Ibrahimovic's goal was NOT the greatest ever scored
23:32 GMT, 16 November 2012
It certainly ranks among the most spectacular. It is undoubtedly one of the more acrobatic. But Zlatan Ibrahimovic's overhead kick isn't the 'greatest ever goal', not if we test it with any genuine measure of greatness.
No matter how loudly knees jerk on the underside of tables in the novelty of the moment, no matter how fast enthusiasts stampede on to social media websites to post their OMGs and little rows of exclamation marks, some perspective is always useful in these situations.
Which is why I was hugely surprised to see former England centre forward Alan Shearer and experienced commentator John Motson join the hysteria by committing themselves to the assertion that Ibrahimovic's goal deserved to be acclaimed as the No 1 international goal of all time.
Swede dreams: Zlatan's stunning 'propeller' kick heads goalwards during the friendly with England
More from Des Kelly…
Des Kelly: Just man up like Rod and let your teardrops explode
Des Kelly: No Chelsea player heard Terry abuse Ferdinand… now they're blessed with the hearing of a piano tuner
Des Kelly: The finger of blame will only point at you, Roberto
Des Kelly: Now it is time for football's three monkeys to wise up
Des Kelly: Really, what are these people who support Armstrong on
Des Kelly: Terry affair must not derail battle to defeat racism… so let's stop the schism
Des Kelly: Forget the badge… it might have been you on that tragic day at Hillsborough
Des Kelly: These real diamonds can shine brightly on any stage
VIEW FULL ARCHIVE
These are two experienced football men. One has played at the highest level. The other has seen three-and-a-half decades of top-flight football at close quarters.
Yet they still chose to raise Ibrahimovic above all others — and said so in print. Obviously, the pair's opinions are entirely subjective and, in these circumstances, who can say whether their verdicts are right or wrong
Me. And I say they are both horribly wrong.
For starters, we suspect Shearer might not be telling the complete truth in his newspaper column when he claims: 'I was sat watching the match with friends up in Scotland and as soon as the goal went in we all stood up and applauded. I have never seen anything like it.’
Oh really We're supposed to believe Scots just clapped their hands when Ibrahimovic's fourth went in
I have seen friends in Scotland who will give the TV a standing ovation if an England player merely lets the ball bobble over the touchline to concede a throw.
When an opposition striker does something monumental like actually scoring against the Auld Enemy they don't so much offer a smattering of applause, as light beacons on the surrounding hills, smear themselves in woad and march south to point pale Caledonian buttocks in the general direction of the lions in Trafalgar Square.
Shearer goes on to add: 'Can you imagine what people would have been saying if Ibrahimovic had got it wrong'
Yes, let's imagine. I'd say the remarks would have been along the lines of:
'Who cares, the bloke's already scored a hat-trick.''It's the last minute of injury time and it’s only a friendly.' Or,'Ibrahimovic was being marked by Ryan Shawcross at the end. I'm surprised he didn't shoot every time he touched the ball.'
That is not to say Ibrahimovic's goal was anything other than wonderful. I was watching with my brother in the local pub when the Swedish striker's effort set off on its unerring arc into the net. We let out a yelp of astonishment and then laughed at the sheer audacity of it all.
But lest anyone persist with the tedious idea that we had all witnessed The Greatest Goal Ever Seen (copyright all newspapers), perhaps we might recall where the goalkeeper was when this drama unfolded.
I'll give you a clue. He wasn't too far from where I was standing on the night. He certainly wasn't where he should have been.
The goalkeeper was not keeping goal, as his job title might suggest. Joe Hart was standing outside the penalty area, looking foolish when the ball flew in. All Hart was 'keeping' was his defenders' company, having made a complete hash of a headed clearance. The fact that Ibrahimovic took advantage of this with such invention is to be commended, but it detracts from the 'greatness' somewhat.
Getting shirty: Ibrahimovic's goal was one to savour, but certainly not in the 'greatest ever' bracket
There is also a more important asterisk to add when people start throwing accolades around with the kind of reckless abandon usually reserved for Katie Price's wedding confetti.
Ibrahimovic's goal does not belong among the truly great goals for one obvious reason. It didn't really matter.
Legendary goals illuminate major tournaments, like Diego Maradona's scintillating run against England at the 1986 World Cup, Marco van Basten's volley against the Soviet Union at the 1988 European Championship, Dennis Bergkamp's brilliance against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup and Carlos Alberto's strike for Brazil in 1970.
These weren't instances of hopeful showboating at the end of a kickabout friendly. They were not scored against an array of stand-ins and international wannabes. They were sublime acts of genius produced under intense pressure at the very highest level of competition.
If Roger Federer plays an outrageous service return through his legs at an exhibition match, he receives a round of applause for his daring. But he doesn't often try it during a Grand Slam final.
Equally, Kobe Bryant might elect to fire at the hoop from the halfway line in a regular season romp, but he won't often take the risk in an NBA finals clincher.
Greatest Bergkamp's strike against Argentina deserves to be considered as one the best ever
He might. True greats can produce that when it matters. But Ibrahimovic’s goal was scored in the luxury of knowing that whether or not he succeeded, it was going to be ornamental garnish on a ceremonial occasion.
