They call football “The Beautiful Game” and it has the ability to both amaze and inspire. It is an incredibly creative sport and this means that different players, and even nations, have adopted different styles and philosophies when it comes to playing. Some of these styles are particularly easy on the eye and a joy to watch, and this will often have something to do with the way in which the ball is controlled, seemingly on a string. Over the years players have created and developed their own trademark moves, and when they pull these off in the game it will have even opposing fans marvelling at their skill.
These trademark moves will often involve dribbling skills which are not just impressive, but also particularly effective. These moves can be so devastating that they will leave a defender in their wake, but of course these moves cannot be used all the time as the defender will be expecting it. This means that players need to come up with variations and counter moves to keep their opponent on their toes, and this can make for some fascinating battles between attacker and defender. It is not just dribbling moves that players have trademarked over the years too, as there are many who have developed a signature pass or shot which can be particularly effective and of course have a healthy amount of showmanship sprinkled in as well.
The possibilities are endless with football as it is such a creative sport, and these trademark moves are now practised by millions around the world and play a large role in making it such a beautiful game to watch.
Here are the top 10 trademark player moves.
9 Robinho – Pedalada
The step-over is a common move in football and you will see it used in most games, but nobody has quite used them to as devastating effect as Robinho. This became a trademark move for the Brazilian, and he would use it to blow past and leave defenders off balance and red faced. Robinho would achieve this by quickly making multiple step-overs, keeping his defender guessing which way he was going to go and when he was going to blow past. This also looks particularly impressive and is always a fan favourite, and it is just one reason that Robinho is such a revered and entertaining player.
8 Ricardo Infante – The Rabona
The football world was in awe of Erik Lamela’s outrageous “Rabona” goal earlier this season, but it is fellow Argentine Ricardo Infante who invented the impressive strike.
A Rabona is where you kick the ball by wrapping your leg around your standing leg, seeing you kick the ball with your legs crossed. It is more of a flashy move than a useful one, but it can be effective for those that cannot pass or shoot accurately with their weaker foot. Infante scored a legendary goal on September 1948, where he pulled off a Rabona from 35 yards when he noticed the keeper was off his line but he did not have time to switch the ball to his preferred foot. David Dunn showed why this move is best left to the experts back in 2008 when his attempted Rabona saw him comically miss the ball and fall flat on his face.
8. Cuauhtémoc Blanco – The Cuauhteminha
This move may not be as silky, graceful or impressive as the other entries on this list, but it is the definition of a trademark move and one which will always entertain the crowd. The creator was Mexican player Cuauhtémoc Blanco, who performed this move at the 1998 World Cup and consequently made quite the name for himself. The Cuauhteminha was used when two or more defenders were closing down Blanco, who would then trap the ball between both of his feet, leap into the air with the ball where he would then release it as he jumped through the defenders. It may not be the most challenging move to pull off, but it is a great example of his inventiveness and personality. The move can now be done as a special skill on the popular FIFA videogame series.
7 Kerlon – The Seal Dribble
If you want to annoy the opposition to no end, and likely be fouled, then The Seal Dribble is the way to go. The master of this move, Brazilian Kerlon, was supposed to be the next big thing, but he never quite made it and instead is best known for his trademark move. The Seal Dribble involves flicking the ball up onto your head, and then running whilst bouncing the ball on top of your head (like a seal). This is particularly frustrating for the opposition, who are likely to foul if they attempt to challenge due to the height of the ball. One player picked up a four month ban for a foul on Kerlon whilst he was performing The Seal Dribble, with the crashing challenge also causing an on pitch brawl.
6 Totti –Cucchiaio
Totti is unquestionably one of the all-time greats, and he is also one of the most entertaining, confident and creative players to grace the pitch. He may infuriate some, but there is no denying his brilliance and he has all the awards and records to back it up. He has been referred to as “an artist”, and this is due to his brilliant passing, footwork, dribbling, vision and shooting. He has a trademark back-heel pass that is a fan favourite, but he also has the hugely impressive cucchiaio chip, which translates to “spoon” in English. He has the ability to score these sublime chips from both inside and outside the box, as well as from the penalty spot which is always impressive and completely audacious. To pull this off you need supreme confidence and technical ability, which Totti has heaps of, and it is also likely to wind up the goalkeeper too. He named his 2006 autobiography “Tutto Totti: Mo je faccio er cucchiaio”, which translates to “All about Totti: I’m gonna chip him now”.
