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Carlos Ruiz (Philadelphia Union v Chicago Fire, 2011)

Many a great goal has come from a great free-kick: think David Platt vs Belgium, or Roberto Carlos vs France. Then thereâÂÂs... forget it, we could be here all day. Fewer classic strikes, however, come from absolutely terrible set-pieces â but playing for Philadelphia Union vs Chicago Fire in 2011, Carlos Ruiz did things the hard way.

Having weakly chipped a potentially dangerous free-kick straight onto a defenderâÂÂs head, Ruiz chased down the clearance and made amends by flicking the ball on before wellying it over the keeper and in â with his weaker peg. âÂÂIf I sound off-guard,â laughed one commentator, âÂÂItâÂÂs because it may be the first time IâÂÂve seen Ruiz shoot with his left foot!âÂÂ

The Guatemalan recalls â¨to FFT: âÂÂI was lucky the ball bounced back to me from the free-kick. My first thought was just to shoot as hard as I could â I thought if I stopped the â¨ball first, IâÂÂd hesitate too long."

âÂÂIt was a golazo in the â¨truest sense of the term,â he continues. âÂÂIt was impossible for any goalkeeper to save. Honestly, thatâÂÂs the type of goal you donâÂÂt plan; you â¨really donâÂÂt think about it before shooting. You just attempt the shot and wait â¨to see what happens.

âÂÂI had attempted that shot in practice several times, but you never think you can score a goal like that during a real game. Still, what I enjoy most about football is creating something out of nothing and in this case, I was able to do just that after a bad free-kick.

âÂÂSome people have called â¨it the goal of the decade. For me, itâÂÂs one of the best goals â¨I have ever scored.âÂÂ

Interview: Clemente Lisi. Illustration: German Aczel. From the June 2013 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!