Poetic Injustice: The Greatest Goals That Never Were

It doesn’t count on the scoresheet, but there’s something entirely satisfying about seeing an absolute crack smash off the woodwork. As humans, we like loud noises, and nothing makes us ooh and aah more than football’s own version of fireworks — the ball crashing into the crossbar from distance and flying into the heavens. 

Apart from that spectacle, great goals can be denied for a myriad of other reasons: sometimes it’s the referee, sometimes it’s a curmudgeonly defender or goalkeeper and sometimes it’s that idiot Nani.

Let’s take a look at some of the greatest almost goals that never were.

Cristiano Ronaldo — Portugal vs. Spain

Nice one, Nani.

Henrik Larsson — Barcelona vs. Celta Vigo

Just look at this control and pass from Ronaldinho. Would ya just look at it?


Ronaldinho — Barcelona vs. Bilbao

Perhaps the greatest, most preposterous almost goal ever.

Cue The Windmill Celebration

This one’s just funny.

Leandro Damiao — Brazil vs. Argentina

Ouch, it’s never a fun experience being on the receiving end of a rainbow flick.

Lionel Messi — Barcelona vs. Atletico

He doesn’t get the outrageous solo goal, but then he gets a pretty decent one. Just Messi things.


Luis Suarez — Liverpool vs. Arsenal

The goal would’ve been awful compared to this lasting sound. Just an ALMIGHTY CRACK off the post, so satisfying.

Lucas Moura — PSG vs. Olympique de Marseille

Sprint speed: 99

Lazar Markovic — Liverpool vs. Sunderland

Is this the greatest or the worst technique of all-time? It’s hard to say, especially since it’s Lazar Markovic.


Karim Benzema — Real Madrid vs. Levante

What the f**k even is this? How does he do that? It's even better how, after what would've been the greatest goal of his career clangs out, Benzema just doesn't care about the follow-up.

Frank Lampard — Chelsea vs. Liverpool

This is what we refer to as swerve in the business.

Zinedine Zidane — Real Madrid vs. Real Valladolid

Zidane with the Zidane turn.

Andrea Pirlo — Italy vs. England

Andrea Pirlo frequently abused Joe Hart.

Pele — Brazil vs. Uruguay

Pele doing things the world had never seen before.

Videos you might like