Hundreds of thousand fans from all over the world voted for the award, which was created to celebrate the 20th season of the Premier League. Rooney’s spectacular strike in February 2011 received 26% of the vote. Dennis Bergkamp (19%) was second for his 2002 goal at Newcastle, and Thierry Henry (15%) against Manchester United was third.
Rooney was delighted with the award. “I grew up watching the Premier League so to be voted the best goal in the history of the Premier League is a great feeling,” Rooney said. “There’s so many good goals in that shortlist, goals that I watched in my living room as a kid: Alan Shearer’s goal, Paolo Di Canio’s, Tony Yeboah’s, David Beckham’s. “To be competing with them and winning is a great honour for me and something I’m very proud of. I’d like to say a big thank you to all the fans that voted for me.”
Rooney hailed the derby bicycle kick winner as best goal of his professional career. Rooney had struck in the 77th minute after David Silva’s fortunate equaliser had cancelled out Nani’s first-half opener for United. The England striker said it had been an instinctive finish from Nani’s cross. “I saw it come into the box and thought ‘why not?’, Rooney told Sky Sports. “I was trying to get in a good position for when Nani crossed it. Nine times out of 10 they go over the crossbar. Today it ended up in the top corner. It is instinct. You don’t have time to think about it. Thankfully it finished up in the top corner.” Asked when he had last scored with an overhead kick, Rooney replied: “In school I think. It’s the first one since I started playing professionally.”
Rooney’s strike ensured United bounced back after losing their unbeaten record to Wolves the week before. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Rooney’s winner as the best goal he had seen at Old Trafford. “It was stunning,” he said.
For those who may not know what a bicycle kick is, it is a physical move made by throwing the body up into the air, making a shearing movement with the legs to get one leg in front of the other without holding on to the ground. The move can either be done backwards or sideways. Performing a bicycle kick can be quite dangerous when performed incorrectly as a player must take care to brace himself with his arms as he lands back on the ground. The difficulty of the move makes it unanticipated and the player runs the potential risk of getting hurt or harming another player. However, as described by BBC Sport, this is one of the acrobatic moves that makes the game much “richer.” The common English name comes from the two legs that look as if they are pedaling a bicycle, with one leg going forward to the ball and the other backward to create an opposite moment. In football it is thought to be so difficult that even Pele has described it has not easy to do. As such, only a few players have been able to perform the move (either as a defensive or offensive play) in an official football match making it one of the most praised plays in the game, especially when a goal is managed to be scored from it.
You may be interested to know that the following strikers have scored more than once from a bicycle kick in a top tier club match or competitive international match:
* David Arellano
* Peter Crouch (yes – Peter Crouch!)
* Klaus Fischer
* Carlo Parola
* Billy Bremner
* Hugo Sanchez
* Ramon Unzaga
* Alejandro Villanueva
* Uwe Seeler
* Wayne Rooney
* Jean-Pierre Papin