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A player celebrating after scoring a goal
In football, a goal celebration is the practice of celebrating the scoring of a goal. The celebration may be performed by the goalscorer (most notably), his or her teammates, the manager or coaching staff and/or the supporters of the team. Whilst referring to the celebration of a goal in general, the term can also be applied to specific actions, such as a player removing his shirt or performing a somersault.


Goal song

A goal gong or goal celebration music is an about 30 to 45 seconds long melody, that is played in sports like football or ice hockey after a goal is scored.

A well know goal song is Bellini's "Samba De Janeiro", which was played after each goal in the UEFA Euro 2008. In North America, "Rock and Roll (Part Two)" of the Glitter Band is also a popular goal song. When played as a goal song, the fans chant out "Hey!" along with the chorus.

In ice hockey, the use of goal songs is very popular. The New York Rangers play the song "Slapshot", which was written by Ray Castoldi, the Music Director at Madison Square Garden.

Common celebrations

  • The scorer running away from teammates who wish to embrace or congratulate him

  • A giant group hug of the players on the pitch with the scorer underneath, or the players jumping on each other shoulders

  • The scorer banging with a fist on his chest

  • The scorer kissing the club/national badge on his or her shirt, to show his or her love for the club/country.

  • The scorer diving onto the grass with arms and legs outstretched. Supposedly first done by Jürgen Klinsmann, shortly after he joined Tottenham Hotspur. Klinsmann was actually performing this goal celebration to satire his own (in his belief unjustified) reputation for diving to win free-kicks and penalties. It became known as "a Klinsmann".

  • The scorer putting a finger to his mouth, as if telling the (opposition) crowd to be quiet.

  • The scorer walking or running away in a nonchalant style with a "cocky" smirk on their face as if to say "I'm the best, that was easy, etc." Another adaptation of this is where the scorer is stands still and will turn or look around with the said look.

  • The scorer sliding on his knees, made famous by former Yugoslavian striker Dragan Mance.

  • The scorer outstreching both arms and running around changing the angle of arms mimicking an airplane. This was made famous by former Norwegian striker Jan Åge Fjørtoft.

  • The scorer kissing the ring finger. Married players are saluting to their wives with this celebration.

  • The scorer rocking his arms from side to side, as though rocking a baby. This usually signifies that the scorer recently became a parent, whether or not for the first time. This was made well-known by Brazilian striker Bebeto (joined by teammates Romário and Mazinho) at the 1994 FIFA World Cup after his quarter-final goal against the Netherlands.

  • The scorer sucking his thumb as a tribute to his child(ren).

  • The scorer pointing towards the sky, either to thank God or to salute to someone who died. Players often wheel away by pointing to the sky for non-religious reasons too.

  • The scorer putting his hands behind his ears as if to listen to the reaction of the crowd more. This is usually done when a player is getting booed during the game and then scores, or if a player returns to score against his former club. Rarely this celebration is aimed at Club staff, players or officials for various internal reasons too.

  • The scorer exhibiting some kind of dancing after the goal, usually joined in by teammates. The first player gaining worldwide notoriety with this was probably Cameroonian veteran Roger Milla on the 1990 FIFA World Cup who celebrated all his four goals by dancing around the corner flag.

  • The scorer performing some kind of acrobatic routine after the goal. The first well-known player to do this was probably Mexican striker Hugo Sánchez in the 1980s, who always celebrated his goals by performing a backflip in honor to his sister, who was a gymnast and participated in the 1976 Olympic Games.

  • The scorer imitating to shoot with some kind of weapon, either aiming towards the sky or to some other virtual target.

  • Teammates congratulating to the scorer by kneeling down and pretending to shine his shoe.

Player or team "trademark" celebrations

  • Diego Maradona is remembered for performing his "Maradona Jump," where he jumped up with both legs bent and pumped his fist to the sky.

  • Zinedine Zidane is remembered, particularly during his last football years, as having a very serious attitude and often not celebrating his goals. He would run back to his own half showing no emotion at all or just clap his hands and shout.

  • Tomas Brolin celebrated his goals with a 360-degree jump in the air.

  • Fabrizio Ravanelli's signature celebration was pulling his shirt over his head and running around the field. Another world class player seen frequently celebrating this way was Iván Zamorano. It is now a bookable offence (see Punishment)

  • Alan Shearer always celebrated by raising his right hand with palm open.

