Since the adidas Predator revolutionised football boots in 1994, it has been sported by some of the world’s best players.
To mark the release of the new adidas Team Mode Pack that includes the Predator 18+ and X18+, FourFourTwo Arabia looks back on some of the most memorable goals by stars that have worn the famous three stripes across the years.
Almost exclusively, these are their most iconic, career-defining goals…
John Collins (Celtic) v Rangers
Scottish Premier Division
Ibrox – April 30, 1994
The first ever recorded goal scored by a player wearing the revolutionary new adidas Predators. And what better way to do it than with a stunning free-kick against your fiercest rivals.
John Collins’ brilliant left-footed free-kick delivered on the Predator promise of heightened control and curl to give Celtic the lead after 28 minutes of the Old Firm Derby at Ibrox.
There would be no happy ending for Collins, however.
The match ended 1-1 after Oleksiy Mikhailichenko’s 79th minute equaliser, and Rangers went on to win the Scottish Premier Division title for the fifth time in a row.
David Beckham (England) v Greece
World Cup Qualifier
Old Trafford – October 6, 2001
The England captain’s peerless ability to curl the ball was immortalised in the 2002 film “Bend it like Beckham”, and never was his genius with a football more needed than with this incredible goal against Greece the previous year.
With England losing 2-1 at Old Trafford in the final World Cup qualifier, it looked like Sven-Goran Eriksson’s men would have to progress through the play-off route if they were to play in Korea and Japan in 2002.
When all seemed lost, up stepped Beckham in the 93rd minute to score his most famous goal (wearing the Preditor Precision, of course) and spark hysterical scenes of celebrations among England fans.
Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid) v Bayer Leverkusen
Champions League Final
Hampden Park – May 15, 2002
The greatest goal ever scored in a Champions League final, bar none.
As player and coach, Zinedine Zidane has won everything there is to win. The World Cup, the European Championship, Champions League titles; you name it, Zidane has more than likely had a profound impact on it.
Yet few individual moments can compare with his once-in-a-lifetime strike in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen.
Real Madrid had taken an eighth minute lead through Raul, only to be pegged back five minutes later by Lucio equaliser.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, Roberto Carlos lobbed the ball into the Glasgow sky and as it came down it was met by an astonishing volley from Zidane. The ball flew past a bamboozled Hans-Jorg Butt and Madrid were in the lead again.
With one magical, balletic swing of his left boot, the French master had won the Champions League final for the Spanish giants.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) v Olympiacos
Champions League group stage
Anfield – December 8, 2004
Few would argue this was the most important, and technically best, goal scored by Steven Gerrard throughout his career.
Without this moment of genius from the Liverpool captain in the 2004-05 Champions League group stage match against Greek side Olympiacos, there would have been no miracle in Istanbul.
With three minutes left on the clock, Liverpool’s 2-1 lead was not enough for them to progress to the round of 16.
Gerrard, as ever, stepped up to save the day with a superlative half-volley at a hysterical Anfield.
With the sense of timing that epitomised his career, Gerrard had merely saved Liverpool from the ignominy of being eliminated in the group stages.
Six months later, his rescue act would take on legendary status as he led Liverpool to glory in the greatest night of his career, and arguably the club’s ever.
Paul Pogba (France) v Croatia
World Cup Final
Luzhniki Stadium – July 15, 2018
How they doubted him, and how he answered them.
Paul Pogba came into the 2018 World Cup in Russia as one of the most scrutinised footballers on the planet. His every move, pass, shot or haircut was painstakingly analysed, and very often criticised.
But having had an inconsistent season with Manchester United, Pogba became increasingly liberated as France progressed further and further in the tournament.
In the end he proved to be the driving force in his country’s 4-2 win over Croatia in the final.
With Didier Deschamps’ team leading 2-1 after the break, but looking far from secure, Pogba brilliantly curled a left-footed third to all but settle the final.
Few begrudged him the endearing scenes of joy with his colleagues and family after the final whistle saw France crowned world champions.
This feature was first published in August 2018