There’s plenty to love about football. The hypnotizing patterns that emerge. The crisp, geometric passing. The songs wafting in from the terraces. Moments of elation and utter despair. The feeling of pinning all your hopes on whatever happens over the course of 90 minutes. So much joy and dread to be found in the game.
But let’s be honest here. The goals are pretty great.
It was hard picking just 20 goals that stood out this year, but we gave it our best shot.
20. Lionel Messi vs Sporting Gijon
This daisy-cutter from outside the box marked a huge milestone in Lionel Messi’s career as he scored his 300th career goal. Definitely one of those moments that makes you glad to be around at this part of soccer history.
19. Radja Nainggolan vs Wales
This was a big moment in one of the best games of Euro 2016. Top left corner from 30 yards. Gorgeous.
18. Kenny Miller vs Queen Of The South
36-year-old Kenny Miller hit this incredible dipping volley from 18 yards, proving that you’re never too old to do something great.
17. Christian Bolaños vs Sporting Kansas City
One of the best goals in MLS last season. A leap, a side-foot flick, and into the upper 90. Brilliant.
16. Javi Gómez vs CD Toledo
We like finding goals from lower-league and amateur competitions, and this gem from Spain’s third division was pretty special.
15. Carlos Kameni vs Málaga (OG)
Obviously, own goals are embarrassing for all parties, and we don’t usually like to feature them unless they’re truly spectacular. Kameni punching the ball into his own net definitely meets that criteria.
14. Luis Suárez vs Espanyol
This is a pretty recent entry but it well deserves a place on this list. While Suárez got the goal, it was the setup from Iniesta and Messi that makes this so brilliant.
13. Christian Benteke vs Gibraltar
Not the most thrilling or aesthetically-pleasing goal you’ll ever see, but at 8.1 seconds this strike was good enough to break the record for fastest goal scored in competitive international play.
12. Jesús Corona vs Venezuela
This unlikely strike from Tecatito bailed Mexico out of a potential embarrassing situation against Venezuela in the Copa América Centenario. The whole sequence is just a thrill to watch.
11. Sammy Ndjock vs Minnesota United (OG)
Like the best own goals, this is one that’s almost too painful to watch. And then you end up watching it a few more times anyway.