By 90Min
July 29, 2018

Footballers tend to be naturally gifted in the game, and spend years upon years honing in on that raw talent. However, that instinct of knowing what to do and when to do it never leaves, and the very best players have proven that time and time again.

In a massive game, when the pressure is well and truly on - that's when the best players prove their worth, through that killer instinct. Don't believe it? Here's seven examples of players that have done just that, writing their names into footballing history along the way...


Lionel Messi: Ecuador 1-3 Argentina (October 2017)

One man carries the entire weight of Argentina on his back every single time he pulls on the Albiceleste shirt. For any typical player, the pressure would simply be too much; but not for Lionel Messi.

In desperate need of a win to qualify for this summer's World Cup, going a goal down against Ecuador was not part of the plan for Argentina. However, knowing full well that his whole nation's expectations landed on his shoulders, Messi single handedly dragged his team to Russia with a majestic, hard fought hat-trick. This is one man who knows how to turn it on.

Hector Vivas/GettyImages

Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid 1-3 Juventus (April 2018)

Picture it: you're losing a Champions League quarter final on away goals, but pegging one back will send you into the next round.

It's the 97th minute. A moment of madness from Juventus sees Mehdi Benatia give away a penalty right at the death. Up steps Cristiano Ronaldo.

An effort from 12 yards is always expected to find the back of the net, and the fact that Ronaldo was forced to wait four whole minutes to take the spot kick only adds to the pressure. If he misses in what would be the last kick of the game away from home in a cauldron of 40,000 Italians against the attacker, Madrid are out of the Champions League.

Ronaldo didn't care. Confident, assured, he rifled it into the top right corner in the 97th minute. Three keepers couldn't have stopped it. Merciless.

Power Sport Images/GettyImages

Sergio Aguero: Man City 3-2 QPR (May 2012)

94th minute, your team need a goal to win the league for the first time in their history, is there a calmer man to turn to than Sergio Aguero

Firstly, it's the striker that forces the ball forward into the feet of Mario Balotelli before charging into the box for the return. It's desperation for that winning moment that creates the opportunity for the striker.

The magical part is when he gets the ball back. Rather than forcing the shot, Aguero remains calculated, taking a touch beyond his marker, and patiently opening up the best chance to score.

He went near post. Near post. In such a high stakes game, anyone else would find the opposite corner, but Aguero fools Rob Green and betters the QPR keeper. A moment that has gone down in the annals of Premier League history.

Manchester City's Argentinian striker Se

Gareth Bale: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool (May 2018)

Gareth Bale entered the pitch against Liverpool in the Champions League final with a point to prove. Is there a better way to do it in such a game than with an overhead kick 30 seconds after being introduced into the game? Yes; by giving your team the lead in doing so.

Minutes later he then sealed the deal with a thunderous 35 yard effort to make it 3-1. Game, set and match. Gareth Bale, game changer.


Wayne Rooney: Man Utd 2-1 Man City (February 2011)

Another that has gone down in the annals of Premier League history. No title on the line, no progression into the next stage of a competition; but the pride of a city resting on Wayne Rooney's flailing right boot seven feet up in the air.

That bicycle kick that we can all replay in the back of our minds on repeat, was the difference in the Manchester Derby in 2011. Wayne Rooney (back then) was a stone cold killer, and he put Manchester City to the sword with one elegantly swift overhead kick, giving United fans all the necessary bragging rights for the day.

ANDREW YATES/GettyImages

Steven Gerrard: Liverpool 3-3 West Ham (May 2006)

It's the 91st minute of the FA Cup final and Liverpool trail West Ham 3-2 at the Millennium Stadium. The ball bounces to Gerrard 30 yards out. The only thing going through his mind is how the ball is about to hit the back of the net. Imagine having that confidence, only outweighed by the ability to actually pull the shot off.

He unleashes an absolute pile driver of an effort that flies into the bottom left corner. Ice through his veins, a last second equaliser from nothing. Liverpool went on to win on penalties - of which, Gerrard scored one.

Anwar Hussein Collection/GettyImages

Eder: Portugal 1-0 France (July 2018)

Following a tough season at Swansea, no one expected that Eder would be Portugal's Euro 2016 hero. With Cristiano Ronaldo having been brought off injured earlier in the game, the nation looked for leaders on the pitch - little did they know there was one hiding in the striker who hadn't scored a single goal that season.

Until now, Eder had shown no killer instinct, but in the 108th minute, when it mattered most, he produced. Running across goal, 25 yards out, and shrugging off a French defender, Eder released a low driven effort into the bottom left corner of Hugo Lloris' goal.

The Tottenham stopper could only watch as Eder won his country the Euros.

Alex Livesey/GettyImages

This article is brought to you by The Meg - in cinemas this August.

Check out the trailer below:

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)