One of the most difficult arts in soccer is the ability to take the ball past a defender in a 1 on 1 situation. Mastering a variety of tricks will make any player much more successful at easing past opponents and provides great opportunities to score goals and win games. The following tricks will add wonders to your game if you learn them:
Barcelona star Andres Iniesta has won more than his fair share of trophies both with his club, Barcelona, and country, Spain. His greatest moment was his goal deep into extra time in the 2010 World Cup Final against the Netherlands. One fine move Iniesta has learned is the Cruyff turn which allows a player to unexpectedly change direction and breeze past a defender. Iniesta performs it perfectly and the move to escape from pressure.
The Step Over
The other major club in Spain is Real Madrid. Their star, Christiano Ronaldo, has perfected the art of the step-over, or the scissor move. By faking an outward move of the ball with your leg, the defender is tempted to follow your foot, which allows you to transition the ball in the opposite direction. Ronaldo has such skill that he often performs three or four scissors before deciding on which way to go. Using his speed during the move, defenders are often bamboozled until Ronaldo finds some space to make a play. Notice how much room he has at the end of this video to play in a cross. Perhaps keep it a bit simpler though, don't do too many step overs or tricks, otherwise you'll end up on your butt.
The Roulette Spin
Zinedine Zidane is arguably the greatest French soccer player of all time. A World Cup champion in 1998, he also played many years at Real Madrid. One move he perfected was the 360 step over, or the Zidane Roulette. By jumping ahead of the ball and pivoting yourself around, the move helps you block off the defender from the ball. Using your momentum, the other foot drags the ball forward and allows you to steal past the defender. As the video displays, Zidane was a master of this move and utilized it countless times:
The Fake Shot
A rival of Zidane for best French player would be Thierry Henry. The striker found fame and fortune at Arsenal where his sensational goal-scoring ability has become legendary. A move he perfected was the fake shot. Used in the following video, Henry makes a long run to the opponent’s 18yd box. To find space, he opens up his body as if to shoot, which draws the defender in for a block. However, it is all a disguise as Henry pushes the ball to the left to find space and take a more calculated effort. Take a look at the video here.
The next star striker of Brazil seems to be Neymar. The player has been linked to all the top European clubs such as Chelsea and Real Madrid. However, he will remain at Santos for the time being, as his deal is currently set to expire after the 2014 World Cup. A move he has perfected is the nutmeg. When a defender’s legs are open a little bit too wide, he slips the ball through and runs around to collect at the other end. A defender is usually caught flat-footed and humiliated by such a move. In this video, Neymar actually nutmegs two defenders and even utilizes a pullback Cruyff move to complete his first:
Don't Over Do It
However, don't over do it with all the feints and tricky, even Cristiano Ronaldo sometimes tries to do too many moves and ends up falling on his butt instead. Watch. Oops.
Nicholas Spiller is a freelance soccer writer and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.