While football is a team game in which everyone must contribute for a side to become more than the sum of its parts, there’s no doubt that special status is afforded to strikers.
After all, strikers are widely considered to have the hardest job in the sport, while the romanticised nature of forward players and their ability to decide the tightest and most important matches remains highly sought-after.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of football’s more unusual goalscoring feats, some of which may remain unchallenged!
1. Josef Bican – The World’s Greatest Striker?
While Cristiano Ronaldo may be considered as the greatest goalscorer of modern times, even his feats pale when compared to the prolific Austrian-Czech striker Josef Bican.
To provide some context, CR7 has plundered 807 career goals for club and country in 1,115 matches, including 692 for Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.
However, Bican struck 818 times during his career (including 29 in 34 international matches), despite playing just 539 games. These numbers included an astonishing 535 goals in 272 games for SK Slavia Prague, while Bican hit 76 goals in just 32 matches for the club during a stellar 1943/44 season.
According to unofficial data from the Rec. Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF), Bican actually plundered 950 goals in 624 matches, although this may include strikes in friendlies and unrecognised contests.
2. The Longest Ever Headed Goals
Heading the ball is considered to be an art form, with famous strikers from from the little-known Horst Hrubesch and ‘Busby Babe’ Tommy Taylor to contemporary legends like Alan Shearer and the aforementioned Ronaldo having more than mastered this.
However, even these players would have to bow to Jone Samuelsen, who scored the longest ever headed goal for Odd Grenland back in 2011.
In a Norwegian League match against Tromso, Samuelsen’s side was defending a corner as they held onto a slender lead.
The ball was cleared with the Tromso goalkeeper stranded in the attacking third, but as he scrambled to get back in goal and the ball returned to the Odd Grenland half, Samuelsen instinctively got his head to the ball and sent it bouncing into the unguarded net.
Incredibly, the ball travelled 57 metres (or 190 feet) into the goal, setting a record that may never be broken.
3. The Most Consecutive Hattricks
Scoring a hattrick is a truly outstanding feat, and one that makes being a striker such an attractive proposition.
However, Japanese striker Masashi Nakayama took this to a whole new level in 1998 by scoring four consecutive hattricks for J-League side Jubilo Iwata.
This achievement is completely unprecedented, while Nakayama scoring an incredible 16 goals across these four matches. Overall, he plundered 40 goals in just 30 appearances that year, which was his largest ever single season tally.
Interestingly, Nakayama is probably better known for scoring Japan’s first ever goal at a World Cup, hitting his side’s only goal in a 3-1 defeat to Jamaica in France, 1998.