Top 12 Goals of the Week

Footballers are not known for their intellect and cunning. And when the one-in-a-million footballer does come along who is able to talk about other things outside football or (god forbid) they may even have a university education then, as happened with Graeme Le Saux, they can often find themselves ridiculed and sidelined.

Thankfully an army of intelligent footballers still appears to be a dream reserved for science fiction, with the last seven days of world football throwing up several new fall-guys who support the brain-dead stereotypical footballer.

Now, if you are going to call your son Elvis, he better have the talents to back up his name. Sadly for Leixoes’ Brazilian defender, nothing could have further from the truth as the defender scored a comic own goal during his side’s 2-1 defeat at Benfica on Friday night.

In the 16th minute Antonio Reyes latched onto a David Luiz throw-in down the left hand side, and the Spanish winger charged down the touchline before sending a harmless cross into the Leixoes area. With Oscar Cardoza outnumbered two-to-one by keeper Beto and covering centre-half Elvis the striker never looks favourite to score. And so it proved, with the ball being cut out by Elvis as he coolly cleared the danger. Oh, wait. That’s not what happened.

Keeping with footballers based in Portugal, Porto’s Brazilian keeper Helton must have wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole as he fumbled a horrible shot in last week’s Champions League action at Atletico Madrid.

On the stroke of halftime the ball was picked up by Diego Forlan and, unchallenged, the forward carried the ball upfield. With a defender looking to close down the danger as Forlan edged ever closer to the box the Uruguayan took a step infield before hitting a speculative shot that never should have troubled the keeper. Devoid of any venom, the ball miserably bounced its way through to the goalkeeper and straight into the path of Helton.

All he needed to do was be a goalkeeper. Bend down and catch the ball. How hard can that be? Sadly, it all proved too complicated!

Our final brainless footballer is Lecce’s Luca Ariatti who, unlike the others referenced above, actually managed to clearly map out his thought process before retardedly stamping on Alexis Sanchez in arguably the worst sending off of the weekend.

Having seen his side concede a 75th minute opener to Gaetano D’Agostino, Ariatti showed total disregard for both his opposition and his teammates by getting himself dismissed for a premeditated stamp onto the leg of his Chilean victim. Having hacked Sanchez to the floor in an attempt to win the ball, Ariatti immediately turned to face his prey who was riding around on the turf before “walking” on Sanchez in an incredible act of stupidity. The red card with naturally whipped out, and Lecce proceeded to lose another goal as they threw away another three points in their desperate fight against relegation.

Ariatti’s moment of madness can be seen here (1.45 minutes in).

Before we dive into the list, we should salute our latest winner of the “effort of the week” award, Larissa’s Nikolaos Vlasopoulos.

Hosting Ergotelis on Saturday in Greece, the visitors’ keeper raced out of his goal midway through the game to close down an attack and clear his lines. But things went wrong when the clearance fell to Vlasopoulos in the centre-circle and the midfielder instantly returned the ball goalwards. Having exited his goal the Ergotelis keeper quickly scampered back to try and pevent being lobbed from the halfway line, only for the ball the hit the bar, rebound out, where Frank Guela was on hand to score.

Vlasopoulos‘ brilliant effort can be seen here.

Onto the list, where it feels like this week we have been spoiled. The Champions League and UEFA Cup formed the backdrop for goals 1, 3, 4 and 5, while reserve team football proved the setting for a sublime goal 2.

When the weekend came around there were some belters in the form of goals 6, 7, 8 and 9. Goal 11 capped off a fine week for free-kicks. And goal 12 was put away from an insane angle.

But nothing came close to goal 10.

As always, all we ask is that you sit back and enjoy!

1. Juninho Pernambucano (Lyon v Barcelona, Feb. 24, 2009)

2. Mark Crosas (Celtic reserves v Hearts reserves, Feb. 24, 2009)

3. Dimitri Payet, Ilan & Oscar (St. Etienne v  Olympiakos, Feb. 25, 2009)

4. Harry Kewell (Galatasaray v Bordeaux, Feb. 25, 2009)

5. Hatem Ben Arfa (Twente v Marseille, Feb. 25, 2009)

6. Mark Crosas (Celtic v St. Mirren, Feb. 28, 2009)

7. John Terry (Chelsea v Wigan, Feb. 28, 2009)

8. John Carew (Aston Villa v Stoke, Mar. 1, 2009)

9. Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid v Barcelona, Mar. 1, 2009)

10. Giuseppe Mascara (Palermo v Catania, Mar. 1, 2009)

11. Juan Arango (Sporting Gijon v Mallorca, Mar. 1, 2009)

12. Julien Feret (PSG v Nancy, Mar. 1, 2009)

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Narrowly missing out on this week’s list were goals from Jaime Lozano, Giorgos Karagounis, Franck Ribery, Alexandre Pato, Jerome Rothen, Christian Fuchs, Mauro Zarate, Thierry Henry and Nick Hofs.