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Martin Palermo: Great Goals Retold

It isn’t often that headers are considered truly classic goals, but then it isn’t often that someone finds the net with their nut from an incredible 43 yards out.

Argentine striker Martin ‘El Loco’ Palermo had a reputation for being strong in the air throughout his prolific career, and aged 35 he had his noggin to thank for what he describes as “perhaps the most spectacular goal I ever scored”.

Boca Juniors’ all-time top scorer explains: “One gift I always had was finding new ways of scoring. I didn’t look for it – it would just happen. A bicycle kick, a penalty where I slipped and hit the ball with both of my feet [it still went in], a header where I ended up hanging from the bar... and that night against Velez was another special goal for my collection.

“We were 2-2 at a packed La Bombonera with less than 20 minutes to go. There was a long ball from the back, Nico Gaitan pushed forward to press the last defender, and Velez keeper Montoya was forced to clear it with a long kick.

“The ball was directed right where I was standing, close to the centre of the pitch. I instinctively tried to head it back to the empty goal, as Montoya was completely out of position.

“It was really magical to see the ball kissing the back of the net, as it was making a dangerous curve and I feared it would end up hitting the post.

“I took off my shirt and celebrated with all the fans, with my arms wide open. It was a key victory for us, as it was rumoured our coach, Alfio Basile, would have quit if we didn’t get the three points. After that, he stayed.”

From the May 2012 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. Subscribe!