25 Greatest Soccer Goals of All Time 

There is no greater sight in soccer than a wonder goal that lifts fans to their feet, a moment of magic that sends commentators into fits of gleeful excitement and fans home happy. 

Some goals are talked about for decades after they have been scored, such is their emotional relevance to fans, and not just fans of the team that scored, a great goal can be enjoyed by everyone. 

You may not agree with some of the goals on our list, you may think one goal stands out over another, and that’s understandable. 

For every 40-yard thunderbolt into the top corner, there is a mazy dribble past 4 players followed by a tap-in, we’ve got goals for all tastes. 

From some of the greatest names in world soccer to players you probably never heard of, prepare for a trip down memory lane as we look back on the 25 greatest soccer goals of all time. 

25. Lionel Messi (Argentina vs Brazil, 2012)

  • Competition: International Friendly

Scoring a hat-trick for your country is special, scoring it against your arch-rivals is even sweeter, and nobody scores sweeter goals than Lionel Messi. 

His 84th-minute winner in this international friendly caps off a superb performance by the greatest player ever to play soccer, as he dances upfield with the ball glued to his feet before unleashing a thunderous shot into the top corner. 

If it’s genius you’re after then look no further than Messi, the GOAT with more incredible goals than any other player in history. 

24. Dennis Bergkamp (Netherlands vs Argentina, 1998)

A sumptuous goal from the legendary Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp at France 98, as he makes playing the game look just too easy. 

A 70-yard crossfield pass that Bergkamp collects on his toe while running at full pace, he then flicks the ball inside the oncoming defender before curling the ball into the net with the outside of his foot. 

At his peak, Bergkamp was simply untouchable, and this goal shows his skill, vision, and sheer brilliance as he leads his national team to a 2-1 victory.

23. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United vs Arsenal, 1999)

  • Competition: FA Cup (Semi-Final)

One of the greatest individual goals of all time, and one that set Manchester United up for their incredible treble-winning season. 

With the game tied in extra time at 1-1, and both teams looking exhausted, Giggs takes the ball from his own half, takes on and beats the famous Arsenal defense, and scores the winner with a magical display of pace and skill. 

Within the month, Manchester United had cemented the league, FA Cup, and Champions League, making this arguably one of Ryan Giggs’s most important goals. 

22. Roberto Carlos (Brazil vs France, 1997) 

  • Competition: Tournoi de France

The free-kick to end all free-kicks from one of the best left-backs in soccer, Roberto Carlos. The Real Madrid and Brazil player must have tried this shot a thousand times before he got it right, but wow, when it’s right, it’s right. 

Aiming at a point that looks about 10 yards to the right of where he needs to, Carlos hits the ball with such venom that it curls back in and beats France keeper Fabian Barthez without him even moving. 

21. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United vs Manchester City 2011)

  • Competition: Premier League

Beating your city rivals is massive for fans and players alike, scoring in a derby game, turning average players into club legends. 

Wayne Rooney’s fabulous overhead kick against arch-enemies Manchester City in 2011 has to go down as the greatest derby goal of all time, for its audacity, technical skill, and pure entertainment value. 

20. Michael Owen (England vs Argentina, 1998) 

While most 18-year-olds are thinking about college or their first job, Michael Owen was scoring this absolute beauty at 18, becoming the then youngest player ever to represent England at a World Cup. 

With pace to burn, Owen took on the Argentina defense to put England 2-1 up. England eventually went out of the tournament on penalties in this game, but the goal will live long in the memories of fans. 

19. Pele (Brazil vs Sweden, 1958) 

Often voted his best goal in a World Cup, Pele was a supremely gifted player, even at the age of 17. 

In his first World Cup, the world’s most loved player scored two and set up another in the game that brought him to the attention of fans everywhere.

Lifting the ball over his marker and striking the ball sweetly into the back of the net, Pele looked like a veteran striker as he left the goalkeeper with no chance. 

18. Marco van Basten (Holland vs USSR, 1988) 

  • Competition: UEFA European Championship

When a player as lethal as Marco van Basten is given half a chance, there is always the danger that he could punish a team for it. 

