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Skysports.com counts down 10 of the greatest ever headers in the wake of Javier Hernandez's goal

Headed goals are often lumbered together in the memory as all being pretty similar even though they come in various forms.

Sometimes a player will generate great force to beat the goalkeeper but on other occasions it just takes a glancing effort to nestle the ball into the corner.

Forwards can use their physical presence to shrug off opponents or an athletic leap to jump highest, while for others it is all about clever movement or diving for a header when others might clumsily go in with their feet.

Nevertheless, it is not often that a goal comes along that is completely unlike any other.

The one scored on Sunday by Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, however, left onlookers desperately trying to recall similar incidents and scratching their, well, heads.

Here, skysports.com counts down 10 of the most memorable headers ever.

Javier Hernandez

Let us start with the man of the moment and Mexican striker Hernandez's opener in the 2-1 victory away to Stoke. Hernandez had already scored one strange goal since arriving at Manchester United, with the ball bouncing in off his face in the Community Shield, but there was nothing fluky about his touch at the Britannia Stadium. It looked like the Potters would survive a dangerous situation as the 22-year-old found himself facing away from goal with the ball flying across the six-yard area, but with a spring of the legs, an arch of the back and a snap of the neck he managed to produce enough power to score with the back of his head. While Hernandez executed this most unusual of skills to perfection, the most remarkable aspect of the goal was that he had the instinct to even try it in the first place.

Uwe Seeler

We have to go a long way back to find a similar goal to Hernandez's, with Seeler netting an audacious effort for West Germany in their World Cup quarter-final against England in 1970. The ball was played in from deep and looked to be too short to cause any immediate trouble as Seeler came to meet it just inside the area. Outjumping Alan Mullery, the striker connected quite deliberately with the back of his head just like Hernandez and turned round to see it loop over England goalkeeper Peter Bonetti. The goal drew West Germany level at 2-2 and they went on to win in extra-time thanks to Gerd Muller.

Jared Borgetti

Hernandez's goal may have been spectacular but it is not even the most famous header by a Mexican. That honour still belongs to one-time Bolton striker Borgetti following his fantastic finish in the 2002 World Cup clash against Italy. Again, there appeared to be no threat from Cuauhtémoc Blanco's dinked cross into the box but Borgetti darted back towards the ball and had the awareness to go for goal from a seemingly impossible position. With a deft swivel he managed to time his header magnificently and it sailed past Gianluigi Buffon between the Azzurri posts.

Andy Gray

While Hernandez, Seeler and Borgetti are all good examples of improvisation, the most memorable headers are often diving efforts when a forward will show an immense desire to stick the ball away when the cross is not quite pinpoint with little regard for their own safety. Former Scotland striker and current Sky Sports pundit Gray was so good in the air that on some occasions he even wanted to use his head when the ball was barely above the ground. His 'half-volley header' for Everton against Notts County in the 1984 FA Cup quarter-final might have looked odd but it was well directed into the bottom corner and that is all that counts. Take a bow, son.

Henrik Larsson

There cannot have been many better diving headers than this goal from Larsson in Sweden's Euro 2004 clash against Bulgaria. After a swift break down the field, the ball was delivered towards Larsson in the centre. The cross had an excellent shape to it but a lot of power too and was just in front of the veteran striker, who had been written off in some quarters after returning from international retirement. But Larsson demonstrated in one movement that he was still a class act as he flung himself almost horizontally with such precision that there was no chance for the goalkeeper, creating an iconic moment.

Allan Clarke

It sometimes takes something special to decide a big game and Clarke emerged as the match-winner in the 1972 FA Cup final as Leeds overcame Arsenal by a single goal. Clarke hit the woodwork with a diving effort early on but was not to be denied and popped up in the second half with a stunning finish. Hurling himself at a Mick Jones cross, the striker, nicknamed 'Sniffer', powered his header past Geoff Barnett from 15 yards and into the corner.

Trevor Brooking

The likes of Gray, Clarke and Larsson were well known for their heading ability so it is perhaps not surprising to see them get crucial goals in this manner in key matches, but West Ham legend Brooking also makes our top 10 after netting a rare header in the 1980 FA Cup final against Arsenal. Brooking was in the right place at the right time but still did well to get on the end of a powerful cross and direct his header home from close range, with the Hammers holding on for a 1-0 success.

Marco van Basten

Van Basten's list of great goals is almost unrivalled and he often saved his best for the big stage. The Dutchman showed his aerial prowess during AC Milan's European Cup semi-final against Real Madrid in 1989 with a quite extraordinary header, somehow steering home a weak, low cross from the edge of the area. Van Basten had to move away from goal and also twist down to retrieve the cross, but was still able to generate enough pace of his own to beat goalkeeper Paco Buyo. The ball only went in after striking the crossbar and coming off Buyo so may be technically classed as an own goal, but that should not detract from Van Basten's header.

Ryan Giggs

Most players find it hard enough to score with the bonce from close range, or find the target with a shot from the edge of the area, but Giggs managed to nod home from distance in a Premier League clash against Coventry in 2001. The game was in the balance at 2-2 when the Welshman was picked out by Gary Neville and arced a powerful header past Chris Kirkland to effectively seal the points for Manchester United. Paul Scholes fired in late on to make the final result 4-2 and push United closer to another title.

Steven Gerrard

Gerrard counts this goal in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan among his favourites and it is not hard to understand why. We all know the story but Liverpool trailed 3-0 at half-time before pulling it back to 3-3 and eventually winning the most dramatic of encounters on penalties. It was Gerrard that set the Reds on the comeback trail and fuelled their belief that the game was not lost. The goal itself was a magnificent header with wonderful technique that nestled in the corner of the net from John Arne Riise's wicked cross.

Comments (1)

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Geoff Skinner (Sunderland fan) says...

what about mart pooms header for sunderland on his return to derby county

Posted 16:36 24th November 2010

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