The Best Goals of 2008 – Part 3 (Europe)

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The best goals of 2008 from Europe – from Euro 2008 to Champions League, UEFA Cup and the top domestic leagues across mainland Europe.

Euro 2008

A great tournament loaded with exceptional goals viewed and re-viewed by hundreds of millions of footie fans around the planet–at least half of whom seem to have crafted their own personal best-goals compilations and posted them on You Tube.  I spent three nights burning up my eyeballs on these, getting through two dozen or so before the exceptional goals began to appear almost ordinary (a sure sign it was time to stop). 

The ones listed here are some of the most interesting, if only for the surprising variety of choices: of the 77 goals scored in the tournament, at least half have ended up on somebody’s best-goals compilation, with many of the scorers–Wesley Sneijder, David Villa, Michael Ballack (and this includes the Ballack “goal” vs. Portugal, actually more foul than goal),  Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski, Semih Senturk,  Robin van Persie,  Arda Turan–represented by more than one goal, often on the same video. 

No doubt if you’re reading this you’ve seen most of these goals before, so I won’t try to elaborate on their several beauties, beyond briefly suggesting my own favorites:

Nihat Kahveci (Turkey) vs. Greece (a thrilling match-winner that looks more amazing the more it’s seen, the violent torque required to launch the shot apparently proving once more there’s truth in those proverbial sayings:  necessity is the mother of invention, and where there’s a will there’s a way); Wesley Sneijder (Holland) vs. France (the resourceful turn, spin and deadly marksmanship–a classic product of pure shooting skills that still dazzles); Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) vs. Greece (another masterpiece that keeps improving with repeated looks and may just be looked back upon as the brilliant inauguration of a season in which the great striker Ibra made believers of fans beyond Serie A and around the world).

best of the best goals compilations

Los 15 mejores goles de la Eurocopa 2008.  Selections from fifteenth ascending to first and best: Schweinsteiger vs. Portugal, Villa vs. Sweden, Schweinsteiger vs. Turkey, Podolski vs. Poland, Torres vs. Germany, van Persie vs. Romania, Guiza v Russia, Sneijder vs. Italy, van Persie vs. France, Robben vs. France, Sneijder vs. France, Nihat v Czech Rep., Lahm v Turkey, Ibrahimovic vs. Greece, Ballack vs. Austria.  

Don’t accept substitutes: this is simply the best Euro 2008 goal compilation, featuring brilliant selective editing, incorporating useful slow-mo and long-shot replays, putting each goal into the context of the flow of play and showing key elements of the build-up to each;  it has good interpretive music, intelligent goal selections;  offers excellent compression of goals into key moments, and useful focus on crucially telling details–e.g.:

the wonderful, deceptively nonchalant no-wasted-motion Fabregas dinked pass over the defense leading to Guiza vs. Russia;  the masterful, flowing, architecture-in-the-moment series of open-field passes culminating in Sneijder vs. Italy; the great control and  subtle touch contained in the sudden epiphany of van Persie vs. Romania; the surprising van Nistelrooy stepover developing into van Persie vs. France (two goals virtually ignored in all the other best goals compilations); and a surging Torres brushing Lahm aside like a small straw man as he sweeps in for the tournament-winning goal vs. Germany.   A welcome Last Chance Saloon for weary prospectors on the Trail of the Perfect Goal, this video packs much of the very best attacking football of a great attacking tournament into an entertaining 7:14.

Top 5 Goals Euro 2008. Sneijder vs. Italy, Ibrahimovic vs. Greece, Sneijder vs. France, Nihat vs. Czech Rep., Ballack v Austria.  Another excellent compilation, well edited; selections here perhaps represent conventional consensus choices, but this video boasts an essential added feature, not on other clips:  the live commentary in English from itv 4, recapturing the drama of those ’08 summer nights–especially on Sneijder vs. France: “Can it get any better than this? Yes, if they carry on playing this brand of counter punch football”–famous last words for Holland, as it turned out, but nonetheless exciting stuff at the time; or again, on Nihat’s astonishing match-winner, a goal that distilled the pure drama of the tournament: “utterly aghast are the Czechs–and it may get worse, here’s Nihat–oh, he may have won it!

some other compilations

Unbelievable Soccer Goals.  This one captures all Spain goals from Euro 2008 and is thus a pleasure,  perhaps not unlike re-living a good honeymoon.