Given that this goal against the USSR in Euro 88 was a volley from the edge of the penalty area, and at such an acute angle that it took everyone by surprise, simply uttering the words “van Basten Volley” means soccer fans the world over know which goal you mean. 

17. George Weah (AC Milan vs Verona, 1996) 

A 40-yard goal is always special, a 50-yard goal is phenomenal, George Weah’s 100-yard goal is ridiculous. 

Collecting the ball at the edge of his own penalty box, the player sets off on a loping run forwards, seemingly aimless as he goes past player after player. 

By the time he slides the ball past the opposing goalkeeper and wheels away, he has passed every player on the Verona team, concluding one of the greatest goals Seria A has ever seen. 

16. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden vs England, 2012)

  • Competition: International Friendly

Overhead kicks can go either way, you either look like a genius or you end up in a heap on the floor. 

Not many players can pull it off, but one that can is Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And regardless of the fact that this goal was scored in an international friendly, the sheer audacity and talent make for one of the best goals you’ll see. 

15. Paolo Di Canio (West Ham United vs Wimbledon, 2000)

  • Competition: Premier League

Eccentric Italian Paolo Di Canio has scored some great goals over his career, but none quite as good as his scissor kick against Wimbledon. 

A crossfield ball that di Canio rises to meet with an exceptional piece of skill as he volleys past the helpless goalie. A reactionary goal that looks as difficult to execute today as it did 20 years ago. 

14. Diego Maradona (Argentina vs England, 1986) 

A game infamous for its “hand of god” goal by the mercurial Maradona was also home to one of the greatest International goals of all time.

After starting on the halfway line and skipping and barging his way past almost the entire England team, Maradona slots the ball past Peter Shilton and wheels away in ecstasy. A goal worthy of true soccer genius. 

Every player Maradona approaches should stop him, none do, and the Argentine eventually went on to lift the World Cup in Mexico. 

13. John Barnes (England vs Brazil, 1984)

  • Competition: International Friendly

Scoring against Brazil is often the pinnacle of a soccer players’ career, scoring a Brazilian goal against Brazil makes the goal even more noteworthy. 

A 1984 tour with England sets the scene after England failed to qualify for the European Championships, and a 20-year-old John Barnes takes center stage as he runs through the entire Brazil team before slotting home, one of the most surreal goals you’ll ever see. 

12. George Best (San Jose Earthquakes vs Ft Lauderdale Strikers, 1981)

  • Competition: North American Soccer League (NASL)

A blast from the past here, and a goal that often slips under the radar due to the lack of coverage in the old NASL. 

Former Manchester United star George Best, dubbed El Beatle, a 60s icon and arguably one of the greatest players of any generation steps up for San Jose, trailing 2-0 away from home to score a stunning solo goal. 

Dancing around the opponents’ penalty area, leaving bodies strewn in his wake as he takes on five players in the space of about 7 yards, a goal that was so good the commentator speculates that as well as being credited the goal, Best should also be given three assists too. 

11. Ronaldo (Barcelona vs Compostela, 1996) 

Brutish strength and sheer desire are on display here as Ronaldo, the original one that is, scores a goal that sends his manager, Sir Bobby Robson into a meltdown. 

Winning the ball halfway up the pitch, and with a player almost on his back from the start, the legendary Brazilian striker takes on a defense that is left stranded by his power and hunger to score. 

10. Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen, 2002) 

  • Competition: Champions League (Final)

The biggest stage demands the biggest players, and they don’t come much bigger than Zinedine Zidane. His Champions League-winning goal for Real Madrid in the 2002 final is superb.

With the game poised at 1-1, Zidane steps up with arguably the best goal in a final ever seen. Setting his body up to receive the dropping ball as he spins effortlessly to volley home an absolute beauty of a goal. A worthy winner of any game. 

9. Saeed Al Owairan (Saudi Arabia vs Belgium, 1994)

While it’s true that you can only beat the team that’s put in front of you, and the Belgian defense does go alarmingly absent here, Al Owairan’s brilliant goal in this World Cup game cannot be overlooked. 

A slalom past half the Belgian team and a coolly finished goal firmly puts Saeed Al Owairan onto our list, what a goal this is, as the Saudi player gallops upfield from nearly his own penalty area. 

