Goal celebration

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A player celebrating after scoring a goal.
Group hug after scoring a goal.

In association football, a goal celebration is the practice of celebrating the scoring of a goal. The celebration may be performed by the goalscorer (most notably), his or her teammates, the manager or coaching staff and/or the supporters of the team. Whilst referring to the celebration of a goal in general, the term can also be applied to specific actions, such as a player removing his shirt or performing a somersault.


Goal song[edit]

A goal song or goal celebration music about 30 to 45 seconds long melody, that is played in sports like football or ice hockey after a goal is scored.

The most used goal song is Tom Hark sung by the Piranhas. This is used by Gillingham, Wigan Athletic, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Burnley and Sheffield United, to name a few. A well-known goal song is Bellini's "Samba De Janeiro", which is played after each Bolton Wanderers goal when they play at home and was used as the goal song in Euro 2008. In North America, "Rock and Roll (Part Two)" of the Glitter Band is also a popular goal song. When played as a goal song, the fans chant out "Hey!" along with the chorus.[1]

In ice hockey, the use of goal songs is very popular. A goal by the Montreal Canadiens, on home ice, is followed by U2's Vertigo.[2] The New York Rangers play the song "Slapshot", which was written by Ray Castoldi, the Music Director at Madison Square Garden. The Chicago Blackhawks play 'Chelsea Dagger' by The Fratellis after every home goal.

Common celebrations[edit]

  • The scorer rocking his arms from side to side, as though rocking a baby.[3]
  • The scorer performing some kind of acrobatic routine after the goal. Nigerian footballers are well known for performing backflips after they score a goal, this includes a very famous one performed by Julius Aghahowa[3] at the 2002 FIFA World Cup after he scored a goal against Sweden. Lomana LuaLua was banned from performing backflips by his then-club Portsmouth after injuring one of his feet during a celebration.[4]
  • The scorer imitating to shoot with some kind of weapon, either aiming towards the sky or to some other virtual target. Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane regularly performs a forward roll and finishes by mimicking an archer.[5]
  • Some players who have tattoos on their wrists or forearms will often kiss them to show respect to whoever or whatever the tattoo symbolizes. Alvaro Negredo is an example [6] as is Luis Suarez [7]
  • 'The Thierry Henry' / Henrying - The scorer notably Thierry Henry celebrate simply by propping himself up against the goal post while another hand on the hip, hinting that he's tired; tired of scoring goals or a "been there done that" type of reaction. This immediately went viral in social networks, using the pose to photoshop Henry into appropriate settings, from propping up the leaning tower of Pisa, to helping Muhammad Ali with his punching bag.[8]

Memorable celebrations[edit]

  • Italian midfielder Marco Tardelli, after scoring Italy's second goal against West Germany in the 1982 World Cup final sprinted into his own half, shaking his fists against his chest, tears pouring down his face, screaming "goal!" as he shook his head wildly. This is also called the "Tardelli's scream" or "l'urlo di Tardelli".[9]
  • The 1982 World Cup also saw the usually quiet Falcão running the pitch screaming with both his hands raised after scoring Brazil's second goal against Italy.[10]
  • At the 1994 FIFA World Cup Diego Maradona ran towards one of the sideline cameras shouting with a distorted face and bulging eyes after he scored against Greece. This turned out to be Maradona's last international goal for Argentina; he tested positive for ephedrine and never played for his country again.[11]
  • The Greece team at the 1994 World Cup also saw Finidi George of Nigeria running to the corner flag after scoring, kneeling down and imitating a urinating dog.[11]
  • A memorable choreographed celebration occurred when Paul Gascoigne scored against Scotland during the Euro 1996 championships. He lay on his back while his teammates grabbed water bottles from the touchline and poured water into his open mouth. This celebration mimicked a controversial pre-tournament incident when England players were photographed in a nightclub, sitting in a dentist's chair having alcoholic drinks poured down their throats.[12]
  • After scoring a chip against Sunderland in 1996, Eric Cantona playing for Manchester United celebrated by standing still on the spot, raising his arms aloft, holding his chest out and presenting a blank expression.[13]
  • Six years after missing a penalty in the shootout of the 1990 World Cup semi-finals against Germany, England's Stuart Pearce stepped up to take another kick in the Euro 1996 quarter-finals penalty shootout against Spain. He converted his attempt and celebrated with an emotional screaming outburst.[14]
  • In a 1997 Premiership match between Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle player Temuri Ketsbaia repeatedly and angrily kicked the advertising hoardings at the side of the pitch after ripping off his top and throwing it into the crowd, as well as aggressively pushing away the Newcastle players who tried to hug him in celebration of the goal.[13]
  • Ian Wright was chasing Cliff Bastin's record of 178 goals for Arsenal, and in a Premiership game against Bolton, Wright scored and took off his shirt to reveal a vest underneath with the slogan "Just Done It" (referring to beating the record, and Just Do It, the slogan of Wright's sponsor Nike). Wright had only equalled the record however, and not beaten it but would score again just 5 minutes later to break the record and he revealed the vest again, this time correctly.[15]
  • At the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Denmark's Brian Laudrup scored the equalizer against Brazil, then ran to the sidelines and lay down on his side leaning his head on his elbow, as if he had been on the beach.[11]
  • In February 2011, Scott Brown celebrated his equalising goal in Celtic's 2–2 draw with Rangers by turning to opposition player El Hadji Diouf with his arms outstretched, giving him a vacant stare as if he was taunting him.[17] The celebration, known as "The Broony", has since become a gesture of affection towards Brown by the Celtic support.[18] He was subsequently booked for the incident as it was viewed by the referee as an attempt to antagonise Diouf given the Rangers player's objectionable reputation in British football.[19]


