It's A Long Shot But...

We celebrate the art of the long range-goal
06:55, 20 Sep 2019

There’s something special about a long-range strike, something that releases the inner child in all of us. Whether you concede one and collapse to your knees in anguish, or someone you never expected smashes home a rocket to win you the league. Manchester City fans know all about the latter.

There’s no point ranking the best because there’s plenty to choose from over the last 27 years, and it’s largely subjective anyway. But on the anniversary of Xabi Alonso’s thunderous blast against Newcastle at Anfield in 2006, here’s a look at the five longest-range strikes from outfield players in Premier League history.

5 - Wayne Rooney vs West Ham (59 yards)

You would be forgiven for instantly thinking back to Rooney’s halfway-line effort for Manchester United in 2013-14 when his name is mentioned, but he delivered an even more remarkable strike in his Everton days.

After returning to Goodison Park in 2017 for a second spell, the former England captain capped his final Premier League hat-trick following a poor clearance by Joe Hart. He hit it with some real purchase too, sending the Everton home crowd wild. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Rooney in his single season back home though, with the Toffees losing out to Burnley in the race for Europa League football.

4 - David Beckham vs Wimbledon (59 yards)

It’s August 1996, one day on from Shawn Michaels fighting Vader at SummerSlam. The UK was recovering from Oasis’s record-breaking gigs at Knebworth, and ruminating over a terrible Olympics campaign. Manchester United headed off to face Wimbledon at Selhurst Park on the opening day of the Premier League season hoping to complete step one on their road to retaining their title crown.

David Beckham had been handed the number 10 shirt previously worn by Mark Hughes and went into the season on the cusp of becoming an England international and, ultimately, a household name. With United 2-0 up and time running out, Beckham spotted Wimbledon’s Neil Sullivan quite a way off his line and unleashed a speculator which looped right over the goalkeeper into the net.

The goal went on to be voted at No.18 in Channel 4’s ‘100 Greatest Sporting Moments’ and became considered by Sky Sports as the best opening-day goal of all-time.

3 - Maynor Figueroa vs Stoke City (60 yards)

Wigan Athletic will go down as one of the more intriguing sides in Premier League history. Their collection of South American players including Antonio Valencia and Hugo Rodallega was impressive, and they remain a real curiosity thanks to the fact they were relegated all of three days after they had won the FA Cup.

In this late noughties classic, Wigan won a foul just behind the halfway line and, with lightning thought and expert technique, Maynor Figueroa belted a quick free-kick from inside his own half which caught Thomas Sorensen flat-footed and stunned the home support. The Honduran left Wigan when they were relegated in 2013 to join Hull City before returning to the DW Stadium on loan in 2014. 

2 - Xabi Alonso vs Newcastle (63 yards)

The BBC described it as “an outrageous strike”. The Independent called it "one of the most audacious goals in Anfield's rich 115-year history". And, thanks to this special effort, Xabi Alonso still holds the unique distinction of netting two consecutive goals from his own half in professional football having previously scored from 70 yards in an FA Cup tie at Luton Town.

Alonso steps up and absolutely thunders a shot with his right peg, leaving Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper scrambling around on his backside as the ball sailed beyond him into the net at the Kop end.

This, in effect, triggered a nine-game winless run for Newcastle in a season in which they reached the round of 16 in the UEFA Cup before getting knocked out by AZ Alkmaar, Sam Allardyce replaced Glenn Roeder and Mike Ashley became the majority shareholder of the club. So in theory, Xabi Alonso helped to turn Newcastle into the club they are today!

1 - Charlie Adam vs Chelsea (66 yards)

Charlie Adam doesn’t appear at the top of many lists. He does feature as Blackpool’s highest transfer fee received, toppling Brett Ormerod off his perch after £6 million move to Liverpool in 2011. On April 4, 2016, Charlie Adam stepped into Stoke City’s XI to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. They might have lost the game 2-1 but, in consolation, Adam scored what he described as “the goal of a lifetime”. Not only that but he managed to break the record for the longest Premier League goal scored by an outfield player and go home with a smug face after chipping one of the most highly-rated goalkeepers around in Thibaut Courtois. Fair play Charles, fair play. 

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