The most iconic goal celebrations

Bebeto celebrates with Romario and Mazinho after scoring for Brazil against the Netherlands at the 1994 World Cup.
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Some players celebrate every goal in exactly the same way. Others improvise with moments of madness, occasional rage and sometimes provocation.

And the bigger the goal or the occasion, often the more epic the celebration. Frequently, it is the important strikes which are accompanied by the most memorable reactions.

From the brilliant to the boring, the arrogant to the amusing and the poignant to the provocative, a look at football's most iconic goal celebrations...

32. Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland is joined by Phil Foden as he celebrates a goal for Manchester City against West Ham in August 2022.

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Erling Haaland likes to express himself in different ways after his many goals, but for a time the Norwegian was best known for his trademark 'zen' celebration.

The pose comes from his love of meditation and was bizarrely mocked by the entire Paris Saint-Germain team in 2020 after their Champions League win over his old club Borussia Dortmund. A few years on, however, Haaland is a treble winner. Who's laughing now?

31. Bafetimbi Gomis

Bafetimbi Gomis celebrates after scoring for Swansea against Manchester United in 2015.

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After scoring for Swansea City against Manchester United in 2015, Bafetimbi Gomis got down on his knees and crawled like a panther.

The celebration, which once scared a ball boy in Saudi Arabia, has been used by Gomis throughout his career. The celebration is thought to date back to his time at Saint-Ettiene, where he emerged as a young player, as homage to Salif Keita. One of the club's greatest, Keita was nicknamed "the Black Panther".

30. Vincenzo Montella

Vincenzo Montella does his trademark aeroplane celebration after scoring for Roma against Catania in 2006.

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Due to his small stature and trademark goal celebration, which saw him spread his arms wide like wings as he swooped from side to side, Vincenzo Montella was nicknamed "The Little Aeroplane".

Best known for spells at Roma and Sampdoria, Montella put his celebration to good use in a successful career which yielded 228 club goals, plus three in 20 appearances for Italy.

29. Temuri Ketsbaia

Temuri Ketsbaia celebrates after scoring for Newcastle against Charlton in 1999.

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Temuri Ketsbaia's bizarre celebration for Newcastle United against Bolton Wanderers in 1998 is more memorable than anything the Georgian did on the pitch in his three years at the club.

Annoyed at being left out of the starting line-up after injury, Ketsbaia popped up with a late winner at St. James' Park, threw his shirt into the crowd, tried to take his boots off and then proceeded to kick the advertising hoardings in a moment of rage. Ashamed of the incident, he claims to have never watched it again.

28. Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane celebrates a goal for Tottenham against Leicester in February 2004.

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Robbie Keane scored 325 goals in an impressive club career and a record 68 for the Republic of Ireland. He was a great player, but his celebration was not quite so good.

Consisting of a cartwheel, a forward-roll and a machine gun finale, it was amateur gymnastics at best. Playground stuff really. But he stuck to it throughout his career and it became his trademark.

27. Raul

Raul Gonzalez celebrates after scoring for Real Madrid against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final.

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Until he was overtaken by Cristiano Ronaldo and later by Karim Benzema, Raul Gonzalez was Real Madrid's all-time top scorer with 323 goals for Los Blancos.

The former Spain striker kissed his ring finger after scoring, which might not be the most exciting celebration, but it became his trademark. He also famously put his finger over his lips after netting in a Clasico against Barcelona at Camp Nou in 1999.

26. Facundo Sava

Facundo Sava dons a mask after scoring for Fulham against Liverpool in 2002.

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Facundo Sava's time at Fulham was unremarkable in terms of his ability and contribution on the pitch, but the Argentine striker stood out in another way.

Sava would keep a mask in his sock and put it on for the celebration if he scored, which was only on seven occasions for the Cottagers. He had started the custom in Argentina, once donning a wolf mask after a late winner against Estudiantes. At Fulham, he used a Zorro mask and later a more traditional black and white face covering. He revealed he had been sent more than 250 masks by fans throughout his career.

25. Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani celebrates after scoring for Uruguay against Panama in 2022.

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Edinson Cavani has scored hundreds goals in an impressive career – including 104 at Napoli and 200 at Paris Saint-Germain.