8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy vs LAFC, 2018) 

One of the most prolific and talented strikers in history, Zlatan is as unpredictable as ever with this thunderous 45-yard strike on his debut for LA Galaxy. 

In fact, Zlatan scores two wonder goals in this game, and after trailing 3-0 to their city rivals, his introduction to the game had a massive impact as the Galaxy went on to win 4-3. What a goal, what a player. 

The American crowd may not have known what they were getting from the evergreen striker before the game, they certainly did afterward. 

7. David Beckham (England vs Greece, 2001)

  • Competition: World Cup Qualifier

When the chips are down, and you need someone to step up to the plate and just take the game by the scruff of its neck, you could do a lot worse than David Beckham at the helm. 

A career in elite soccer, and a private life that hasn’t been private since he joined Manchester United, Beckham always performed under pressure. 

And in this vital World Cup qualifier against Greece in 2001, England trailed 2-1 in the 92nd minute of the game, moments away from a very dangerous playoff game against Ukraine, and a free-kick is awarded 30 yards out from goal. 

Up steps the global superstar Beckham, and a magnificent curling free-kick later, the stadium erupts. England qualifies for the World Cup, and Beckham’s status as an England hero is secured. 

6. Eric Cantona (Manchester United vs Sunderland, 1996)

  • Competition: Premier League

Pure artistry from the enigmatic Frenchman Eric Cantona here, after dribbling past two Sunderland players and exchanging a one-two with a fellow player, a sublime chip into the net sends the crowd wild.

The goal that is as famous for Cantona standing, collar stuck up in the air, arms spread in challenge as it was for the skill of the goal, it’s the sheer arrogance of Cantona that makes this goal great. 

5. Robin Van Persie (Holland vs Spain, 2014) 

Mohammad Ali may have floated like a butterfly, and stung like a bee, but Robin Van Persie leaps like a salmon and scores like a Dutchman. 

This amazing diving header against Spain in the 2014 World Cup brought the game back to 1-1, and the Dutch team went on to win 5-1. 

An early floated cross seemed out of reach until Van Persie leaped into the air, and at full stretch looped the ball over the Spanish keeper. The Netherlands went on to finish a creditable 3rd in the tournament, helped in no small way by this pivotal goal. 

4. Lionel Messi (Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao, 2015)

  • Competition: Copa Del Rey (Final)

Lionel Messi, a player so good you could make a list of the 100 greatest goals of all time and have all of them Lionel Messi goals. 

Brilliant commentary during the game stated that Messi would need at least two players marking him at all times. Bilbao put three markers on him, and he still goes on to score a goal of pure genius. 

Once the ball is at Messi’s feet, he dances through his three markers before haring towards goal for a superb finish into the bottom corner. A goal that only looks better the 10th time you watch it. 

A goal out of the very top drawer, by one of soccer’s true heroes. 

3. Wayne Rooney (DC United vs Orlando City, 2019) 

Gone are the days when aging stars head to American soil to see out their playing days, the competitiveness of the league simply doesn’t allow passengers. 

Wayne Rooney’s lob of the Orlando City goalkeeper from the halfway line is a testament to the English veterans’ sheer talent and desire, as he lifts his head and scents an opportunity to show just how good a player he really is. 

A great goal by a great player, and one that MLS fans will love seeing again and again. 

2. Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal vs Newcastle, 2002)

  • Competition: Premier League

Out. Rageous. With many goals you can always find another to compare it to, after all, there’s only so many ways to score a goal, right? 

Perhaps not, as this goal sends eyebrows to the roof regardless of how many times you watch it. Flicking the ball to his right and around his marker, Bergkamp then spins the other way to collect his own pass before scoring. 

A magical goal by the Dutch master, and one that you’ll be hard-pressed to find repeated anywhere else. Mercurial stuff. 

1. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City vs QPR, 2012)

  • Competition: Premier League (Title-Winning Goal)

One of the most replayed goals Youtube has ever seen, the goal that broke Manchester United’s hearts, and the goal that turned Manchester City into the global juggernaut they are today. 

The last kick, in the last game of the season, to turn defeat into victory, Agueros’ last-gasp goal brought City their first league title since 1968. The now iconic commentary by Martin Tyler is now part of soccer folklore. AGUERROOOOOO!!!