Top 10 the most important goals of Europe 2008. This one is distinctive for affording a place–admittedly the lowest–among the “most important and most beautiful” goals of the tournament to what must have been one of the worst goals of the tournament: Vastic (Austria) vs. Poland.  One naturally assumes the author of the video to be Austrian.   At any rate originality is always to be praised.This Central-to-Eastern-Euro-flavored compilation also includes Torbinsky (laudable certainly if only for that dangerous Arshavin cross), a Turan, a Semih, two Ballacks, a Lahm and a Nihat. (There’s a You Tube URL snafu with this one, but it’s by Macieju990 and can be found by searching title and author.)

My Uefa Euro 2008 top 10 goals.   Andrei Arshavin (Russia) vs. Sweden interestingly makes this list.  Plus two Schweinsteigers. And the winner here is: Sneijder vs. France.

Top 15 goals on Euro 2008.  Two Semihs on this one.  Also two Podolskis. The fine Arjen Robben (Holland) vs France.  And not to be found elsewhere: Gio von Bronckhorst (Holland) and Daniele de Rossi (Italy) vs. France.  Nihat comes top, fairly enough.

Los 15 mejores goles de la eurocopa 2008.   Jaroslav Plasil (Czech Rep.) vs. Turkey makes this one, and it is unique for that.  And Pepe (Portugal) vs.Turkey, ditto.  (Did you know Pepe’s first name?  Hint: think famous astronomer beginning  with”K”.)   Honors taken here by Sneijder vs. France.

Los mejores goles de la eurocopa 08.   Sound a little like that last one? But they’re not the same. Distinguishing feature here:  Torbinsky vs. Holland.   Sneijder vs. France again reigns.

Euro 2008 Top 10 Goals. The author here is ScreaManUnited and maybe that’s why this is the one compilation out there that includes the otherwise entirely undistinguished Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) vs. Czech Rep. And here’s that man Kepler Pepe (vs. Turkey) again.   Top honors to: Ballack (Germany) vs. Austria (the free kick).

Euro 2008 Top 10 Goals. Surprises: Raul Meireles (Portugal) vs.Turkey,  Thierry Henry (France) vs. Holland (a kindness that, for old times’ sake, surely?).  The shock winner: Torbinsky v Holland.

Euro 2008 Top 10 Goals. Sneijder vs. France takes it.

Euro 2008 Top 10 Goals. Unusual inclusion: Xavi Hernandez (Spain) vs. Russia.  Honors to: Torres vs Germany.

Euro 2008 Top 10 Goals. Roman Pavyluchenko (Russia) vs. Holland somehow makes this one. Sneijder vs. France is #1.

Euro 2008 Top 10 Goals.  Ballack, the free kick.

Euro 2008 Top 10 goals. Ruben de la Red (Spain) vs. Greece, the surprise here, Nihat the winner.

Euro 2008 Top 10 GoalsSneijder v.Italy, yet again.  And fair enough.

UEFA Champions League


Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal) v.s AC Milan 3.4.08 (Cesc performing decisive last rites over the expired body of the defending champions.)

Emanuel Adebayor (Arsenal) vs. Liverpool  4.08.08  (Credit to Adebayor for getting there to finish, but Walcott’s incredible run is the real story of this goal.)

Ronaldo (Man Utd) vs. Chelsea (final) 5.21.08 (Ronaldo’s imperious skywalking header in the twenty-sixth minute is the 42nd goal of his glory season, gives the Reds a 2-1 lead and our commentator cause for celestial hyperbole: “a stunning header…watch cech, he doesn’t move–it’s beyond human flesh“…well, so what he really said was “it’s beyond him in a flash,” but do Reds fans the world round really need to understand Scots?)