According to the rules of the games (Law 12):

While it is permissible for a player to demonstrate his joy when a goal has been scored, the celebration must not be excessive.[20]

In recent seasons, FIFA have attempted to crack down on some of the more enthusiastic celebrations. If a player incites the crowd and/or takes his shirt off after scoring a goal he is likely to get booked by the referee. This can cause huge controversy if the player has already been booked, since he would then be sent off. However, some players get around this rule by pulling the hem of their shirts over the head, without taking the shirt off entirely, but this is not always overturned by the referees. Some players were receiving fines for dropping their shorts after scoring.

Jumping into the crowd is also a bookable offence ("deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee's permission", as identified in Law 12).[20]

In March 2013, AEK Athens F.C. midfielder Giorgos Katidis made a Nazi salute towards the crowd after scoring the winning goal against Veria F.C.. He was fined €50,000, banned for playing for AEK for the remainder of the season and given a lifetime ban from representing Greece at international level as a result of the gesture.[21][22]

Not celebrating a goal[edit]

Refusing to celebrate a goal or undertaking muted goal celebrations is not unknown and not uncommon in football. In the case of the former, it is often seen when a player scores against a former club, especially one where the player began his career and or had his greatest period of success, or where he first made his name. Goalkeepers who score goals also tend not to celebrate, as a mark of respect to the opposition goalkeeper.

Muted celebration usually occurs when scoring a consolation goal in a match that is otherwise already lost. It also occurs when a large number of goals have been scored by one team in a match, and the result has been put beyond doubt; for later goals, celebrations might be reduced or non existent.

Notable non-celebrations[23][edit]

  • Dennis Law, upon scoring the goal which relegated Manchester United, refused to celebrate his goal.
  • Fabrizio Miccoli, upon scoring for U.S. Città di Palermo against U.S. Lecce, refused to celebrate, breaking down in tears upon doing so. Leece was his hometown club.
  • In 2012, Everton F.C. goalkeeper Tim Howard scored against Bolton Wanderers F.C. from a wind-assisted 102-yard clearance. Despite becoming just the 4th goalkeeper in Premier League history to score a goal, Howard refused to celebrate out of respect for opposition goalkeeper Ádám Bogdán.[24][25][26][27][28]
  • In 2013, Stoke City F.C. goalkeeper Asmir Begović scored after just 13 seconds with a long clearance. Despite becoming just the 5th goalkeeper in Premier League history to score a goal, Begovic refused to celebrate out of respect to opposing goalkeeper Artur Boruc.[29][30][31][32]
  • Frank Lampard, upon scoring for Manchester City against Chelsea, refused to celebrate. Lampard was Chelsea's all-time highest goalscorer.
  • In the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi final, it was noted by several commentators during the match that the German players toned down their celebrations as the goals piled up against Brazil. German player Mats Hummels confirmed that this was deliberate on the part of the German players, out of a desire not to humiliate the Brazilians unnecessarily.[33]