The Uruguay forward celebrates with his trademark bow and arrow celebration, which he says is a nod to his country's native people.

24. Craig Bellamy

Liverpool's Craig Bellamy celebrates with an imaginary golf swing after scoring against Barcelona in the Champions League in 2007.

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Craig Bellamy was in the news ahead of Liverpool's Champions League clash against Barcelona at Camp Nou in 2007 for attacking team-mate John-Arne Riise with a golf club during a short trip to Portugal.

Both players started the game and fittingly, the pair scored the goals in an impressive 2-1 win for the Reds. After Bellamy's goal, the former Wales striker celebrated with an imaginary golf swing. Many of Liverpool's players laughed, but Riise later called it disrespectful.

23. Samuel Eto'o

Samuel Eto'o celebrates by mimicking the stance of an old man after scoring for Chelsea against Tottenham in 2014.

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Jose Mourinho caused controversy in 2014 when he questioned the age of striker Samuel Eto'o. "We have Eto'o but he is 32 years old, maybe 35, who knows?" the Portuguese said in a press conference.

The Cameroonian responded brilliantly by scoring in Chelsea's next game, against Tottenham, and celebrated by the corner flag as he mimicked an old man in pain and struggling to walk.

22. Julius Aghahowa

Julius Aghahowa celebrates a goal for Nigeria against Scotland in 2002.

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Many players have celebrated with somersaults or back flips over the years, including Miroslav Klose, Obafemi Martins, Nani, Tresor Lomana LuaLua and Jose Dominguez – but none quite like Julius Aghahowa.

The Nigerian came to the world's attention at the 2002 World Cup, where he scored the Super Eagles' only goal – in a 2-1 loss to Sweden – and celebrated with six back flips and a somersault. Impressive, if a little showy.

21. Alan Shearer

Newcastle United's Alan Shearer celebrates breaking Jackie Milburn's goalscoring record during the English Premiership soccer match against Portsmouth at St James' Park in 2006.

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When Alan Shearer scored, you always knew what was coming next: one arm raised in the air and a big grin as he ran off on his own.

The former Newcastle United, Blackburn and Southampton striker was mocked for the celebration by Micah Richards on a BBC Match of the Day podcast with Gary Lineker, but said it was "better than good" and reminded the former Manchester City defender he had done it 260 times, in reference to his Premier League goals record. You can't argue with that.

20. Tim Cahill

Tim Cahill celebrates after scoring for Everton against Aston Villa in 2006 by boxing the corner flag.

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Tim Cahill spent eight years at Everton between 2004 and 2012 and the Australian midfielder became known for his iconic goal celebration.

Cahill's boxing the corner flag routine was apparently first used by Australia team-mate in a friendly against Jamaica in 2005, but it was popularised by the midfielder and became his trademark.

19. Jimmy Bullard

Jimmy Bullard gives a mock team talk to his Hull team-mates after scoring against Manchester City in 2009.

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With Hull City 4-0 down to Manchester City on Boxing Day in 2008, manager Phil Brown took the unusual step of giving his half-time team talk on the pitch.

So when Jimmy Bullard levelled at 1-1 late on in the same fixture the following season, the midfielder re-enacted the scene, pointing at his team-mates and gesturing as they sat on the pitch. Superb.

18. Emmanuel Adebayor

Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates in front of the Arsenal fans after scoring for Manchester City in a 4-2 win over the Gunners in 2009.

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Emmanuel Adebayor moved from Arsenal to Manchester City in 2009 and, upset by the nature of his exit from the Gunners, produced one of the Premier League's most infamous celebrations when he netted against his old club in a 4-2 win in September.

After scoring a header to make it 3-1 to City, Adebayor turned and sprinted 90 yards to celebrate in front of the Arsenal end, sinking to his knees in front of the travelling supporters. Furious fans ripped out seats and had to be held back. Adebayor later apologised. 

17. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang & Marco Reus

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus celebrate with Batman and Robin masks after a goal for Borussia Dortmund against Schalke in 2015.