  • Alessandro Del Piero often celebrates a goal by showing his tongue to supporters in a childish manner.

  • Ronaldo slowly jogs around the pitch, whilst waving his right index finger in a "I told you so" fashion. Robert Pires also celebrates in this way.

  • Luca Toni always celebrates by stretching his fingers and waving his hand next to his right ear (motion that signifies "this is crazy" or "that was crazy"), and then closing the same hand into a fist and throwing it in the air.

  • Shefki Kuqi jumps with arms open wide in the air and then falls down in the grass, landing heavily.

  • Mark Bresciano freezes and mimics a statue. He calls this his "Spartacus" goal celebration.

  • Tim Cahill does a boxing celebration at the corner flag, while having his badge in between his teeth. It was told in an interview that he got this from fellow international teammate and close friend, Archie Thompson, who celebrates in a similar fashion.

  • The Aylesbury Unitedmarker team, nicknamed The Ducks, go down on their knees, and waddle in a line, with their elbows flapping.

  • Bas Savage completes a moonwalk after every goal despite wearing cleats which are designed to stop sliding.

Memorable celebrations

  • Arguably the most memorable goal celebration came from Italian midfielder Marco Tardelli who, after scoring Italy's second goal against West Germany in the 1982 World Cup final sprinted into his own half, shaking his fists against his chest, tears pouring down his face, screaming "goal!" as he shook his head wildly. This is also called the "Tardelli's scream" or "l'urlo di Tardelli".

  • The 1982 World Cup also saw the usually quiet Falcão running the pitch screaming with both his hands raised after scoring Brazil's second goal against Italy.

  • At the 1994 FIFA World Cup Diego Maradona ran towards one of the sideline cameras shouting with a distorted face after he scored against Greece. This turned to be Maradona's last international goal for Argentina before testing positive for ephedrine and never playing for his country again.

  • The Greece team at the 1994 World Cup also saw Finidi George of Nigeria running to the corner flag after scoring, kneeling down and imitating a urinating dog.

  • A memorable choreographed celebration came when Paul Gascoigne scored against Scotland during the Euro 1996 championships. He lay on his back while his teammates grabbed water bottles from the touchline and poured water into his open mouth. This celebration mimicked a controversial pre-tournament incident when England players were photographed in a nightclub, sitting in a dentist's chair having alcoholic drinks poured down their throats.

  • Éric Cantona is remembered by many football fans for his celebration he did in the colors of Manchester United against Sunderland during the 1996–97 Premiership season. After chipping the goalkeeper following a great solo effort, he just stood still, stuck out his chest and looked into the crowd.

  • At the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Denmark's Brian Laudrup scored the equalizer against Brazil, then ran to the sidelines and lay down on his side leaning his head on his elbow, as if he had been on the beach.

  • Whilst playing for Liverpool, Craig Bellamy celebrated his goal against Barcelona, simulating a golf swing, due to media speculation into a fight between him and teammate John Arne Riise at a karaoke night near their training ground in Portugalmarker, where he allegedly tried to hit Riise with a golf club.

  • In 2005, Francesco Totti of Roma revealed a "Liberate Giuliana" scripted t-shirt after his goals, campaigning beside Giuliana Sgrena, an Italian journalist who was kidnapped in Iraqmarker. This allegedly advanced the negotiations with the kidnappers, who had Totti as one of their favourite players.

  • At the 2006 World Cup, Italian Fabio Grosso did his best Tardelli impression after scoring the late winner against Germany in the semi-final. With tears in his eyes, he ran into his own half waving his finger shouting "I don't believe it" before shaking his head side to side rapidly and then being hauled to the floor by a number of his team mates.

  • At the 2006 World Cup, Ecuadorian international Kaviedes put a Spiderman mask onto his head after scoring against Costa Rica. This was dedicated to his former teammate Otilino Tenorio, who died in a car accident, and used to celebrate his goals with various masks on his head.

  • Paolo Di Canio made his mark in 2006, when during his period at Lazio, he made a fascist salute to the right-wing fans. He was fined as suspended as a result.