Manchester United/Chelsea  (final)   5.21.08  (The penalty kicks: makes by Tevez, Carrick, Hargreaves, Giggs, Anderson, Ballack, Belletti, Lampard, Kalou; misses by a hesitating Cristiano Ronaldo–plus theatrical silent plaint to the gods,”how could you let me miss?” ; by a disconsolate John Terry– a slip in the rain and “the agony is there again“; and by the sulking late sub Nicolas Anelka –“he didn’t look happy coming forward, and he’s not happy now.“)



Best goals of the champions league group stage 08/09. This excellent compilation includes:
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) vs. Marseille 9.16.08 (And goodbye to Marseille for another year.)
Juan Culio (CFR Cluj) vs. Roma 9.16.08 (The Roma owner nearly had a heart attack in her seat.)
Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk) vs. Basel  (The wickedest of Shakhtar’s Brazilians does it from distance)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) vs. Basel 10.22.08 (More Messi magic.)
Alessandro del Piero (Juventus) vs. Real Madrid 10.21.08 (Never miss a del Piero free kick if you can help it)
Mirko Vucinic (Roma) vs. Chelsea 11.06.08  (Roma’s danger man.)
Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos) vs. Werder Bremen 11.06.08  (Long curler could be best ’08 CL goal ?)
Jeppe Curth (Aab Aalborg) vs Man Utd 12.10.08 (A strong head on that lad.)
Arjen Robben (Real Madrid) vs. Zenit St. Petersburg12.10.08  (What touch this man has!)

individual goals

Alessandro del Piero (Juventus) vs. Zenit St. Petersburg 9.17.08 (A 37.8 m. free kick: del Piero is so good at this, one’s almost–but not quite–tempted to take such miracles for granted.)

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) vs. Marseille 9.16.08 (A Stevie Wonder special, all the power, will and skill in the world packed into this scorcher.)

Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid) vs. PSV Einhoven (first 2 goals) 9.16.08 (How can so much power be packed into so small a unit?)

Albert Riera (Liverpool) vs. PSV 12.09.08 (A goal worthy of a coming champion: what no one at Man City suspected he could do, Riera is making a habit of with Liverpool.)


Mladen Petric (Hamburg) vs. Aston Villa   12.18.  08   (UEFA cup goal of the year?)

Felipe Caicedo (Man City) vs. Racing Santander  12.18.08 (The virtually unknown young Ecuadoran–with Luis Antonio Valencia, his nation’s best players of a generation– declaring himself a sudden backheel master.)

Ronaldinho (AC Milan) vs. Braga 11.06.08  (The remarkable skills–and smile– surviving the Italian transplant)


Marcos Senna (Villareal) vs. Betis 4.27.08 (A 55-meter stunner: “el gol de la temporada…sensacional! increible!”)

Ronaldinho (Barcelona) vs. Atletico Madrid 3.01.08.  (Going out with style.)

Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona) (hat trick) vs. Almeria 10.25.08 (A brilliant Eto’o volley, a lightning sidefoot flick by Henry, then two more rapidfire Eto’o scores, capped off by a sizzling Daniel Alves freekick–all this by the 37th minute, as here we see Pep Guardiola’s fast, fluid and phenomenal scoring machine, propelled by the geniuses Messi and Xavi, moving almost effortlessly into overdrive.  You get the feeling Barca could have put across five more in this one, had they encountered any resistance at all from a shattered Almeria…What I’m feeling my way toward saying here, after watching this and other similar match videos over and over, is that I think the best fit for this year’s perfect-goal-wearing Golden Boot is the Barcelona offense, collectively.)

Lionel Messi–Number 10–2008/2009–Part 1 (“I just can’t look, it’s killing me”).  (These three recent Messi compilations catch some of the Barca attacking magic by concentrating on the quicksilver central magician, the man no one’s yet been able to keep up with, so slippery and elusive in his furious arm-pumping runs it’s no wonder they call him la pulga–the flea.)

