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There Will Be Goals – What Makes A Goal Celebration Great?

A fan favorite, the previously planned.

A fan favorite, the previously planned.

If you’ve been a supporter of the Premier League for just a few months, or, since it’s inception in 1992, you’re sure to have one thing in common:  you’ve definitely seen some incredible goals. There’s been hundreds over the past 18 years and ultimately too many great ones to count. So, to cap off that 20-yard free kick, near post header, or tap in from three yards out is the closely watched, often scrutinized but sometimes indecipherable, goal celebration. Good goals and truly memorable goals will always be distinguished by one unique variable, the way a player “preforms” after the goal.

Before we figure out what makes one brilliant, we first must look at what makes one terrible. Football supporters will all have a different opinion on what’s entertaining and what’s not, so I’ll share with you a few (in my opinion) dreadful goal celebrations.

  • The Tevez Pacifier/Dummy – One of my favorite footballers and favorite athletes for that matter, the now Manchester City forward was seen celebrating goals for Manchester United by placing a baby’s pacifier in his mouth and calmly celebrating his goal. Ultimately quite sweet by the Argentine who was only showing love to his daughter, but an unsettling picture and not the passion and explosion that football fans like to see after a goal is scored. (also makes you wonder where he’s hidden that thing)

tevez pacifier

  • The Peter Crouch Robot – It’s been a few years since the lanky England striker pulled this one out and thank God for it. Crouch, all 6’7 of him, on numerous occasions would break out into the robot dance after scoring for the three lions. If you’ve seen it, well, you’ve probably had a good laugh, but don’t need to witness it again anytime soon. In non football related dancing incidents, only Ricky Gervais’ David Brent impromptu charity funk-out is as cringe-worthy.
  • The terribly stupid, jumping into the crowd celebration– As much as football fans love to see passion from their clubs players, jumping into the crowd and creating a bone-crushing surge will only be remembered for the automatic yellow card the player is sure to receive. Arjen Robben was sent off for Chelsea in 2006 for jumping into the crowd during a celebration, similarly booked were fellow Chelsea players, Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack for the same offense. The aforementioned Carlos Tevez also famously jumped into (and removed his shirt, by definition, both bookable offenses) a rabid Upton Park crowd after scoring for West Ham against Tottenham.

So now that we’ve seen some forgettable celebrations, what gets the football fans blood flowing?  In my opinion, it’s a subtle blend of creativity, poise and passion that always makes for a classic goal celebration.

  • The Acrobat – Attempted by many, perfected by only a few and discouraged by managers the world over, the back-flip, somersault or combination of whatever can be conjured usually produces quality entertainment (even if you’re an opposing fan hoping the player gets it all wrong).


  • Boxing the Corner Flag– You can’t take out all that aggression on your opponents, might as well blow off some steam on a plastic field marker with a frilly piece of cloth attached to it. Boxing the corner flag usually results in the players team mates joining in on the ritual. Recently perfected by Tim Cahill, this celebration, to my knowledge bears no chance of a card and is loved by supporters.
  • The Previously Planned– Creativity and thought just like the songs supporters sing at matches always deliver first class entertainment. Most recently, the Hull City players emulating their Gaffer Phil Brown away to Manchester City in a “sit down talk” that Premier League fans immediately recognized from the previous years trip to Eastlands. Craig Bellamy’s “golf swing” with Liverpool away to Barcelona in the Champions League remains a classic.

There’s so many more memorable goal celebrations worth mentioning: the odd but effective, “arms crossed in an X”, “the lifted t-shirt message celebration”, “the dancing line”, and even the most classic of them all, the “jump in the air fist pump”. So which ones have I missed? What makes a goal celebration great to you? What would you love to never see again that’s been done too many times? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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  1. Danielle

    July 4, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Just reading through these from earlier in the year and it made me wonder – does anyone know why Malouda or Kalou do the thing where they put their hand in front of their mouth when they score?

  2. allyrosa

    January 19, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Got to say that I’ve always liked Kamara’s “that was crazy” hand gesture.
    and Torres’ “Roman God” pose is quite fun to watch. Unfortunately he only seems to do that one with spain.

  3. mahesh

    January 12, 2010 at 11:25 am

    c.ronaldo’s celebrations were good as was nasri’s .. there are many many good celebrations.. just adds up to the uniqueness of the premier league..