So yes, it was good. Beautiful, even. But it was for show, not substance. And since we spend most of our time saying international friendlies are essentially meaningless affairs, it seems contradictory to now place great significance on what actually occurs during one.
That goal was only ‘The Greatest’ in the same way Simon Cowell would tell an X Factor dullard their Beatles cover was ‘the greatest’ he’d heard — in that series.
In fact we use the word ‘great’ so often we strip away it’s meaning. But it is still possible to enjoy Ibrahimovic’s magnificence without joining the clamour to declare it must be the very best.
Particularly as it clearly was not.
Frankel's getting juicy
What is the most expensive liquid in the world
It's not petrol, although it might feel that way every time you pull into the garage forecourt. It's not crude oil, either. The most exquisite perfume doesn’t even come close.
Many believe it is printer ink since a basic 10ml cartridge costs about 40, which works out at around 7,000 a gallon.
But then I heard that the stud fees of superhorse Frankel would be 125,000 a time. That is a seriously expensive fluid.
Hey, stud! Frankel's fortunes will be made off the track, not on it
With 100 mares to 'cover' each year, the unbeaten thoroughbred's efforts should bring a return of more than 12million per annum.
On the grounds of good taste, I won't go into all of the calculations, but this means Frankel's contribution to the equine gene pool works out at approximately 5.6m per gallon.
I believe the figure is right, but I can't guarantee it as I began to feel somewhat queasy halfway through doing the maths.
RVP's motor mistake
When John Terry parked his Bentley in a disabled bay and headed off to a pizza restaurant, he was derided as an ignorant, inconsiderate, arrogant oaf and held up as epitomising all that was negative about the attitude of the modern footballer.
So Robin van Persie cannot escape similar criticism after he dumped his Audi in a blue badge bay at Manchester airport for two days.
We were told Van Persie had made a 'mistake'. Indeed he had, although it cannot have been an accidental one, since there were plenty of signs and yellow warning boxes surrounding the bays.
Van Persie could not have missed all the paraphernalia. Amazingly, RVP (Rude Vehicle Parked) wasn't given a ticket, clamped or towed like any other member of the public would undoubtedly have been. It's a badge of dishonour for the player and Manchester Airport.
Crazy Gang should revel in rise
In years past I spent a few formative years covering the Crazy Gang's mad exploits and still bear some of the scars. I'll save the worst tales for my autobiography.
So I understand the deep significance of the FA Cup grudge match between the Milton Keynes Dons 'franchise' and the AFC Wimbledon outfit that angry fans created to fill the void left by their displaced club.
On course for revenge: AFC Wimbledon face MK Dons in the FA Cup
They meet in a fortnight in the second round and already MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman has said AFC don't have any right to the FA Cup Wimbledon won in 1988 — just to make the MK Dons appear more unpopular, perhaps.
Some AFC fans are considering a boycott to show their enduring disgust at the manner in which they were betrayed eight years ago. That would be foolish. Far better to revel in the rise of their reformed club. And who knows They might exact the sweetest revenge of all.
Meddling lawyer has made a right Herbert of himself
Did you see it fly over everyone’s head No, not that goal. I'm referring to the complaint made to the Metropolitan Police by Peter Herbert, chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers.
The Met kicked his protest out of the park. What a humiliation it was for Herbert, who is so keen to be taken seriously yet seems to leave an overwhelming impression that he is undermining his cause with frivolous meddling.
Herbert's decision to report an allegation that referee Mark Clattenburg racially abused a Chelsea player, even though he hadn't been present, heard nothing and possessed no additional information, was dismissed as expected.
Scotland Yard announced 'no action would be taken — because no victims came forward'.
Herbert took his slapdown with a notable lack of grace. 'It would appear that there is a cosy little agreement between Chelsea FC and the FA,' he said.
No case to answer: Police have dropped the investigation into Clattenburg
That will be the same 'cosy little agreement' that saw the FA punish the Chelsea captain for his racist remarks, when a courtroom full of highly paid lawyers couldn't make any charge stick.
Herbert went on to insist the FA were 'institutionally racist' and said he would go crying to the sports minister, Hugh Robertson, instead.
With crashing understatement, FA chairman David Bernstein responded by calling Herbert's comments 'ill-informed and unhelpful'.
Quite. Perhaps the FA could establish whether Herbert might be sued for that 'racist' smear, as well as the suggestion of a cover-up Clattenburg could also have reason to pursue some action, with possible charges relating to the filing of a malicious allegation to consider.
Herbert appears very keen to keep the lawyers busy. It might not be quite as he envisaged, but it seems he could get his wish.
Leave it out, Lance
Lance Armstrong posed provocatively for a photo sprawled out beneath seven yellow Tour de France winners' jerseys, the symbols of his victories now struck from the record books.
The drug cheat tweeted a caption with it that said: 'Just layin' around'. 'Just lying,' would have covered it.
Just lyin' around: Armstrong with six of his seven Yellow Jerseys