It’s the second part of The Cult of Calcio’s goal celebrations series. After ranking the best celebrations of the modern era (2010 – 2020) in part one, it’s time to go one decade back (2000 – 2009) and remember the top 10 Serie A goal celebrations of an incredible era that witnessed some incredible heights and shocking lows for Italian football. So without further ado, we present you our chosen list, which happens to include some of the greatest names in football history.
#10 – Francesco Totti – The Thumb-Sucking
We kick-off the list with arguably the biggest name calcio during the Noughties. While Francesco Totti had his fair share of great celebrations during his illustrious career (mostly against Lazio), this list is all about recurring goal celebrations, and Er Pupone‘s signature since 2006 had been the thumb sucking.
The Roma captain wasn’t the first to adopt this ritual and definitely not the last, but he managed to make it his own with his incredible stardom and effortless charm. And although it was believed that this celebration is a dedication to his children since it was adopted around the time when his first son was born, here’s what Francesco’s wife Ilari Blasi had to say about the matter:
Everyone thinks it’s about the children, because children are known for doing these sorts of things with the fingers, however, in this case, it relates to me.
I have this defect, which I do with my thumb all the time, so therefore, in reality, Francesco does it for me.
Well as you can see, even rich families have their arguments.
#9 – Ronaldo – Finger Wag
Today’s kids might not want to believe it, but around 20 years ago there was another footballing icon who dared to call himself Ronaldo. And yes he was quite good too.
Whilst his original celebration from the ’90s ended up causing some religious controversy, Ronaldo’s finger wag goal celebration was a simpler one. Admittedly it wasn’t the most creative, but for people who grew up watching Il fenomeno, the sight of him running while waving his finger after destroying yet another hapless defense remains an unforgettable memory.
#8 – Filippo Inzaghi – The Screaming Run
How come that a man with limited physical and technical abilities like Filippo Inzaghi was able to become one of the deadliest strikers of his generation? Some would argue that it’s all thanks to his tactical shrewdness and smart movement, while others would point out to his dedication and hard work.
But here’s another element that is often overlooked – His passion for goals – Every time the former Milan forward scored a goal, he would run around the pitch screaming with hands wide open like his life dependent on it. For Super Pippo, it never really mattered whether the goal was an “ugly” one or scored by “fluke,” they all counted the same, and thus they were all celebrated with the same passionate and spontaneous way.
#7 – Cristiano Doni – Heads Up
A forgotten gem from the Noughties, Cristiano Doni was a true Atalanta star before it was cool. Along with his formidable technical skills and brilliant goals, he had his own creative celebration where he would put his hand on his chin and raise his head as if he’s saying “keep your heads up! “.
Unfortunately for Doni, his career ended on a shameful note, as he was given a three and a half years ban from football for his alleged involvement in match-fixing, effectively bringing an end to his playing days at 38-years-old. Nonetheless, rest assured that whatever the Atalanta legend is up to these days, he’s doing it with his head held high.
#6 – Luca Toni – Did You See That?
Since his incredible and sudden rise to relevance at Palermo – which was followed by successful stints at Fiorentina and Bayern Munich – Luca Toni had been a goal machine. A true classic center-forward during an age where the “false number 9” was the trend.
What should be noted about this catchy celebration – which simply means “Did you see that?” according the man himself – is the way in which Luca Toni had fully and almost religiously adopted it, as it’s hard to recall a goal he scored without pulling off his signature celebration.
#5 – Alessandro Del Piero – Rock-Star Tongue
From one world champion to another. Alessandro Del Piero had always been considered as one of the “good guys” of Italian football. A football icon who is a true role model for young sportsmen everywhere.
Nonetheless, somewhere during the Noughties, the former Juventus captain decided to adopt an uncharacteristically edgy goal celebration, as he would stick out his tongue far outside of his mouth, reminiscent to some sort of a heavy-metal lead singer.
While mothers everywhere were shocked and terrified of what had become of their children’s idol, Juventus fans would eagerly await this gesture every time their legend would add goal to his fabulous tally.
#4 – Rodrigo Taddei – The Beating Heart
No, this isn’t the name of a ballad song performed by an artist that you haven’t heard of. Rodrigo Taddei was actually a hard working Brazilian winger and a mainstay name at Roma during the Noughties.
But more importantly, Taddei came up with one the most iconic goal celebrations at the time, as he would tuck his hand inside his jersey and starts flapping it as if his heart is beating so hard in a way that would usually require some emergent medical intervention. A cool sight indeed.
#3 – Obafemi Martins – Flying Back-Flips
Long before the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Pierre Aubameyang emerged to the scene, former Inter striker Obafemi Martins had a legitimate claim for being the fastest footballer in the early part of the Noughties.
But if his extraordinary blistering pace wasn’t enough to earn your attention, the Nigerian would perform a series of successive back-flips which could stretch until five or even more every time he scored, which was a shockingly brilliant scene in its own.
Although that period was a particularly tough one for Inter fans – marred by the lack of silverware – at least they were rewarded with some Cirque du Soleil reminiscent displays at the Guiseppe Meazza Stadium.
#2 – Alberto Gilardino – The Violinist
The fifth 2006 World Cup winner on the list. Alberto Gilardino have never reached the likes of Totti, Del Piero, and Inzaghi in terms of goals scored, fame, popularity, or even charisma. It’s easy to forget that he was a part of Marcelo Lippi’s Italy at the time, and also won a Champions League with Milan in 2007. Odd.
But despite his almost forgettable existence, calcio fans will always remember the former Parma striker for his brilliant violinist goal celebration, when he’d go down on one knee, and play his imaginary violin. The reason behind this celebration is absolutely unimportant, as it was a truly formidable sight.
#1 – Mark Bresciano – Spartacus
Undoubtedly a debatable choice, but we’ll present our case for it. Mark Bresciano is definitely the least recognizable name on this list, but the Australian was a pretty decent attacking-midfielder for the likes of Parma and Palermo, and his story can’t be told without mentioning one of the most epic goal celebrations at the time.
Contrary to basically every other footballer on the planet who’s primary reaction is to run after scoring a goal, the Aussie man would stand his ground – even when he’s right in front of the opposing goalkeeper – and then he’ll… well, he’ll just stand there really, with his arms flexed down and his chin raised high, in what became known as the Spartacus celebration.
Although Bresciano isn’t the only footballer to do some posing in his goal celebration, even the likes of Cristiano Doni used to run a little bit before performing their poses. But on the other hand, Mark would remain frozen in his position for as long as it takes, at least until his more enthusiastic teammates would decide to mob him out of his ancient role play.