Patrice Evra vs. Bayern Munich and 20 Great Goals by Full Backs
Manchester United might have been knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, but—for a few seconds at least—Patrice Evra's thunderbolt effort gave United fans real hope that they were going to pull off an unexpected and spectacular win.
United led for less than a minute before Bayern equalised and went on to win 3-1, but Evra's goal will be remembered as one of the most well-struck efforts of the season.
Not bad for a left-back getting forward for one of the first times in the game.
Evra is not alone in scoring a sensational goal from full-back, and here are 20 of the best from his fellow wide defenders.
Evra vs. Bayern
We may as well kick off with our title goal, Patrice Evra's thunderbolt against Bayern Munich.
The United man ran from deep to connect with a misplaced cross that had evaded everybody in the penalty area—striking the ball first time from just outside the penalty box and finding the top corner of Manuel Neuer's goal.
A stupendous effort.
Roberto Carlos vs. France
Everyone knows this one will be in, so let's get it out of the way quickly.
It is, quite simply, one of the best-struck free-kicks of all time. Roberto Carlos bent in this amazing effort from range for Brazil past Fabian Barthez in le Tournoi, an international friendly competition.
You've probably seen it 200 times already, but it's still so watchable.
John Arne Rise vs. Manchester United
There have been a few spectacular goals between Liverpool and Manchester United down the years, but this thudding free kick from left-back John Arne Riise could challenge them all.
The Norwegian ran onto a touch from Didi Hamann and unleashed a howitzer into the far top corner that crashed in off the crossbar.
Oh, and it's Barthez in goal again, coincidentally. You can watch the video here.
Giovanni van Bronkhorst vs. Uruguay
Onto the World Cup now, and Dutch captain Giovanni van Bronkhorst's ripsnorter from range against Uruguay during the teams' 2010 semi-final.
The left-back gave his team the lead with the effort, which he hit as straight as an arrow past Fernando Muslera, right into the top corner and in off the post.
Leading by example indeed.
Josimar vs. Poland
Full-backs don't only hit the ball hard from a long way out, you know. Especially if they're Brazilian, like Josimar.
Another World Cup goal, this time from back in 1986, right-back Josimar danced his way through no less than four challenges down the right channel, into the penalty area and fired a brilliant looping effort over the keeper.
A truly great goal—one of only two he scored for the national team.
Philipp Lahm vs. Costa Rica
World Cups can sometimes take a few games to get firing, to see the nerves settle and the hosts get to grips with the expectancy and pressure on them.
Not Germany. They opened the 2006 World Cup with a spectacular strike inside five minutes, from their then left-back, Philipp Lahm.
That's how you open up a World Cup.
Lahm, of course, was directly opposite our opening scorer Evra in Wednesday's Bayern-United showdown, playing at right-back and later in midfield.
Roberto Carlos vs. Tenerife
How do you score a goal from 20 metres out with a first time strike on the run, laterally and along the byline? Like, right on the byline?
You'd have to be Roberto Carlos, that's how.
Andreas Brehme vs. Holland
There's not much love lost between the Netherlands and Germany in a football sense. Andreas Brehme knew how to find the net in a World Cup from full-back and even scored the winning goal in the 1990 final, but here he is against West Germany's great rivals earlier on in the same tournament.
No thunderbolts here, this was a stylish and deliberate curled effort from one side of the penalty box right into the far corner of the goal.
Nelinho vs. Italy
Sometimes it pays to attempt something so extraordinarily improbable that people won't possibly believe you meant it.
That's the case with Nelinho, who smacked in this outrageous shot in the 1978 World Cup for Brazil against Italy.
How many goals get scored from that angle, from that distance, with the outside of the boot? Not many.
Paolo Maldini vs. Liverpool
Here's another goal from a left-back requiring marvellous technique and timing.
This is the ageless Paolo Maldini volleying in a goal inside 60 seconds of the 2005 UEFA Champions League final to put AC Milan 1-0 up against Liverpool.
Of course that was just the beginning of the story, and the greatest finals of the modern age.
Dani Alves vs. Real Madrid
Another goal, another Brazilian. This is Barcelona's Dani Alves, scoring a thunderbolt in El Clasico against Real Madrid.
A free-kick was only blocked out to the opposite edge of the area and, running in like a steam train, Alves lashed it first time into the far top corner, beating a full-length dive from Iker Casillas.
Postage stamp stuff.
Erik Edman vs. Liverpool
Nothing first-time about this one.
Erik Edman wasn't known for, well, much of anything at all really, during his time at Spurs, but this missile against Liverpool will live long in the memory.
The left-back had time to take a touch, look up, take aim and then unleash hell from about 40 yards out.
You can see the goal here.
Maicon vs. Genoa
We could have created a list dedicated to Maicon goals because he's scored that many thunderbolts, but this one against Genoa has both power and finesse.
An outside of the boot clip from 25 yards seemed almost effortless for the right-back, but it flew in like a rocket.
Robert Jarni vs. Sturm Graz
Here's Croatian left-back Robert Jarni pitching in with a spectacular strike, scoring for Real Madrid against Sturm Graz in the Champions League.
The Austrian side repelled the first attack, but left Jarni in entirely too much space to pick a shot from 25 yards.
Carlos Alberto vs. Italy
No list of great goals, let alone from just full-backs, would be complete without Carlos Alberto's goal for Brazil against Italy in the World Cup final in 1970.
A fantastic team move showcasing skill, technique, invention and vision came to a crashing end as the right-back powered onto Pele's lay-off and blasted a low, fizzing shot into the far corner, on the angle from 15 yards.
It's one of the most iconic goals in World Cup history.
John Arne Riise vs. Chelsea
A second goal for Riise in our countdown, of a very different nature this time.
This goal came in the opening minutes of the 2005 League Cup final. A cross from the right found the left-back surging into space inside the penalty area, with Riise showing great technique to volley back across goal and into the far corner of the net.
Roberto Carlos vs. Argentina
The third and final appearance of Roberto Carlos.
We've tried to spread out the names and goals, but when someone strikes the ball as spectacularly as the former Brazilian left-back did, it's hard to limit him to just one or two.
This goal came in a qualifier for the 2006 World Cup, an arcing, dipping free-kick with plenty of pace and power behind it.
Maynor Figueroa vs. Stoke City
If Erik Edman's goal was unexpected, this from Maynor Figueroa was downright ridiculous.
Spotting goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen off his line, the Honduran left-back rolled up to strike a free-kick first-time from inside his own half of the pitch! The audacious effort was spot on, lobbing the keeper and landing perfectly in the back of the net.
You can see this strike here.
Maxwell vs. Parma
Now playing for PSG in France, Maxwell has done the rounds with plenty of big clubs including Barcelona and Inter.
While playing for the Italian side he made his name as a left-sided player who was able to break forward into space at pace, though he didn't score goals very often. This, his first for the club, was voted as one of the goals of the season.
Great technique, control, skill and finishing.
Aleksander Kolarov vs. Wales
We'll finish up with a much more recent goal and another absolute humdinger of a long-range strike.
This is Manchester City's Aleksander Kolarov, in action for his nation Serbia against Wales in an international game.
Given far too much room and time on the ball to line up his effort, the left-back hit a stonking effort from over 25 yards into the far top corner.