Friday, September 24, 2010

Ten of the best

Nike has been the sponsors of the official Premier League football for 10 years and this weekend sees a special milestone.

The 10,000th Premier League goal using Nike's ball will be scored and to mark the occasion, the player who nets it will be awarded a special golden Nike football.

Ipswich Town's Mark Venus grabbed the first Nike football Premier League goal on the opening day of the season at Tottenham Hotspur in August 2000.

Since then the ball has been responsible for some amazing Premier League goals scored by the world's finest strikers. Here we pick out some of the best.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

The Dutch ace finished the first Premier League season of the Nike football in 2000/1 as the division's top scorer. Chelsea's striker found the net 23 times in 35 league appearances and memorable strikes included a volley from outside the penalty box against Manchester United and four goals against Coventry City. He impressed again during the following campaign with 23 goals and was a regular scorer during the next two years before a successful move to Middlesbrough.

Thierry Henry

Legendary Arsenal forward is one of the finest players to have graced the Premier League. Helping Arsenal to the Premier League title in 2002 and again in the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season of 2004, he finished as top scorer in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. His strike against West Ham United in February 2006 brought his league goal tally to 151 to smash Arsenal legend Cliff Bastin's league goals record. He is third in the all-time Premier League scoring list with 174 goals.

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Ruud van Nistelrooy's 25 goals for Manchester United over the 2002/3 campaign helped the Red Devils claim the Premier League trophy. The Dutchman was a prolific scorer during his five years at Old Trafford and notched an incredible 95 goals in 150 league appearances.

Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba enjoyed his best season in front of goal in 2009/10 by netting 29 times with the Nike ball as Chelsea claimed another Premier League title. Since Jose Mourhino brough the Ivorian to the club, Drogba has played a key role in Chelsea's three Premier League crowns, winning the Golden Boot in 2007 and 2009 and has amassed 89 goals in 171 league appearances.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo's lit up the Premier League with his skillful wing play and a number of thrilling goals. He topped the Premier League scoring charts in 2008 with an unbelievable 31 strikes to shatter his previous season's haul of 17 and clinch a second successive Premier League title. Season 2008/9 saw the Portugal international score 18 times in another glorious title-winning season.

Nicolas Anelka

The Frenchman has been banging in the goals wherever he has played in the Premier League and current holders Chelsea are benefiting from his goal-scoring prowess. The former Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers player scored 11 times last season to help the Blues claim title success. His busiest season in front of goal was 2008/9 when he won the Golden Boot and he has notched 33 goals overall for the Stamford Bridge club.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney burst onto the scene as the world's most expensive teenager and he plundered 17 goals in 43 appearances in his first season. Since then, finding the net has never been a problem for the England international and his strikes have played a major role in United's Premier League title wins of 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Alan Shearer

The former England shotshot is the Premier League's record goalscorer with an amazing 260 goals. Shearer netted 148 league goals for the Magpies after a world record £15m signing from Blackburn Rovers to fufill the dream of playing for his boyhood club. "The Goal Machine" grabbed his 200th Premier League goal against Charlton Athletic in April 2002 at St James' Park and was the first player to reach that milestone.

Emmanuel Adebayor

Emmanuel Adebayor had three goal-crazy seasons with Arsenal where he established himself as one of the Barclays Premier League's most fearsome strikers. His best goal return came in 2007/8 when he banged in 24 goals for the Gunners. A strong, quick striker, Adebayor sealed a big move to Manchester City last year and fired in 14 goals in his debut season.

Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres scored 33 goals in his first campaign to beat Ruud van Nistelrooy's haul and become the most prolific foreign debutant in English football. He was also the Reds' first player, since Robbie Fowler in 1996, to score more than 20 league goals in a season. The player nicknamed El Nino has played a key role in Liverpool's challenge for the Barclays Premier League title. Strong in the air, and quick on the deck, Torres has all the attributes of a top class Premier League striker. Has hit the net 139 times in 298 league appearances at Anfield.


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