In recent seasons, FIFAmarker have attempted to crack down on some of the more enthusiastic celebrations. If a player incites the crowd and/or takes his shirt off after scoring a goal he is likely to get booked by the referee (e.g., Bastian Schweinsteiger during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Marlon Harewood for West Ham after scoring in the 2006 FA Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough, and Carlos Alberto during the 2004 UEFA Champions League Final). This can cause huge controversy if the player has already been booked, since he would then be sent off. Preston North End midfielder Ross Wallace made quite a habit out of getting sent off after celebrating a goal whilst at Sunderland.

In the 2006–07 season of the Scottish Premier League, Aberdeen played away to Hearts in the third-last game of the season that would greatly determine the outcome of which of the teams finished 3rd and therefore qualified for Europe. In the 90th minute, Barry Nicholson equalised for Aberdeen (that all but secured European qualification for Aberdeen) and took off his shirt celebrating. Having already been booked, he was sent off.

Carlos Tévez for Boca Juniors was even sent off when celebrating a goal against archrivals River Plate during 2004 Copa Libertadores, imitating a chicken, clearly mocking the opposite crowd, in spite of not being booked previously. Similarly, in American women's soccer at school and collegiate levels, the practice of taking the shirt off to celebrate a goal (made popular by Brandi Chastain), has been prohibited. However, some players get around this rule by pulling the hem of their shirts over the head, without taking the shirt off entirely, but this is not always overturned by the referees. Everton midfielder Tim Cahill celebrated scoring his first goal for the toffes at Manchester City in 2004 by pulling his shirt onto his head for a second before pulling it back down onto him. The referee that day was still quick enough to see what had happened, and Cahill, who was already booked for an earlier foul on Joey Barton, went down in history as the first player to be sent off for celebrating a goal. Another player to be sent off for pulling his shirt onto his head after scoring was Internazionale hardman Marco Materazzi in the San Siromarker derby in October 2006 won 4–3 by Inter.

Jumping into the crowd is also a bookable offence ("deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee's permission", as identified in Law 12), one which caused Arjen Robben to be sent off in a Premier League match in 2006. Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack were both shown yellow cards after they jumped into the crowd to celebrate their goals for Chelsea against Portsmouth in the 2006–07 season. Carlos Tévez also got booked when he dived into the crowd in a Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur in 2007. He had also removed his shirt which should have warranted another yellow card, however he was only given a single booking and thus not sent off. The same thing happened to Japanmarker midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura, when he celebrated the goal that gave Celtic the SPL title in the 2006-07 season

In 1999, former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler was fined £60,000 by his club and the FA Premier League for having celebrated his penalty goal against Everton by getting down on all fours and miming the snorting of cocaine off of the white touchline. Although it was seen as Fowler's response to being accused of drug abuse in the tabloid press, then-manager Gérard Houllier famously claimed that he was merely imitating "a cow eating grass" which, Houllier claimed, teammate Rigobert Song had regularly joked about in training.

Players like Paolo di Canio (celebrating his first goal for Wednesday in 1997), Stephen Ireland (celebrating a goal for Manchester City against Sunderland in November 2007) and Robbie Blake (celebrating a late goal for Burnley against Reading in October 2008) dropped their shorts after scoring. Di Canio and Ireland were fined, but the undies Blake wore when he dropped his shorts became available to buy in the Turf Moormarker shop.

Ipswich Town player David Norris received a fine after using a hand cuff gesture to celebrate scoring against Blackpool in November 2008, dedicating the goal to ex-team-mate Luke McCormick who was jailed for death by dangerous driving, although people are never arrested with their arms crossed and held aloft. Everton midfielder Tim Cahill received a similar fine for a similar gesture in a match on 2 March 2008, a similar incident took place in Chelsea versus Middlesbourgh when teammate Salomon Kalou scored a brace amd thereafter crossing hands with teammate Didier Drogba, it was later revealed that he said he wanted to try out a new celebration and not supporting an Ivorian convictionist.

Thierry Henry was fined by UEFA after he removed his Arsenal shirt to reveal a T-shirt reading "To the new-born Kyd." This was a comment directed to his friend, Texas lead singer Sharleen Spiteri, who had just given birth.

Italian and Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso achieved a fair amount of notoriety for his post-match goal celebration during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. After Italy won the final against France, he ran around the pitch without his shorts on until FIFAmarker officials forced him to cover up.

See also


External links

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