The best players in the world know how to create space for themselves. From the stepover to the Rivelino, football players have been coming up with fancy ways to get around defenders since the game’s inception. Here are some of the best examples of the most magnificent moves during game-play.
Invented by Rivelino but perfected by Ronaldihno, the Elastico requires that the dribbler temporarily show the defender the ball and then flip it back to themselves to promptly go around them.
Johan Cruyff: Cruyff Turn
Considered one of the best footballers ever, the dynamic attacker left a legacy of ‘total football’ both as a player and coach. He also left the world with some solo moves of his own, including the Cruyff Turn. It works like this: the player makes a turn and flashes the intention to pass but instead stops the ball and uses the same foot to pushes the ball forward in one continuous motion.
Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima: Step Over
While Cristiano Ronaldo may be known for the step over, it was the Brazilian Ronaldo who popularized it. The stepover king, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima juked defenders by taking them straight on and throwing his weight over and around the ball two to three times before using the other leg to punch the ball ahead of him.
Cristiano Ronaldo: The Chop
The chop may have existed prior to Cristiano Ronaldo but he perfected it. Going one way, he quickly cuts a pass to himself to lead in another direction.
Lionel Messi: Shoulder Feint
The little magician Lionel Messi often uses his shoulders to fake one way and go the other. His low center of gravity and quick change of direction enables him to execute the move in a continuous flow. You may also see the move [in his goal](https://soccergator.io/lionel-messi-11-best-freekicks-of-all-time] in the Copa Del Rey final that pitted Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao. Just above the halfway line, Messi exploits his diminutive nature to dribble, dart, and swerve past three defenders at once to take the ball all the way to goal.
Andres Iniesta: La Croqueta
Simple yet effective, Andres Iniesta was the master of his signature move, the Croqueta. The move allowed the midfielder to escape defenders and evade the press in the tightest spaces.
Cuauhtémoc Blanco: Cuauhtemiña
The Mexican striker Cuauhtémoc Blanco is often remembered for the so-called Blanco Trick or Cuauhtemiña, where he stops the ball amongst defenders and uses two feet to hurl it between them to progress forward. The whole move looks like a bunny hop.
Kerlon: The Seal Dribble
Once a highly touted midfielder, the Brazilian Kerlon never quite fulfilled his potential. But he could dribble with his head like a seal all the way to goal. It’s too bad the opposing teams didn’t respect the act, often kicking Kerlon as the only way to impede him.
Zinedine Zidane: Zidane Roulette
Originally known as The Garrincha Turn after Garrincha, one of the best Brazilian dribblers of all-time, Zidane recasted the 360-degree turn as his own and called it Zidane Roulette. It became the Marseille turn when Henry adopted the move. Let’s see which superstar gets the honors to rename it next.
Antonin Panenka: The Panenka
Emulated to death by the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Zidane, The Panenka emerged after Czechoslovakian Antonin Panenka scored the decisive run-up and chip penalty against Germany to win the 1976 Euros.
Francesco Totti: Cucchiaio
A variation of the Panenka, the Cucchiaio is a chip but with a bit more height and best used on the run. The Italian Francesco Totti coined the kick, which worked great most of the time minus the embarrassing dud he tried on the Lecce goalie in a 2007 Seria A who wasn’t buying it (check it out in our 11 Worst Penalty Attempts).
Rene Higuita: The Scorpion Kick
Not all nifty moves are on offense, some are meant to save the day. Rene “El Loco” Higuita played 68 games with Colombia in which he occasionally flashed acrobatics and dangerously came out of the box. Known as the creator of the ‘Scorpion Kick’, he also took free-kicks and penalty kicks (he scored 30 during his career), unusual for a goalie but perhaps nothing out of the ordinary for “El Loco.”