As 2012 rolls on towards February, let us look back at some great pieces of soccer trickery that have wowed us in the past few seasons. Teams are beginning to come back from their winter breaks, and the English Premier League continues to roll off fantastic winter matches. Let us only hope that there are more tricks to come.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – No one likes to get nutmegged, and defenders try hard not to open up their legs like this, but this little flick from Ibrahimovic totally catches the defender off guard and puts the Swedish striker free on goal.
5. Luis Suarez – Sure, a simple cut back doesn’t seem like much of a trick. But when you get two defenders to slide like clowns to prevent a cross, and you can stop on a dime and pull the ball back with such ease, well then I’m impressed.
4. Marouane Fellaini – The large afro-haired Belgian isn’t widely known for his trickery but the way he snags the ball from Craig Bellamy here is sure to draw full marks from the judges.
3. Angel di Maria – The mazy-legged Argentinean has been making lots of noise at Real Madrid. This crazy run comes through with a grand left footed cross that resulted in a fine goal. How he keeps from toppling over after it all is striking to me.
2. Lionel Messi – rarely can a player ease the ball past defenders so simply. Messi only needs one touch to get free. This guy could have a top six countdown of his own tricks…every week.
1. Neymar – I know Brazilians are good at the Samba, but this is just ridiculous. He has such supreme wiggle and displays such class as he bounces back and forth over the ball. When the time finally comes to make an actual touch of the ball, the defender is so mesmerized that he can merely drop his head in dismay.
Best Ever – Mario Balotelli – Nothing like going for the ultimate! Mario Balotelli shows us why a bit of humility is necessary for humanity. Nothing short of daring, this bold failure of a move was rightly greeted by boos from the crowd as he was brought off the field in shame. Full
Nicholas Spiller is a freelance soccer writer and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org