While unusual and somewhat ironic, a variety of football players have managed to injure themselves during celebration: examples include Paulo Diogo (who severed a finger after it got caught in a fence), Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimović,[34] and Fabian Espindola[35] (who celebrated a goal that was later declared offside).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gary Glitter Profile – Music Directory Oka Dayendra Site". dayendra.web.id. Retrieved 7 April 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Habs Goal Song". Montreal Canadiens. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Clive Gifford (2010), "Goal Celebrations", The Kingfisher Football Encyclopedia, Pan Macmillan, p. 29, ISBN 978-0-7534-1961-8 
  4. ^ "LuaLua faces scan on foot injury". BBC News. 23 April 2006. 
  5. ^ http://www.footballfancast.com/football-blogs/the-top-ten-iconic-football-celebrations/attachment/10-robbie-keane
  6. ^ Burt, Jason (26 October 2013). "Alvaro Negredo on why the Premier League is the perfect stage to showcase his talents". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  7. ^ "Luis Suarez reveals double meaning of trademark goal celebration". The Independent (London). 18 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Gallagher, Paul (24 September 2013). "Thierry Henry goal celebration for New York Red Bulls sparks #henrying trend on Twitter". The Independent (London). 
  9. ^ John F. Molinaro (13 May 2010). "World Cup memories: Tardelli's celebration, 1982". CBC Sports. 
  10. ^ Andre Baibich (31 May 2010). "Coca-Cola Memorable Celebrations 11: Falcao Goes Brazil Nuts". goal.com. 
  11. ^ a b c d Jon Carter (26 May 2010). "First XI: World Cup celebrations". ESPN. 
  12. ^ Mark Watson (20 May 2009). "Gascoigne and the dentist's chair – Wembley, 1996". The Guardian. 
  13. ^ a b Scott Murray (14 December 2007). "The Joy of Six: goal celebrations". The Guardian. 
  14. ^ "The hardest men in the Euros". metro.co.uk. 3 June 2008. 
  15. ^ "GGM 22: Wright breaks Bastin's goals record". Arsenal F.C. 30 July 2007. 
  16. ^ Mary Buckheit (13 July 2009). "Brandi Chastain, 10 years later". ESPN. 
  17. ^ Diouf Hits Out At Celtic Captain Brown
  18. ^ http://www.thecelticwiki.com/page/The+Broony The Broony – Celtic Wiki
  19. ^ Why Brown is a great Scott for Diouf wind-up
  20. ^ a b Laws of the Game, 2010/2011, FIFA
  21. ^ "Greek footballer Giorgos Katidis banned for Nazi salute". BBC News. 17 March 2013. 
  22. ^ CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57574753/greek-soccer-player-gets-life-ban-for-nazi-salute/ |url= missing title (help). 
  23. ^ http://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/muted-celebrations-why-van-persies-code-conduct-sets-standard
  24. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/everton/8994222/Everton-goalkeeper-Tim-Howard-refuses-to-get-blown-away-by-freak-goal-over-Boltons-hapless-Adam-Bogdan.html
  25. ^ http://www.espnfc.com/story/1004459/everton-goalkeeper-tim-howard-plays-down-historic-goal
  26. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/football/2012/jan/05/tim-howard-goal-everton-bolton
  27. ^ http://www.statesman.com/news/sports/sports-newsmakers-goalkeeper-scores-refuses-to-cel/nRjS3/
  28. ^ http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/16431991
  29. ^ http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/11/02/stoke-keeper-asmir-begovic-refuses-to-celebrate-despite-scoring-stunning-goal/
  30. ^ http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/24790526
  31. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/10418311/Stoke-City-1-Southampton-1-match-report.html
  32. ^ http://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/440826/Stoke-keeper-Asmir-Begovic-has-a-punt-to-prove
  33. ^ http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2125057-mats-hummels-reveals-germany-decided-not-to-humiliate-brazil-in-second-half
  34. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlXdOjF7n4A/
  35. ^ http://soccer.fanhouse.com/2008/09/09/fabian-espindolas-mls-goal-celebration-gone-wrong/

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