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After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored to give Borussia Dortmund the lead against Schalke in 2015, the Gabon international and team-mate Marco Reus donned Batman and Robin masks in the celebrations.

Dortmund then scored a second through Henrikh Mkhitaryan a minute later and Reus made it 3-0 not long after that. Aubameyang later revealed that the masks were hidden behind the goal at the beginning of each half by his translator.

16. Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler is pulled away by Liverpool team-mate Steve McManaman after mimicking cocaine snorting to celebrate his first goal against Everton in April 1999.

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Upset at constantly being targeted by rumours of drug use, Robbie Fowler hit back with a controversial celebration after scoring a penalty against Everton in April 1999.

The Liverpool striker kneeled down in front of the opposition supporters, held a finger to his left nostril and put his nose to the white of the byline as if he was snorting cocaine. He was hit with a four-match ban.

15. Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona celebrates passionately after scoring for Argentina against Greece at the 1994 World Cup.

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After a quick exchange of passes just outside the area with a couple of his team-mates, Diego Maradona took a touch and then powered a left-footed drive into the top corner.

It was an extraordinary goal, but the celebration raised suspicions as Maradona raced to the side of the pitch and screamed into a television camera, his eyes bulging. Days later, he was sent home for failing a drugs test and never played for Argentina again. 

14. Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona scores a famous goal for Manchester United against Sunderland in 1996.

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Eric Cantona scored with a brilliant chipped effort for Manchester United against Sunderland in 1996 after beating two players, running forward and playing a one-two with Brian McClair – but his celebration is equally iconic as the goal itself.

The French forward, collar up, puffed out his chest and simply stood and span around slowly with an air of arrogance as he milked the applause before raising his arms. Classic Cantona.

13. Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli reveals a shirt with the message 'Why always me? on it after scoring for Manchester City against Manchester United in 2011.

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During his time at Manchester City, Mario Balotelli was regularly on the front pages of the tabloids for all manner of controversies off the pitch.

After scoring in a derby against Manchester United in October 2011, the Italian hit back as he revealed an undershirt. "Why always me?" it read. City won the game 6-1 and that moment is remembered as one of the most iconic moments in the fixture's history.

12. Fabrizio Ravanelli

Fabrizio Ravanelli celebrates by pulling his shirt over his head after scoring for MIddlesbrough against Manchester United in November 1996.

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Fabrizio Ravanelli's trademark goal celebration saw the former Italian striker pull his shirt over his head and run around the field.

The former Juventus and Middlesbrough striker celebrated every goal in that way and was unsurprisingly opposed to FIFA regulations introduced in 2004 which ruled that a yellow card be given for any player removing their shirt. Luckily for him, he was almost at the end of his career by then.

11. Diego Maradona & Claudio Caniggia

Diego Maradona and Claudio Caniggia share a kiss after a goal for Boca Juniors against River Plate in 1996.

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Claudio Caniggia scored a hat-trick for Boca Juniors in a 4-1 win over fierce rivals River Plate at La Bombonera in July 1996 and amid the wild celebrations, the forward famously shared a kiss on the lips with team-mate Diego Maradona.

River had just had won the Copa Libertadores, while Boca were enduring a difficult season. But winning the Superclásico lifted their spirits and produced one of the most famous goal celebrations in Argentine football history.

10. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi holds his shirt up to the crowd after scoring a winner for Barcelona against Real Madrid in added time at the Santiago Bernabeu in April 2017.

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Lionel Messi points two fingers to the sky after every goal to remember his maternal grandmother, who first took him to play football when he was a child and argued with the coach that he should play – despite his small stature.

But after his 500th Barcelona goal gave the Blaugrana a 3-2 win at Real Madrid in added time in 2017, the Argentine produced a special celebration as he took off his shirt and held it up to the crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu. Iconic.

9. Peter Crouch

Peter Crouch performs his robot celebration after scoring for Stoke City against Everton in February 2017.

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Peter Crouch has said he first did his robot dance at a house party at David Beckham's house. In England's 6-0 friendly win over Jamaica ahead of the 2006 World Cup, he showed it off to the world.

