Rooney's rocket trumps Beckham's beauty

Rooney's rocket trumps Beckham's beauty

Take it from our columnists who have tried similar audacious attempts from near the halfway line - Wayne Rooney's belter against West Ham last Saturday is better than David Beckham's wonderstrike against Wimbledon in 1996.

Back in 1992, Liverpool legend Ray Houghton had instinctively tried to catch Sunderland goalkeeper Tony Norman off his line from nearly 40 metres out in the FA Cup final but narrowly missed.

The 52-year-old Irishman told The New Paper on Monday: "Both were phenomenal goals involving superb technique and vision, but I would edge towards Rooney's as it was more difficult.

"Beckham's effort was easier as the ball was on the floor and almost stationary, so he had time to execute his shot.

"It was definitely a more iconic goal for a young player coming through and there was a bit of style and swagger about his celebration too.

"But Rooney's goal was better as he had to catch the ball perfectly when it was moving.

"For me, it's like how scoring a half-volley is more difficult than a free-kick."

Dietmar Hamann, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, agreed with Houghton's assessment.

A la Beckham, the 40-year-old German also scored from inside his own half during a Reserves match when he launched a free-kick over the Wolves goalkeeper in 2006.

"It's easier to get pace on the ball on the volley compared to a dead ball, but it's harder to control a volley," said Hamann.

"What made Rooney's strike better than Beckham's was that he had to outmuscle an opponent before some quick thinking and terrific vision to beat the goalkeeper from that range."

Incidentally, Beckham was at Upton Park when Rooney scored his wonder goal last Saturday.

Asked if his effort topped Beckham's, Rooney told Sky Sports: "Of course!"

However, most football writers from British tabloid The Daily Mirror felt that Beckham's goal in 1996 was the better strike.

Oliver Holt wrote: "Beckham's was a cleaner strike. He was a kid then too. It took a lot of guts to attempt that."

Simon Bird added: "Beckham's goal has more grace and artistry. Inside his own half, not on the volley, and the goalkeeper wasn't so far off his line."

TNP's football writer Gary Lim agreed that Beckham's cool, calculated effort tops Rooney's instinctive shot.

"Beckham's strike centred around mastery and precision, an effort that left little to chance," he said.

"He appreciated more of what he was about to attempt and that's why his was the better goal."

davidlee@sph.com.sg


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