The evolution of the goal celebration | Virgin Media

The evolution of the goal celebration


Picture the scenario. You’ve just scored a goal in front of an adoring crowd and now it’s time for the all-important celebration. But what are you going to do?

Commemorating the moment the ball hits the back of the net has turned into an art form all its own, with players going to extreme lengths to rejoice in the most outlandish of ways. With a whopping six live Premier League matches on Virgin TV this week – including the Merseyside derby on Sky Sports and Chelsea’s clash with Manchester City on BT Sport – there are bound to be all manner of weird and wonderful celebrations on the box.

But are we likely to see any of these classics? From the honourable handshake to players losing their marbles, come with us as we size up the good, the bad and the downright baffling celebrations from down the years…

1. The noble handshake


Let’s start our journey way back in the 50s. This was a time when footballers were gentlemen, when burying your true feelings under a stuffy facade really was the best thing to do if you wanted to avoid a clip around the ear. Scored a goal? There was only one course of action: to celebrate with all the sedate decorum of a geography teacher at a Christmas party.

2. The freak-out


Sometimes you’ve just got to throw off the oppressive shackles of this cruel world and let yourself go. Diego Maradona’s infamous celebration at the 1994 World Cup set the bar incredibly high for footballing lunatics everywhere. The wild eyes, the confrontational flick of the head, the whole bring-it-on shtick – this has it all.

3. The group hug


A classic. As heart-warming now as when it was gracefully deployed back in the day, watching a group of players bask in their collective joy is guaranteed to warm the coldest of hearts. It’s a party that everyone’s invited to. Except for the opposition.

4. The Kidiaba


Now you’re talking. Whether he’s riding an imaginary horse or trying to wipe something suspicious from his shorts, Congolese goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba knows the value of a good celebration. Full marks for vanity here; while his teammates are enjoying themselves down the other end of the pitch, he’s willing to steal all the limelight with this beauty.

5. The dab


Another modern phenomenon, the dab has taken the footballing world by storm. We have no idea what it symbolises, but this robotic dance move is sure to get you street cred wherever you go. Try it for yourself the next time you’re on the dance floor. We guarantee you’ll be the centre of attention.

6. The silly handshake


Modern footballers are easy targets in so many ways. From the eye-watering wages to the embarrassing dives, you could craft an entire stand-up routine from their antics. Celebrations like this from Harry Kane and Dele Alli certainly don’t help. Imagine, just for a moment, two grown men actually setting aside time to practise this baffling monstrosity on the training ground…

7. The head through a dugout



This week’s live Premier League football

Liverpool v Everton, Saturday, 12.30pm, Sky Sports 1/HD (CH 511/501)
Southampton v Bournemouth, Saturday, 5pm, BT Sport 1/HD (CH 531/527)
Swansea City v Middlesbrough, Sunday, 1.30pm, Sky Sports 1/HD (CH 511/501)
Arsenal v Manchester City, Sunday, 3.30pm, Sky Sports 1/HD (CH 511/501)
Manchester United v Everton, Tuesday, 7.15pm, BT Sport 1/HD (CH 531/527)
Chelsea v Manchester City, Wednesday, 7.15pm, BT Sport 1/HD (CH 531/527)