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Here Are The 7 Best Headed Goals In Football History

By Sean Meehan
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There's nothing quite like a good headed goal.

It's quite hard to put your finger on, as no two headers are built the same. Some showcase supreme athleticism, others are a bastion of otherworldly neck dexterity, and a few are marked by combining power and finesse.

So, we've decided the give you a list of seven of the best headed goals in football history, all thanks to our friends at Nizoral Care Scalp Tonic, which gives you protection and care against an itchy and stressed scalp. That's all the protection you need to get your noggin on the end of a cross!

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Here Are The 7 Best Headed Goals In Football History

Robin van Persie v Spain (2014)

[Watch Video]


You've got to start spectacularly, both in terms of writing lists and starting your World Cup campaign. So, thankfully, for ourselves and the Netherlands, we have Robin van Persie.

The Manchester United striker was talismanic for the Dutch as they made it all the way to the semi-finals of the tournament, but the undoubted highlight of their 2014 World Cup run was an opening day demolition of the holders Spain.

The match finished 5-1 to the Dutch, with van Persie's ballet-inspired header the equaliser having fallen behind to a Xabi Alonso penalty. With such beauty and grace in the header, it's no surprise van Persie inspired his teammates to a historic victory.


Henrik Larsson v Bulgaria (2004)


Another diving header from a major tournament here, and although a fixture like Sweden-Bulgaria in the group stage wouldn't do much to get pulses racing usually, this game was certainly the exception.

Perhaps that's all down to one man, the King of Kings, Henrik Larsson. The Celtic legend had a knack for scoring big goals with his head, and it was no different in this Euro 2004 match.


One time Spurs man Erik Edman gallops down the wing, picks his head up to see Larsson having evaded his marker. The cross was on the money, but Larsson's execution is textbook. He looks like a jet taking off as he springs forward to connect perfectly with the header and leave goalkeeper Zdravko Zdravkov with no chance.

Cristiano Ronaldo v Sampdoria (2019)


You didn't think we would forget about possibly the best header of a football that has ever lived.


Couple Cristiano Ronaldo's supreme heading ability with his unbelievable athleticism, he has a career full of headers worthy to grace this list. However, we've plumped for his goal against Sampdoria in 2019, a goal which ignited the internet into discourse around the Portuguese attacker's freakish athleticism.

He hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity, waiting for Alex Sandro's cross to greet his head to divert into the net. We're no scientists here at Balls.ie, but we reckon Ronaldo must have been at least 100m off the ground when he headed that ball.

Lionel Messi v Manchester United (2009)



Lionel Messi isn't known for his heading ability. In fact, the sheer notion that Messi has a fair few headed goals in his career says more about the players defending him than anything else.

On the other hand, it's far more impressive for a stout and slight Messi to rise above a defence and use his head to score. In this instance, he waited until he was on the biggest stage of all to have one of his iconic moments.

Xavi picked up a breaking ball and, as was the norm for the Spaniard, sent a pinpoint pass towards the back-post, where Messi had peeled off Rio Ferdinand and had the freedom of Rome. Messi, as though his left foot was attached to forehead, guided the ball expertly past Edwin van der Sar in the Manchester United goal. His boot came off, John O'Shea shouted at his fellow defenders, and football would never be the same.

Jared Borgetti v Italy (2002)


We've been watching this goal for nearly twenty years and we still can't quite work out how Jared Borgetti managed to contort the ball to fly past Gianluigi Buffon and into the Italian net.

Why is his body in that position? How can you wrong-foot one of the best goalkeepers in the world as blatantly as that? How do you manage to do something that not even the great Paolo Maldini can stop?

Just remember kids, a channel run and a flick of your head can change the world.

Jone Samuelsen v Tromso IL (2011)


Okay, we know what you're going to say and, yes, we do think that Jone Samuelsen's goal for ODD is a fluke.

But, so what?

Some of the greatest goals ever scored are flukes, and I'm sure Mr. Samuelsen doesn't mind one jot. He's probably still burning the ear off of everyone within a few metres radius of him talking about the time he scored a header from his own half. He'd be dead right to, as well.

He scored a goal from his own half, which is impressive enough with your feet. However, he did it with his head, the thing that sits on top of his shoulders. We're sorry, but eleven years on, we're still absolutely awestruck.

Niall Quinn v Newcastle United (2000)


Here at Balls.ie, we like to pride ourselves on being 'Ireland's favourite sports website'. Now, how could we consider ourselves to be an authority on Irish sport, yet omit the greatest header of a ball this island has ever seen.

Okay, there's a case to be made for Shane Duffy, but it just feels better when the big man up top does the business aerially.

So, rather than plump for an Ireland goal, we've gone for Niall Quinn's header in the Tyne-Wear derby of 2000, with Michael Gray marauding down the wing and teasing a tantalising cross for Quinn to greet with his forehead.

Poetry, helped in no small part by Shay Given scrambling across the goal, floundering at the ball flying into the net, and greeting the post with his face. Quinn, on the other hand, wheels off in celebration, windmilling his arms in delight.

It doesn't get more iconic than that.


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