Talking the Beautiful Game

A Brief History Of The Goal Celebration

Monday16th marks 13 years since Thierry Henry's iconic knee slide celebration. Now it seems like everyone tries to replicate that famous slide which is now immortalised as a statue in front of the Emirates. To mark the anniversary, we take a brief look at the history of the goal celebration.

On Top Of The World - World Cup 1982

One of the most iconic celebrations in football history, Marco Tardelli’s goal to put Italy 2-0 up in the 1982 World Cup final displayed all the raw emotion of the moment as the Italian striker was overcome with joy. 

With the sheer ecstasy of a man who had just achieved the wildest dreams of his childhood etched across his face, Tardelli sprinted dementedly around the pitch, clenched fists pumping and screaming in unadulterated delight. To watch Tardelli’s triumph is to see the true passion football is capable of inducing encapsulated in one simple, euphoric moment.

Milla Time - Italia 90

Probably the happiest player there ever was, Roger Milla never fails to bring a smile to my face. Lighting up Italia '90, he became known for his innovative and imagintive corner-flag dances, inspiring generations to follow suit. However, the reason we got to see these dances so much was due to his deadly finishing, the guy had talent. Named Africa's player of the century, Milla guided Cameroon into uncharted territory, as well as becoming the oldest player to score at a World cup, aged 42. Roger, thanks for everything.

The Dentist Chair - Euro 1996

As a 60-second summary of his career, nothing is more poignant than the 78th minute of the England-Scotland game in Euro 1996. The match, and England's campaign, were on a knife-edge. Gascoigne collected the ball some way outside the Scotland penalty area before unleashing one of the moments of footballing genius. He flicked the ball over the last defender with a deftness that confounded the laws of physics, leaving him for dead, then with his other foot volleyed crisply into the bottom corner. The goal is remembered as one of England's best ever, but the celebration was to become just as notorious: Gazza lay on the ground as his team-mates squirted water into his mouth, in a re-enactment of the "dentist's chair " drinking game which took place during a pre-tournament trip to Hong Kong. You've gotta love him.

Kneeslide - North London Derby 2002

One of the finest goals ever seen at Highbury and all the sweeter for being against arch rivals Tottenham.  Henry picked up the ball in his own half leaving opponents in his wake with his pace before dancing round the back four and slotting the ball into the corner of the net. The famous kneeslide celebration in front of the Spurs fans is now immortalised as a statue outside the Emirates Stadium - a fitting tribute to a living legend.

Why Always Me - Manchester Derby 2011

Love him or hate him, he was always the highlight of any Match of the Day. You never know what Super Mario is going to do next. Enigmatic and unpredictable, his on and off field antics have become the stuff of legend (even those who claim to hate him are definitely disguising their true feelings).  Why always me? Because you were born to entertain.

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