Lionel Messi–Number 10–2008/2009–Part 2 (“You make me feel so guilty”)

Lionel Messi–Number 10–2008/2009–Part 3
(“No fear”)

La chica de Messi.  (This clip is by way of a brief aside: in the so-far charmed career of this wonderfully gifted, entertaining and brilliant young footballer–and this season is all the proof–it’s still raining angels)

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) vs. Sevilla 11.29.08 (Golaazzooooo! The euphoria continues at the Nou Camp as an elated Messi delivers the final blow in a decisive 3-0 demolition of once-formidable Sevilla.)

Thierry Henry (Barcelona) vs. Valencia  12.10.08 (The Barca machine rolls on over Valencia–Valencia who?– as Titi Henry’s wonderful opening chip, glittering with quality, announces his adjustment period in La Liga is finally over and he is at last enjoying himself at the Nou Camp–or as the beautifully chosen music track puts it : “a freak like me/just needs infinity“–and while the oles ring around Henry’s head, the appreciative aficionados seem to be chanting back to him, “relax, take your time, trust in me/ and you will find infinity“… will he find it?)

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) vs. Real Madrid 12.13.08 (Real holds out bravely against the inevitable until Eto’o beats Casillas at 82 minutes, and eight minutes later this lovely Messi chip completes the masterpiece–and also nearly knocks out Cannavaro, who collides violently with the bar in his attempt to forestall footie destiny.)

Marcos Senna (Villareal) vs. Osasuna   9.14.08  (Who on earth is a deadlier threat on very long free kicks?)

Jose Javier Barkero (Numancia) vs. Real Madrid 9.14.08 (This unexpected early-season blast from nowhere drove Real back on its gilded heels.)

Giuseppe Rossi (Villareal) vs. Almeria 11.09.08 (A Rossi rocket)

Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid) vs. Valencia 12.2 .08 (The phenomenally gifted young Argentine, coming into his own for real with Real, and showing his skill level with this lovely floater.

Maxi Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid) vs. Valencia 12.21.08  (Another Argentine ace in Spain, Maxi is still dangerous to the max.)


Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter) vs Bologna 10.04.08 (Killer backheel: two views given here. And what a goal. How could a human being do this?  I’ve watched it a dozen times and still can’t understand it)

Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (Fiorentino) vs.Torino 5.21.08  (is it a man or an angel who scores this goal?)

Ricardo Quaresma (Inter) vs. Catania 9.13.08 (Two defenders move in to close him down, but the miraculous wing-footed  $20 m. Quaresma, on his Inter debut, uses a serendipitous deflection from one of them to score anyway–and still the Special One, likewise new to Serie A, but used to receiving such expensive gifts, remains evidently unmoved, like a child on whom too many extravagant presents have already been lavished.)

Kaka (AC Milan) vs. Lazio 9.21.08 (Great player showing why he’s great, once again)

Daniele Conti (Cagliari) vs. Roma 12.14.08  (A name to remember)

Sulley Muntari (Inter) vs. Napoli 11.22.08 (The tic-tac-toc series of one-touches, almost quicker than the blink of an eye, starting with Julio Cruz’s ungodly backheel and continued through Maicon to Muntari’s lightning first-time finish: every element comes together to qualify this great work as a serious goal-of-the-year candidate.)

Andrei Shevchenko (Milan) vs. Lazio 12.03.08 (Was the Chelsea flop just a blip for Sheva?)

Jeremy Menez (Roma) vs. Chievo  12.06.08  (Wonderful volley from the French newcomer.)

Fausto Rossini (Livorno) vs. Frosinone (Serie B)   10.11. 08 (A lower division goal to equal anything done in Serie A this year.)


Ricardo Quaresma (Porto) vs. Academica 3/09/08 (Pure merciless Quaresma: loses his man, then stuns the keeper with a bullet.)

