You can subscribe to the Totally Football Show here…
In any run-down of the greatest goals scored in a Champions League final, Zinedine Zidane’s in the 2002 edition, in which his Real Madrid side beat Bayer Leverkusen, usually ranks near the top.
The swivel, the volley, perfectly connected and arrowed into the top corner.
But, this being the internet, where people have opinions, it’s not universally accepted as a great strike, it seems.
Listener Otm Shank asked: Is ‘that Zidane goal really that good? Or is it glorified because of the person who scored it?
Is ‘that’ Zidane goal really that good? Or is it glorified because of the person who scored it?
— Otm Shank (@want2fut) May 20, 2020
Rafa Honigstein was there, and he’s very much in the ‘it really was that good’ camp.
“Only when you saw the replays did you realise what a majestic moment of beauty you were privileged to watch,” he said on the Totally Football Show this week. “It happened so quickly, and the angle and the move was so unpromising, you just don’t expect that goal to be scored. Only later do you really realise what happened.
“I commentated for UEFA and I remember really struggling to find the words to sum up the ability and the sheer technical skill and brilliance from Zidane. Three or four minutes after that goal, you felt you had witnessed something historic. The goal was just so sublime.
“It’s perfection, the way he swivels his whole body. The ball is behind him, so he has to stretch the leg first and then he makes almost a 360 turn as he hits it.”
Alvaro Romeo added: “And don’t forget, Zidane was right-footed, and he scored with his left. If you ask any footballer about that volley, they would applaud the difficulty of the execution, even more than usual.
“How do you ‘hunt’ that ball coming down from the sky? Doing that is almost impossible, even for any professional player.”
However, Duncan Alexander played the (mild) contrarian.
“I think [him hitting it with his left foot] takes away from the goal a little bit, because his technique isn’t quite as smooth as he would’ve been on his right. It is a great goal, but he does look slightly awkward as he swings. I’ve never been a complete advocate of that goal.
“Imagine if he’d got his other leg off the ground – it would’ve looked better.”
That was Zidane’s first season at Real, and it seems that he suffered a few of the same problems as Nicolas Anelka a few years earlier, coming into a dressing room that wasn’t exactly friendly.
“Zidane went to Florentino Perez’s office,” said Alvaro, “in late September that season, to complain that Luis Figo wasn’t passing the ball to him. There was a bit of an ego contest between the players.
“Fortunately for Real Madrid they had Vicente del Bosque, who was probably the biggest pacifier you will find in Spanish football.”
You can listen to the latest edition of the Totally Football Show here, and even better you can subscribe here. If you wish to reproduce any of the material in this article or from the podcast you are very welcome to, but please credit The Totally Football Show and include this link.