Gary Neville believes Alejandro Garnacho’s stunning acrobatic goal at Everton tops Wayne Rooney’s Manchester derby winner from 2011 – describing the strike as the “best overhead kick” he’s ever seen.
In Manchester United’s 3-0 Super Sunday win over Everton, Garnacho stunned Goodison Park with his effort after just three minutes, arching back to connect with Diogo Dalot’s cross to fire past Jordan Pickford.
Comparisons were immediately drawn between that goal and Rooney’s winner for Man Utd vs rivals City in 2011, but Neville says Garnacho’s effort tops it due to it being “gymnastics, not football”.
“I’ve not seen as good a goal as that from an overhead kick. That was the most beautiful overhead kick,” he said on the Gary Neville Podcast.
“Do you remember that Olivier Giroud [scorpion kick] goal which was a spectacular goal and I’d never seen that before? I was there that day and the day Wayne Rooney scored against Man City, that was an amazing goal at that point in the game.
“But today, I felt it [Garnacho’s goal] was something I’ve not seen before. The thing that struck me straight away was the fact he had to move away, he comes in and comes back out, moves his feet quickly and then throws himself in the air.
“I played football at a professional level for a long time, I can’t do that, not just the overhead kick but even getting in the air to be able to make contact with the ball – because I’d think I’d break my neck!
“Most players wouldn’t know how to do that: it’s gymnastic and acrobatic. It’s gymnastics – that’s not football. It’s the best overhead kick I’ve ever seen.
“There will be people debating that now and getting previous overhead kicks. But it’s not a bicycle kick, it’s an overhead kick. There are times you can get on your side, into that position. We can all do that. But to get into the position Garnacho did, I’ve never seen that before. I think Rooney’s is close to it but Garnacho’s is just better.”
Keane: Rooney’s strike is better because of occasion
Fellow Sky Sports pundit Keane disagreed with Neville, however, as the occasion of a Manchester derby winner acts in Rooney’s favour.
“Absolutely amazing, we had a great view of it,” said Keane of the Garnacho goal at half-time. “It’s very hard to talk about it because I’ve never done it in my life but the contact he makes and the skill levels…
“I’m usually critical of goalkeepers but I will let him off with this one. A brilliant goal.
“It gets better every time you see it. Very few players in the world can do that. It’s nice to see some young players doing well at Man Utd.
“You’d watch that all day.”
When asked to compare it to Rooney’s strike, Keane replied: “Does it [the Rooney goal] hit his shin though?
“It’s not as clean [a strike]. That definitely hits Wayne’s shin, but I’m not taking that away from him.
“The importance of the goal, the fact it was against City – it does hit his shin but it’s an amazing goal.
“It’s a cleaner hit by Garnacho but maybe because of the occasion, it might just edge it towards Wayne.”
What Garnacho and the others said:
Man Utd goalscorer Alejandro Garnacho to Sky Sports:
“I can’t believe it! I didn’t see how I scored, I just listened to the sound and thought, ‘Oh my God’. It’s the best goal I’ve scored, of course.”
Could it be the best goal of the season? “Oh yeah, probably. It’s still November, but…”
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag to Sky Sports:
“The season is still long but it’s probably the goal of the season. But the build-up was very good, it’s about switching and dynamics. But the finish is fantastic.”
Sky Sports’ Karen Carney at Goodison Park:
“As soon as it was coming over, you’re just thinking oh my goodness, he’s made the contact, and it was so early on in the game.
“Everything about it was positive, quality, and just at that moment it was just pure class. There’s nothing more to say from me.”