The Hard Tackle lists five of the most breathtaking goals from 2016, featuring the likes of Mesut Ozil, Saul Niguez, Dele Alli and others.
Another year passed and we got to witness some brilliant football action all through the twelve months. Quite naturally, there were some truly amazing goals that took our breath away.
The Hard Tackle took up the unenviable job of picking five of the very best goals of 2016 from the tens and hundreds that were scored in the year. And, after much deliberation, here are the five that make our list.
5. Saul Niguez for Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich (27th April, 2016)
2016 was the breakthrough year for young Spanish midfielder Saul Niguez, as he established himself in the Atletico Madrid lineup and became a key figure for the team in the runup to the UEFA Champions League final.
Just before they reached the grand finale against fierce rivals Real Madrid, they faced the formidable Bayern Munich in the semi-finals. And eleven minutes into the tie, it was Saul Niguez who came up with a sensational solo effort to give his side the lead.
Niguez picked the ball up near the half line, and that’s when the magic unfolded as he dribbled first past Thiago Alcantara and then Juan Bernat, before leaving a sliding Xabi Alonso in his wake. As he entered the box, he hit a beautifully bent shot around David Alaba and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to complete a moment of true magic.
Surely enough, that goal from Niguez helped Atletico Madrid put one foot into the finals and set up a date against their city rivals. Truly a goal to remember for the ages, which is why there’s no wonder that this special from Niguez made the final 10 list of goals nominated to win the Puskas award.
4. Marlone for Corinthians vs Cobresal (21st April, 2016)
Another goal that made the top 10 of the goals nominated for the Puskas award, and this was one that went one step ahead to be among the final three nominees for the coveted award.
The goal? An acrobatic wonder scored by attacking midfielder Marlone of Corinthians in a Copa Libertadores tie against Cobresal in April, as the Brazilian side thrashed their opponents from Chile 6-0 in the cup game.
Marlone entered the Cobresal box as he received an aerial ball from the right flank, chested it deftly before unleashing a mind-blowing scissors kick around 18 yards away from goal to score past the despairing goalkeeper and make it 3-0.
What made it all the more special was that Marlone managed to execute the skill and score the goal despite two Cobresal defenders rushing towards him. Whether or not Marlone wins the Puskas for this effort will be known soon as the results will be announced on January 9.
3. Dele Alli for Tottenham Hotspur vs Crystal Palace (23rd January, 2016)
Dele Alli made the step up from League One to the Premier League last season, and how! In his very first season in the top flight, the young Englishman established himself in the Tottenham Hotspur side as a regular, made his England debut and gave us many moments to talk about.
One such moment came early on last year against Crystal Palace, as he struck a wonder goal from 20 yards out to help his side to a come-from-behind 3-1 win over the Eagles at Selhurst Park.
It all started with a cross field ball from the right flank by Harry Kane towards Christian Eriksen, who nodded it to Dele Alli, and that is when the wondrous goal was unleashed.
Taking the ball from Eriksen’s header, Alli controlled it smartly with his back to the goal, flicked the ball over Mile Jedinak and his head before connecting the volley sweetly to slot the ball into the back of the net. A truly stunning strike and one of the highlights of Alli’s young career.
2. Mesut Ozil for Arsenal vs Ludogorets (1st November, 2016)
Arsenal’s influential playmaker Mesut Ozil has put his goalscoring boots at the start of the 2016/17 season, and the Germany international has scored some wonderful goals thus far. None more so than the one he scored against Lugogorets Razgard in the UEFA Champions League.
In what was a frantic encounter against the Bulgarian outfit, Arsenal came from behind to beat Ludogorets 3-2, and it was Ozil’s mesmerising individual goal that sealed the tie for the Gunners.
It was the 87th minute of the match and the score is 2-2. Mohamed Elneny picks out Ozil, with the German 30 yards away from the Ludogorets goal, completely unmarked. Ozil is sent on his way, with just goalkeeper Milan Borjan between him and the goal.
Ozil spots the onrushing keeper and just as Borjan exits his box, he dinks the ball over the custodian’s head, collects the ball, rounds off two despairing defenders before calmly slotting the ball into the empty net to complete the wondrous effort. One special goal, and an early contender for the goal of the season.
1. Mohd Faiz Subri for Penang vs Pahang (16th February, 2016)
Another goal that made it to the final three nominee list for the Puskas award, and it was one outrageous free kick. Mohd Faiz Subri stepped up to take a free kick with the ball placed more than 35 yards away from the goal.
Incredibly, Subri chose to go for it and hit the ball goalwards. Soon after Subri unleashed his thumping strike, it looked like it was going towards the left top corner when suddenly the ball swerved in the opposite direction, left the Pahang goalkeeper dumbfounded and went into the right top corner instead.
A truly unbelievable goal, this!