Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Glentoran goal ace Burrows leads applause for Ibrahimovic’s stunning strike

The Irish League star whose stunning finish was voted as one of the top 10 in the world in 2010 has branded Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s amazing overhead kick as an ‘unbelievable goal.’

Matty Burrows, whose amazing mid-air back-heeled volley for Glentoran against Portadown in October 2010 has been viewed almost five-and-a-half million times on YouTube, put the Swede’s wonderful finish in Wednesday night’s 4-2 win over England down to the sharp instincts that he possesses.

Burrows, who is now with Glenavon, was shortlisted for Fifa’s Puskas Award, for the best goal of the year — a prize that Ibrahimovic cannot grasp because voting the gong opened at 2pm on Wednesday — before his sensational strike.

“Given that a number of votes have already been cast for this year's award, the select committee for the Puskas Award may not, at this stage, include an additional nominee,” Fifa said in a statement.

But that disappointing timing didn’t take the shine off the goal as far as Burrows is concerned.

“I was watching the match and when he scored the goal I was laughing because I have never seen anyone score a goal like that before,” said Burrows. “It was an unbelievable goal.

“It’s an instinctive thing as a striker. When the ball comes to you you’ve a split second to think about what you’re going to do and you just react to that. After scoring a hat-trick already he’ll have been full of confidence.

“He was obviously right to have a go after what happened.”

After his Fifa nomination Burrows was flown to Zurich for a gala awards ceremony where he rubbed shoulders with Cristiano Ronaldo, met many of the stars of Spain’s World Cup win earlier that year and his camera was filled with pictures of him alongside all of Europe’s major players.

“I don’t know if it’s really for me to say whether Ibrahimovic’s goal was better than mine against Portadown, but it was incredible,” he said.

“People still talk to me about my goal, my team-mates ask me what it was like to go to the World Player of the Year dinner and things. It was a night I’ll never forget.

“People have said that Messi or Ronaldo wouldn’t have scored a goal like mine.

“I don’t know about that, but I don’t think they would have scored a goal the same as Ibrahimovic’s.

“Messi probably would have tried to bring the ball down and dribbled it past the defenders and into the net. Ronaldo probably would have done the same.”

And but for the width of a crossbar Burrows might have had his sights on the Fifa award again.

“We were playing against Dergview in a cup match a few weeks ago. I’d my back to goal as the ball dropped to me, in a similar position to Ibrahimovic was in on Wednesday night,” said Burrows.

“I tried an overhead kick, hitting it with as much power as I could and it came back off the crossbar.”

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Rademal Falcao are among the contenders being voted for by visitors to fifa.com for the goal-den award announced on January 7.

Unforgettable goal by bewildering Swede, but it’s not the best

By Steven Beacom

Outrageous goal, wasn't it? Zlatan Ibrahimovic's wonder strike against England really was something else.

His other three in the 4-2 win on Wednesday, when Steven Gerrard won his 100th cap, weren't too shabby either, but number four was one that made you just sit back, savour and applaud.

It was a glorious effort and cheered me up a little watching it on TV yesterday morning following another frustrating experience at Windsor Park where Northern Ireland could only draw with Azerbaijan.

Executing an overhead kick is a mighty difficult skill in itself, so to score one from 30 yards out is astonishing.

We can only admire the vision, invention and guile of the player and his confidence to try it from that distance in the first place.

Of course Joe Hart's goalkeeping was dreadful, coming out of his area and failing to clear properly, leaving the striker an empty goal to aim for, but even so for Ibrahimovic to score from where he was in the manner that he did was bewildering.

A bit like the man himself — Zlatan is either awesome or awful on a football pitch. There's no middle ground.

I remember our own columnist Stephen Craigan marking him out of two Euro qualifiers home and away when Northern Ireland beat and drew with Sweden.

Unlike against England, Ibrahimovic just didn't fancy it.

Was his overhead kick the best international goal ever? Tough call. I'd still have Argentina's Diego Maradona v England (1986 World Cup, the second one), Brazil's Carlos Alberto v Italy (1970 World Cup final) and Holland's Marco van Basten v Russia (Euro ’88 final) ahead of it, but I reckon Zlatan's overhead kick was better than Pele's in Escape to Victory, and like all of the above one football lovers will never forget.

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