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  • oliver delgado

On celebrating goals

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

My brother once said how much it bothered him the extravagant celebrations of many soccer players after scoring a goal. At that time, his comment did not particularly made me think too much about it. After some time, however I have found how right he was about the issue. In addition to that, I have found that with the exception of a few important soccer players in history there was always a relationship between the quality of the player and the manner in which they celebrated their goals. In most cases, the higher the quality of the player the simpler the celebrations of their goals. A simple gesture on Ronaldo’s index finger was enough celebration for the Brazilian striker who scored goals of all shapes and colors in very important games. What to say about Zinedine Zidane, perhaps the most elegant, effortless and Zen like soccer player of all times who in spite of having scored very important goals in his career always celebrated them in a very discrete manner.

Any soccer fan could probable say the same about other talented players who won almost everything, such as Romario, Platini, Baggio, Rossi, Van Basten, Cruiff, Riquelme, Raul, Messi or Van Nilsteroy. In the other side of the coin there is a huge list of not the most talented players whose fame was also tied with their snobbishness, big ego, and poor professionalism.

In the repertoire of distasteful celebrations by mediocre players we have seen, obscene gestures, obnoxious choreographs, ridiculous amounts of hugs and kisses. It is undeniable the euphoric character of a goal. It represents the highest and most expected moment of emotion in a game. At times the level of emotion or even euphoria is proportional to the importance of the tournament, or the quality of the goal. In such cases, the celebration is marked by high doses of spontaneity that few times could even be repeated such as the euphoric face of Marco Tardelli in the final of 1982 World Cup, Pele’s jump in the final in Sweden, Maradona's runs outside the field in Mexico 1986 or his angry face in front of a camera after coming back from his retirement in 1994. In reality, looking back at such iconic moments, any type of celebration could have been justified by far.

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