13 of the best goal celebrations of all time: Bebeto, Gazza, Cantona…
Great goals can live long in the memory for football fans – but sometimes all you need to get remembered is a great celebration.
It’s strange how some things stick in your mind. Everyone remembers Bebeto’s ‘rocking the baby’ celebration at USA 94, but can you recall the goal that preceded it? More recently, Peter Crouch’s ‘robot’ earned a place in popular culture – but what could you say about the strike that inspired it?
Here are some of the most memorable celebrations of all time, also featuring the likes of Eric Cantona, Robbie Fowler and, of course, Paul Gascoigne.
Has anything quite so understated ever exuded such magnificent arrogance?
Cantona was the coolest footballer on the planet; he knew it, and he had no qualms in reminding us.
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 25, 2016
Is there anything more joyous than a 38-year-old Cameroon striker dancing with a corner flag after scoring at a World Cup? No, no there is not.
“I’m a fantastic dancer!” Milla proclaimed to The Guardian in 2006, and we’re not going to disagree with him.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 5, 2018
An absolute playground classic. Quite why the sheer thrill of scoring a goal prompted Ravanelli to lift his shirt over his head we’ll never really know.
But the sight of such a fiery, angry character celebrating in such an innocent manner was a joy to behold. FIFA can f**k right off for punishing things like this with a yellow card.
— Samuel Pearce (@samtombo11) March 2, 2015
Jan Aage Fjortoft
Another favourite celebration of all 90s kids, Fjortoft told us it was an elderly lady in the crowd that convinced him to stick with his aeroplane.
“There was a time when I was doing all silly celebrations. But it took me ages to score at Swindon. So, when I finally did, I just did the aeroplane.
“That was the first half, and as I was walking off the pitch at half-time at the County Ground, I looked into the crowd. There was this old lady. She was shouting, screaming to me and doing the aeroplane celebration.
“I thought well if it’s good enough for an 80-year-old, then it’s good enough for me.”
Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) scored his first Premier League goal for Swindon against Tottenham in January ‘94.
He finished the season scoring 12 goals in the last 16 games 👏🔴pic.twitter.com/2sXYOUnXr4
— Football Remind (@FootballRemind) May 13, 2019
Brazil were already credited with putting the ‘Beautiful’ in ‘The Beautiful Game’ – and Bebeto gave the game one of its most cheerful celebrations after scoring against the Netherlands at the 1994 World Cup just days after the birth of his third child.
That tournament was a bit of a stinker, mind.
#9 of the 50 #VFSworldCup Biggest moments – Bebeto gave birth to a celebration! In the ’94 #WorldCup quarter-final between Brazil 🇧🇷and Netherlands 🇳🇱 Bebeto celebrated his goal by making a cradle motion to celebrate the birth of his son pic.twitter.com/qen2E2T2fg
— Vintage Football Shirts (@VFshirts) June 5, 2018
After being regularly accused by Everton fans of taking cocaine, Fowler eventually hit back in typically cheeky fashion, pretending to snort the goal-line after scoring in the Merseyside derby.
Gerard Houllier suggested the striker was just “pretending to eat grass”, but Fowler was still hit with a six-match ban. He’ll still always be God though.
When Robbie Fowler crossed the line with his goal celebration, while snorting it! 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/xq87lnhhGA
— The 90s Were Amazing (@90sdecade) November 28, 2017
Arriving in England already vilified after helping Germany knock England out of the 1990 World Cup, Klinsmann was more than happy to live up to his reputation as a diver – after every time he stuck the ball in the back of the net on the way to being named Player of the Year.
Jurgen Klinsmann. *That* iconic diving celebration.
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 3, 2017
Right, let’s get this straight: English football has never enjoyed a greater two minutes than the 76-78 minute mark of England vs Scotland at Euro 96.
From David Seaman saving Gary McAllister’s penalty, to the ball being lofted upfield, to Gazza running from deep, to Gazza lobbing the ball over Colin Hendry, to Gazza volleying past Andy Goram, to Alan Shearer and Jamie Redknapp grabbing the Lucozade, to Gazza’s prone body and screaming red face getting drenched in the dentist’s chair, to the whole country believing football’s coming home.
Pure footballing ecstasy.
— 90s Football (@90sfootball) March 28, 2019
Nothing about Peter Crouch’s appearance suggests ‘professional footballer’, let alone ‘avid body popper’ – but you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Not content with becoming England’s secret weapon in 2006, Crouch became a national hero thanks to his pissed-uncle-at-a-wedding moves.
After bringing back the robot to celebrate his 100th Premier League goal, Crouch said: “It felt a bit stiff to be honest. It’s been ten years, I think I’ll have to retire it. Weddings and parties only now!”
Peter Crouch scored his 100th Premier League goal.
That calls for a robot celebration. pic.twitter.com/VKdL6gk1xy
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 1, 2017
Trademark celebrations are often symptomatic of a lack of imagination – see Shearer, Alan and Ronaldo, Cristiano – but you have to credit Keane for his commitment to amateur gymnastics.
This only got better as Keane got older yet continued to celebrate like he was still a giddy teenager.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 20, 2018
In a world of media-trained players and anodyne interviews, a bit of personality goes a long way in football, and Bullard’s cheeky persona endeared himself to plenty of supporters.
His crowning glory undoubtedly came against Manchester City, recreating Phil Brown’s cringeworthy on-pitch grilling of his players.
“It was a fantastic celebration,” Brown admitted. “Great comedy is about timing.”
Happy Birthday Jimmy Bullard. Never forget this celebration! pic.twitter.com/r4bovJw1ku
— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) October 23, 2014
As if Rooney getting knocked out in a boxing match with Phil Bardsley isn’t funny enough, his response to public outcry after the video was leaked to the media was even more outstanding.
Rooney has divided opinion like few other players in recent years, but you had to doff your cap to him on this one.
— Tom (@tom_cooperr) March 10, 2019
Already the hardest looking man in Glasgow, Brown could hardly have endeared himself better to the Celtic faithful by: A) scoring a beauty in the Old Firm derby, and B) celebrating in the face of El-Hadji Diouf – who infamously spat at Hoops supporters during a UEFA Cup tie in 2003.
“It was the best yellow card I have had in my life,” Brown went on to write in his autobiography.