Given his 6 foot 7 inch (2.01m) lanky frame, the dance is pretty amusing. Crouch has admitted he would never would have done it if VAR had been around back then – for fear of having a goal ruled out afterwards. So we should be glad it wasn't.

8. Andres Iniesta

Andres Iniesta celebrates after scoring the winner for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final against the Netherlands in South Africa.

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After scoring the most important goal in the history of Spanish football, Andres Iniesta peeled off his shirt to reveal a message for his friend. "Dani Jarque, always with us," it read.

Espanyol captain Jarque had passed away in 2009 after suffering a cardiac arrest at a training camp in Italy. After Iniesta's winner against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final, the midfielder remembered his friend. In the celebrations after the match, team-mate Jesus Navas pulled off his shirt to reveal an identical message for Antonio Puerta, who had passed away after collapsing on the pitch in a Sevilla game against Getafe in 2007.

7. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring for Portugal against Liechtenstein in 2023.

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Cristiano Ronaldo shouted "Siuuu" (which means yes in Portuguese) following his 2014 Ballon d'Or win and the superstar forward has bellowed out the cry after every goal he has scored since.

Ronaldo runs to the corner or the side of the pitch, leaps in the air and stretches out his arms. The celebration has become a global phenomenon, imitated by players all over the world and children everywhere. Cristiano's "calma" celebration for Real Madrid against Barcelona at Camp Nou in 2012 was also iconic.

6. Jurgen Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann and his Tottenham team-mates dive to the ground after the German's goal for Spurs against Sheffield Wednesday in 1994.

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Jurgen Klinsmann arrived in England with the reputation of a diver, but won over plenty of his critics by showing his sense of humour on his debut for Tottenham in 1994.

After scoring a header for Spurs in a 4-3 win at Hillsborough, Klinsmann threw himself to the ground in a mock dive and his team-mates followed suit in a memorable celebration.

5. Roger Milla

Roger Milla dances by the corner flag after scoring for Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup.

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Cameroon were one of the best stories at the 1990 World Cup and no player summed up the joy of their football more than 38-year-old striker Roger Milla.

Milla scored four goals for the Indomitable Lions at Italia 90 as they reached the quarter-finals and celebrated each one by running to the corner flag and performing a little dance. Timeless.

4. Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney falls backwards in a comical "knockout" celebration after scoring for Manchester United against Tottenham in 2015, following reports he had been knocked out in a friendly boxing match by former team-mate David Bardsley.

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In the build-up to Manchester United's Premier League game against Tottenham in 2015, Wayne Rooney appeared on the front page of a tabloid newspaper, apparently "knocked out" on his kitchen floor after a friendly boxing match with former team-mate Phil Bardsley.

After scoring an impressive goal to put United 3-0 up against Spurs, Rooney responded by throwing a few imaginary punches and then comically falling backwards in a knockout blow.

3. Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne England Scotland Euro 96

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Ahead of Euro 96, England's players had faced criticism after pictures were published of the players on a night out in the Far East, having alcohol poured down their throats.

After scoring a brilliant solo goal against Scotland, Paul Gascoigne lay down on the Wembley pitch as Alan Shearer, Steve McManaman and Jamie Redknapp poured liquid down his throat from a water bottle in a re-enactment of the "dentist's chair" routine. Epic.

2. Marco Tardelli

Marco Tardelli screams with joy after scoring for Italy in the 1982 World Cup final.

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This one is pure passion. Fists clenched, Marco Tardelli ran towards the Italian bench, screaming "gol, gol" after scoring against West Germany in the 1982 World Cup final.

Later, he said: "After I scored, my whole life passed before me – the same feeling they say you have when you are about to die." The Tardelli cry remains one of the most iconic moments in World Cup history.

1. Bebeto

Bebeto performs his famous rocking baby celebration alongside Romario and Mazinho during Brazil's game against the Netherlands at the 1994 World Cup.

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After scoring against the Netherlands in the 1994 World Cup quarter-final, Brazil's striker Bebeto celebrated by rocking an imaginary baby alongside team-mates Romario and Mazinho.

Days earlier, the player's wife had given birth to their third child. The celebration has been imitated on numerous occasions since, but the original is always the best. Brazil went on to win the World Cup eight few days later.

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