Levante’s revolutionary “twin free-kick” routine fails miserably

Just like they drew it up!

Levante found themselves down 1-0 to Villareal in the final minutes of stoppage time this past Saturday when the perfect chance for a late equalizer presented itself - a free kick roughly 20 yards out from goal. But rather than attempting a straightforward, direct free kick with a point on the line, Levante’s Victor Casadesus and Ruben Garcia decided this was the perfect opportunity to try out a cunning, new playground routine.

Both players ran up to the ball simultaneously looking to deceive the wall and goalkeeper, which sounds like a good idea. But apparently they failed to tell each other who was supposed to actually kick the ball, and so they both did, resulting in this miserable fail (not to mention zero points for Levante.)

Communication is key, lads.

H/T Pies


Messi does a ‘Messi’

Coming off a loss that saw Barcelona drop out of first place, Lionel Messi quickly turned the page with a stunning free kick against Almeria:

Remember when Messi didn’t win the Ballon d’Or?

Next time you feel down or that life is unfair, just remember this: we have at least ten more years of Messi. Ten more years of his free kicks. We are so spoiled.


Brentford player hustles opponents with tricky free kick routine

Swindon Town, you got hustled!

Brentford FC’s Sam Saunders and Jake Bidwell came up with a conniving free kick routine that helped defeat League One rivals Swindon a few weeks back on Boxing Day.

Displaying some self-deprecating gamesmanship, Saunders preposterously fell to his knees in the run-up to taking the kick, got back up, and moments later smashed the ball into the top corner, stunning both the opponents and the fans. Even sweeter, Brentford ended up winning by the one-goal margin, 3-2.


Nakamura knocks bride and groom off a wedding cake

Japanese game shows never cease to provide us with golden entertainment. Today’s example: Free kick master Shunsuke Nakamura attempting to knock a bride and groom off of the top of a wedding cake.

It’s no secret that Nakamura has a spectacular ability to hit inch-perfect free kicks.

So why not see if he can do the near-impossible and hit a small cake topper off of a fake wedding cake that moves up and down and is obstructed by balloons in just 10 minutes? Simple.

Well, not exactly. Even Nakamura needed several attempts and even a little extra time until he eventually nailed it:

We’re not exactly sure what the stakes were here, but Nakamura couldn’t have been more relieved to have finally hit his target. We wonder what wacky challenge he’ll attempt next.

(Via r/soccer)


Zlatan: I didn’t applaud Ronaldo’s hat trick (With video!)

Comments made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic made the rounds on Thursday, with the Swedish talisman denying reports he applauded Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable hat trick.

“Was I applauding Ronaldo? No, I was just trying to encourage my team-mates,” Ibrahimovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport, via the London Evening Standard.

"I clapped my hands to cheer them up and motivate them for the last few minutes.

Lucky for us, there’s video evidence to prove it:

This video shows Zlatan and Ronaldo’s reactions to their respective goals, and it’s quite telling. Considering you can see Ibra clapping his hands and encouraging teammates after CR7’s first and second goals, it seems the Swede’s side of the story holds water.

But there’s more to be seen in this video. It really should be enjoyed in its entirety, but some of our favorite moments:

  • Ronaldo glancing up to see the replay of his first goal, because who wouldn’t want to see that again (49 second mark)?
  • A two-fer! Ronaldo’s utter disbelief when Zlatan heads in his first, and Ibra’s steely stare at Pepe after scoring (2:25 mark).
  • An upset Cristiano attempting to spit on the ground after Zlatan scores his free kick, but hocking a nice rope of saliva onto his chin.
  • Pepe getting pulled off the Portuguese pile after Ronaldo’s hat trick (5:35 mark).

Let’s hope these two match up again real soon, and more videos like this emerge.

(h/t 101GreatGoals)


Take your pick: Champions League goal of the day

Hegeler belts beautiful free kick

Mitroglou stripes sensational shot to notch hat trick

Bulut tucks in late goal in thriller

My, what an eventful day in the Champions League. Plenty of goals to go around, but we’ve picked out what we believe are the best three. Which goal is the best of the best, though? That’s for you to decide.

Is it Jens Hegeler’s wonderfully stroked free-kick curler to give Bayer Leverkusen all three points in the closing seconds against Real Sociedad?

Perhaps it’s Olympiakos forward Kostas Mitroglou long-range bullet to seal his hat trick, and the win, against Anderlecht?

Or does Umut Bulut’s equalizer for Galatasaray vs. Juventus to claw out a draw steal the show?

Choose for yourselves!


German fourth-division team pulls off masterful free kick

Talk about a sneak attack.

Over the weekend, German fourth-tier side Rot-Weiss Essen pulled off this inventive free kick against Wattenscheid 09.

With a free kick just outside of the top of the box, six Essen players huddle over the ball, seemingly debating who will take the kick. Then, all chaos breaks loose. Or so it appears.

Two players make a run at the ball, stopping before they run into each other. Their teammates turn in frustration, evidently upset and embarrassed at the squandered chance.

In the midst of the confusion, Benedikt Koep (lucky No. 13!) sneaks in to bend a left-footed curler past the Wattenscheid keeper.

Huzzah! What a goal! The good news for Essen is the goal knotted the score at 2-2, which wound up being the final result. The bad news for Essen is that there’s no way this sort of trickery will ever work again.

Or so we assume.

(h/t 101GreatGoals)


Leighton Baines’ 2-for-1 free kick special helps Everton stay undefeated


(Photo: Action Images)

Newsflash: Leighton Baines is quite alright at set pieces.

The diminutive, yet prolific fullback, scored on a pair of second-half free kicks on Saturday to help Everton past West Ham United. Each of Baines’ golazos cancelled out leads by the Hammers, ere Romelu Lukaku produced a late winner for the Toffees. After Liverpool’s loss, Everton are now the only Premier League team to remain unbeaten, and they primarily have Baines to thank.


Ronaldinho scores two free kick golazos in same match


Must be the new teeth!

Ronaldinho continues to dazzle in Brazil for Atletico Mineiro, scoring not one, but two free kicks to earn the home side a point against Fluminese. The first of his golazos came in first-half injury time with Mineiro down 1-0.

Fluminese took the lead again later in the match, making Ronaldinho have to produce another picture-perfect free kick late in the match to save his team a point. What a chore!

Mineiro are just a couple months removed from winning the Copa Libertadores for the first time, but have struggled so far in the new season. If it wasn’t for Ronaldinho, who now has five goals in eight games, they would be even lower than their current 13th-place position. In fact, Dinho’s goals have ended up yielding five points for the team. Without them, Mineiro would be in 18th place!