5 Cristiano Ronaldo – The Ronaldo Chop
There are not many players as exciting to watch with the ball at their feet as Cristiano Ronaldo, who uses a combination of blistering speed, strength and fantastic footwork to run defenders ragged. One move which Ronnie the Rocket has trademarked over the years is what is called “The Ronaldo Chop”, which is both a beautiful move to watch but also one which is very effective (especially when travelling at high speeds). The move sees Ronaldo run at a defender who will be back peddling, and once he gets close to the defender he will then jump forward whilst kicking the ball behind the opposite leg that is swinging in front of the ball. This sees him change direction at high speeds and it will usually see the defender left in the dust as Ronaldo then continues his run or puts a ball into the box (it is particularly effective on the wings).
4 Rene Higuita – The Scorpion Kick
Most of the moves on this list are both flashy and practical, but Rene Higuita’s famous Scorpion Kick is outrageously flashy and also serves no purpose whatsoever. You would not expect a goalkeeper to have a trademark move, but Colombian keeper Higuita was not like most keepers and was known for playing a high risk, eccentric style that also saw him score from free-kicks and penalties. The Scorpion Kick, which is what he is still remembered for, first occurred in a friendly match against England in 1995. After a sliced shot from Jamie Redknapp floated high and harmlessly towards the goal, instead of simply catching the ball like most keepers, Higuita inexplicably jumped forward so that his body was parallel to the ground and positioned his legs over his head so that he kicked the ball away (this resembles a scorpion’s upright tail). For this bizarre yet stunning move, plus a few questionable decisions and blunders, Higuita earned the nickname “El Loco”, or “The Madman”, not exactly what you want from the man in-between the sticks.
3 Rivelino – Elastico
Elastico is a dribbling move which over the years has been used brilliantly by the likes of Romario, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, but it was Brazilian playmaker Rivelino who first perfected it. This move not only looks fantastic for those watching in the stands, but it is also a particularly effective move and can be used to beat your man and create plenty of space. The move involves the player pushing the ball out to the side with their foot, before wrapping their foot around the ball and using the interior of their boot to bring the ball to their non dominant side. This works as a feint which then allows the player to blow past their defender. Although a terrific move when it is pulled off correctly, it is also a high risk one and will often result on lost possession and embarrassment for those not as skilled as Rivelino.
2 Zinedine Zidane – Roulette
Aside from a rather bizarre head butt in the last game of his career, Zidane was a player that exuded elegance and grace. He made dribbling an art form, and there was one move in particular which he used to evade defenders and dazzle the crowd. This was the Roulette, also known as the Marseille Turn or 360, and both he and Diego Maradona both perfected this move which is still a common sight in today’s game. Much like a spin move in basketball, the Roulette involves a complete body turn which sees the player shield the ball at all times and be able to quickly move past the defender. The move combines intelligence, creativity and cheek, which perfectly sums up Zidane’s career aside from a not too intelligent incident right at the end of his career.
1 Johan Cruyff – The Cruyff Turn
A true wizard with the ball, Johan Cruyff has had an enormous impact on the modern game and was truly mesmerising to watch. The Cruyff Turn has now become a famous trademark move which is used by many players, but none can make it quite as devastating as the Dutch legend. The Cruyff Turn involves pretending to pass or cross the ball before dragging the ball behind your planted leg with the inside of your foot, rotating so that you are back in line with the ball before racing away from the defender.
Cruyff most famously used this crafty move at the 1974 World Cup against Swedish defender Jan Olsson, who would reflect “I played 18 years in top football and 17 times for Sweden but that moment against Cruyff was the proudest moment of my career. I thought I’d win the ball for sure, but he tricked me. I was not humiliated. I had no chance. Cruyff was a genius.”