Ricardo Quaresma (Porto) vs Vitoria Guimaraes 4.13.08  (Awesome stuff–the dancing master locates his spot and unleashes a deadly projectile.)

Ricardo Quaresma (Porto) vs. Setubal 5.13.08 (Quaresma curves this classic boomeranging free kick around the wall and just inside the hopeless keeper’s left-hand post.)

Lisandro Lopez (Porto) vs. Benfica 4.20.08  (The talented Argentine Lisandro works to make space, spins, belts it, celebrates with flagwaving gusto.)

Anderson (Setubal) vs. Benfica 12.07.08 (Striking lightning to stun the big club from Lisbon.)

Hulk (Porto) vs. Amadora 12.17.08  (A thunderbolt that shows the Porto powerhouse living up to his name, with some wicked spin thrown in.)


Steve Savidan (Valenciennes) vs. Bordeaux 3.23.08 (Wonder volley by “savi-gol”.)

Marama Vahirua (Lorient) vs. Le Havre 12.13.08 (This bolt from the blue must be seen to be believed.)

Carlos Sanchez (Valenciennes) vs. Monaco 12.13 .08  (An absolute cracker–magnifique!–by the on-and-off Colombiano.)

Habib Bamogo (Nice) vs. Marseille 12.06.08 (A goal to make your evening.)

Remi Mareval (Nantes)  vs. Marseille   29.10.08 (Long volley–and I do mean long.)

Karim Benzema (Lyon) vs. Le Mans 11.29.08 (Artistic business as usual for this great striker.)


Bundesliga Best Goals 2008/2009 Hinrunde/Fall Season. Magificent 3:48 compilation packs in excellent goals by Bastian Schweinsteiger,  Mesut Ozil, Christian Trasch, Ivica Olic, Hugo Almeida, Johannes Van den Bergh, Franck Riber, Jan Simak, Kuba Blaszczykowski, Branko Jelic, Diego (2), Mohamed Zidan, Aaron Hunt, Carlos Eduardo, Torsten Frings, Thomas Zdebel, Tamas Hajnal, Tranquilo Barnetta, Stanislav Sestak, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Alexander Baunjohann, Mikael Forssell, Demba Ba, Mladen Petric.

Mladen Petric (Hamburg) vs. Hertha Berlin 11.16.08  (Undisputable excellence.)

Diego (Werder Bremen) vs. Hertha Berlin 11.01.08 (Chest control, pivot, half volley, all in one motion: the unearthly skills, here on full display.)

Ivic Olic (Hamburg) vs. Werder Bremen 11.23.08 (A staggering shot from distance, goal of the season candidate.)

Johannes van den Bergh (Monchengladbach) vs. Borussia Dortmund 12.12.08 (Ditto the above for this wonderful long volley)

Rest of Europe


Diego Biseswar (Feyenoord) vs. NAC Breda 12.27.08  (Where did this wicked wonderstrike come from?)

Marcus Berg (Groningen) vs. PSV 12.7.08 (A fantastic series of touches, the best a backheel by Gonzalo Garcia, building up to the precise finish by 22-year-old Swedish scoring sensation Berg.)

Marcus Berg (Groningen) (2) vs. Feyenoord 9.28.08 (Adding to his reputation against another bigger club.)


Peter Madsen (Brondby) vs. Sonderjysk 11.22.08 (A classic rabona–trickiest heel work in Nordic footie history?)


Karel Pitak (Salzburg RB) vs. Mattersburg 11.20.08 (Short clip, not very good quality, but an astonishing  goal– on the full volley, from some other dimension.)
(better clip, full highlights, goal at 4:46 and worth the wait–it’s a stunner:)

The Best Goals of 2008 – Navigation:

In Pursuit of the Elusive Perfect Goal: 2008
The Best Goals of 2008 – Part 1 (World Football)
The Best Goals of 2008 – Part 2 (England / Scotland)
The Best Goals of 2008 – Part 3 (Europe)
The Best Goals of 2008 – Part 4 (Americas)

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