  4. Bas

    January 12, 2010 at 12:39 am

    There was one that was absolutely absurd, I believe it was in a South American league…can’t remember exactly. 3 team mates all sat on the pitch and began doing this row boat thing and even scooted across in the same direction. Hilarious.

  5. 50

    January 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    As as mentioned-snorting the touch line was pretty oustanding.
    Arshavins funny facial gestures are always good.

  6. bison

    January 11, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    what about the college player who scored a penalty kick and mocked the goalkeeper who did cartwheels to try to psyche out the penalty taker? after he converted the penalty, he does a few cartwheels in front of the keeper… hilarious.

  7. robert

    January 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    my fav is always when the striker looks straight to his setup man and gives him the props he’s due.

    … and dempsey’s “crack a beer on the cleats” is pretty original. can’t say i like it much, but it’s original.

    i’m pretty partial to a philosophy Barry Sanders and Jim Brown shared about getting into the end zone: “Don’t be a fool. Act like you been there before.”

  8. kevin_amold

    January 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Shushing the crowd is outstanding.

    I also liked Benny Feilhaber’s blowing kisses to the crowd after his volley against Mexico. Michael Bradley’s celebrations are always energetic as well. The Togo antelope celebration was pretty good (at least I think it was an antelope) from 2006.

    • soy mecksicano

      January 13, 2010 at 8:04 pm

      How about your boy Davies celebrating with the corner flag in the Azteca with bottles raining down from the stands?

  9. Gunner JD

    January 11, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    I’m partial to the one by Cesc mentioned above, but even better and probably sweeter to Gunner fans was from a few months back where he approached the stands, holding and pointing at the Arsenal crest, kissing it multiple times, making sure everyone saw his meaning exactly. Good stuff.

    I’m also partial to the scorer simply looking back and pointing at the player who fed him the ball or set up the scoring chance. Not exciting I know, but I like the sense it creates of the teamwork between the players, and watching a player actively giving credit to one of his teammates. Just feels good.

  10. Nick

    January 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I agree the “Stink Leg” has got to go.

    I am a big fan of Nani’s one legged back flip, but obviously thats a rare treat where he is in a position to throw one.

    As much as I hated it (since im a Villa fan) I liked Cesc Fabregas’ mini-kneeslide to hop up to undercut fist pump routine after his free kick against us.

  11. nick

    January 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    my favorite has got to be nani and obafemi martins “death flips” , or a good 15-25 yard knee slide

    while Davies and Altidore’s “stinky leg” has got to be my least favorite, only cause i just think about the rest of the world seeing highlights(& that celebration)

  12. Josh

    January 11, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Um, the most iconic celebration, that I’m shocked wasn’t included, is the slide on both knees……..everyone does it, and it’s probably the best one out there for me

    I also want to see the airplane used more often lol

  13. NYEFC

    January 11, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Do I even need to mention Arshavin?

    • Richard

      January 11, 2010 at 11:35 am


      • Gunner JD

        January 11, 2010 at 6:16 pm

        “It’s FOUR!!!!”

  14. Gravypan

    January 11, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I was always partial to Fernando Torres’ Buddha sit down after his header at Anfield last February against Chelsea broke a scoreless tie late.

    • Bas

      January 12, 2010 at 12:37 am

      That was also his first goal after a pretty lengthy time off.

  15. oliver

    January 11, 2010 at 10:27 am

    the worst one, without question, has to be ‘rocking the baby.’ It’s closely followed by the synchronized dance steps. Both of those should be be instant dismissals

  16. YourMom

    January 11, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Snorting the end line as if it was coke. Hard to top that one.

    • Bas

      January 12, 2010 at 12:37 am

      Oh Robbie, I miss you so much 🙁

  17. pyromania

    January 11, 2010 at 9:26 am

    what bout Adebayor’s dreadful run to the other side of the pitch to diss arsenal fans ? that celebration was disrespectful , I personally like Robbie Keane’s roll and Fire , always fun

    • LI Matt

      January 11, 2010 at 8:12 pm

      what bout Adebayor’s dreadful run to the other side of the pitch to diss arsenal fans

      aka “Henry’s dreadful run to the other side of the pitch to diss Spurs fans”

      aka “Neville’s dreadful run to the other side of the pitch to diss Liverpool fans”

  18. GoFutebol

    January 11, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Yeah! I love that Peter Crouch Robot! It makes me sick.

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