in 1978 between Italy and Argentina and Roberto Bettega is the player who passes in to team mate Paolo Rossi before getting the ball back to go on and score the only goal of the game.


This is the 2nd goal for Holland as they beat Russia 2-0 in the European Championship final of 1988. As the ball was floated over there looked to be no immediate danger. Would Van Basten Take the ball down and shoot or try to cross it in for a team-mate? No he decided to hit one of the most perfect volleys ever seen and it was in the back of the net. It certainly wasn’t a fluke as through his career he scored many spectacular goals.


Another player who was well known for his shooting and volleying. A lot of his goals were scored from really tight angles or difficult manoeuvres and this one was one his best and most acrobatic as he controlled his shot and scoring a great goal in this World Cup qualifier for Wales v Spain in 1985.


If Hughes was known for acrobatic volleys then Fischer was the same for his goals from overhead kicks down the years as a goalscoring machine for Schalke 04 and West Germany.

This is just one example from a friendly between West Germany and Switzerland in 1977.

WINGPLAY – John Robertson

As well as the clip of Jairzinho on the wing here is another clip of great play by a winger at the top of his game. It is the European Cup final of 1979 between Nottingham Forest and Malmo. Robertson seems penned in with no real space but a sudden burst of pace just when he needed it and a brilliant cross to find Trevor Francis who heads in the only goal of the game. It is Francis who would get the praise for his goal but the work done here by Robertson made it all possible.

If you have any other players that you link to any particular skill or who maybe originated it please leave a comment below.


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    • James Vernon profile imageAUTHOR

      James Vernon 

      5 years ago from UK

      Thanks Matthew. Yes although they are great players i don't really think of them as having a particular skill that they're known for unlike some of the others.

    • profile image

      Matthew Freeman 

      5 years ago

      Awesome but no Messi or Ronaldo or Ronaldinho?

    • James Vernon profile imageAUTHOR

      James Vernon 

      6 years ago from UK

      Thanks for the comment mmsu.

    • mmsu profile image


      6 years ago from Pakistan

      nice sum up!I my self being a attacking midfield player liked to read the skills you have mentioned above.Although the the step overs and the drag back are the ones i have mastered!Voted up and shared via hub pages!

    • CCahill profile image


      6 years ago from England

      I was a big fan of George Best for dribbling but thats probably because hes a Man Utd hero :)

      but Pele did say himself that he thinks George Best was the best player of his generation.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Garrincha the best dribbler ever:)

    • James Vernon profile imageAUTHOR

      James Vernon 

      6 years ago from UK

      Thanks a lot internpete.

    • James Vernon profile imageAUTHOR

      James Vernon 

      6 years ago from UK

      Thanks CCahill. Yes i thought it would be quite interesting putting a few clips together when certain things just go almost perfectly in football.

    • internpete profile image

      Peter V 

      6 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

      A great walk through some of the best players and skills in soccer history. I always like watching good volley goals. Voted up and shared!

    • CCahill profile image


      6 years ago from England

      Some great Archive Footage, i mean everyones seen the likes of the Moore tackles that won the admiration of Pele and the Banks save but Puskas's Dragback is new to me, really well taken goal for them days.

      Top hub


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