Premier League - Football: Greatest long-range goals
On this day in 1996, David Beckham scored arguably the most iconic goal in Premier League history for Manchester United against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park.
Finding space just inside his own half, the midfielder looked up to see Dons' goalkeeper Neil Sullivan off his line before unleashing a beautiful fading strike.
A stunned Sullivan took a costly second to react as Beckham's perfectly-measured strike floated under his crossbar.
There have, of course, been a plethora of wonder strikes in the 30 years of the Premier League and the likes of Maynor Figueroa and Charlie Adam are due honourable mentions.
However, they don't make the cut for our greatest ever long-range strikes.
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England Premier League 2022/23
|When||5th August 2022 - 28th May 2023|
|How to watch|
Selected matches on Sky, BT Sport and Amazon Prime
|Odds||Manchester City 1.25, Liverpool 11.00, Tottenham 34.00, Chelsea 34.00, Manchester United 51.00|
Wayne Rooney - Everton 4-0 West Ham - 29th November 2017
One of the finest strikers of a ball in Premier League history, Wayne Rooney was always going to be involved in a list like this.
This selection came in November 2017 and was another effort from within his own half.
With two goals already in the bag, Rooney completed his hat-trick against West Ham with a stinging, flat effort.
The doubters may say he got lucky, with the opportunity only arising from more shambolic Hammers' defending, prompting Joe Hart to sprint out and clear his lines from around 30 yards out.
As the ball trundled towards the returning Toffees hero, he steadied himself and struck a low, flat effort over Hart and Angelo Ogbonna and into the empty net.
Funnily enough, he had punished another West Ham goalkeeper in three year earlier, looping over Adrian in March 2014.
Matthew Taylor - Portsmouth 2-0 Everton - 9th December 2006
Volleying is one of the most challenging techniques in football. They either head to the heavens or spiral straight into the ground, usually sideways.
Matthew Taylor was one of the best and his most iconic moment came in December 2006 when the then-Pompey man leapt onto a deflected ball before looping an effort over Tim Howard.
Nwankwo Kanu, who scored his side's second that day, claimed the assist after coming out on top of a 50/50 with Nuno Valente, the ball ricocheting off the Nigerian and onto Taylor, who tracked it from the sky before booming an effort home.
You could argue that was the winger's second wonder strike in the Premier League, as the season before, he had half-volleyed home from around 40 yards in a 4-1 win over Sunderland.
Stiliyan Petrov - Derby 0-6 Aston Villa - 12th April 2008
Derby set enumerate records on their way to relegation in 2007/08, going down with a measly 11 points, having won just one of their 38 games.
Inevitably, they suffered their fair share of thumpings, one being a 6-0 home defeat to Aston Villa.
Arguably the game's highlight was Stiliyan Petrov's effort, the Bulgarian punishing Roy Carroll for a poorly struck clearance.
Under pressure from Ashley Young, the goalkeeper could only find the Bulgarian, who chested the ball down and then struck a left-footed effort from just inside the Derby half.
Carroll followed it in but may even have struggled to save it had he been on his line, with the ball striking the seam between the back and the side of the net.
Petrov signed for Villa from Celtic as an attacking midfielder but soon became a more defensive player. However, efforts like this demonstrated that his technique never left him.
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Xabi Alonso - Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle - 20th September 2006
A player of sublime vision and technique, Xabi Alonso scored twice from his own half while playing in England.
The first came in January 2006 when a left-footed effort completed the scoring in a 5-3 FA Cup win over Luton.
Alonso's second such strike came in September 2006 when this time, using his right foot, he lobbed Steve Harper.
The first mentioned here was slightly chaotic and even comedic. Luton goalkeeper Marlon Beresford was scrapping for the ball in midfield, while the footage is also worth watching for Steven Gerrard's change of heart. After initially screaming in frustration at the Spaniard's reluctance to pass, the skipper sprinted to his colleague to hug him in celebration.
His second effort against the Magpies was slightly more elegant and arguably summed Alonso up as a player.
Again he found space after a midfield tussle, steadied himself, skipped past referee Mark Halsey and then unleased an effort from just outside the centre circle in his own half.
Poor Harper was caught unawares, stumbling backwards and failing to keep the ball out.
A wonderful technician, this was an early highlight in a career in which Alonso would go onto the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, as well as winning two European Championships and a World Cup.
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David Beckham - Wimbledon 0-3 Manchester United - 17th August 1996
Still, the best will always be Beckham's. His technique was sublime, while it was the moment that announced the individual who went on to become the most famous man on the planet to the world.
The game was running out, with goals from Eric Cantona and Denis Irwin putting the Red Devils in control when a Brian McClair tackle nudged the ball to Becks.
After looking up to see if a teammate was on, he spied Sullivan absent from his line and went for broke.
The smooth strike produced by a technique meticulously honed on the training ground nestled into the net as the Scottish goalkeeper forlornly jumped in a half-hearted last-ditch attempt to avoid embarrassment.
Looking back at Beckham's muted celebration on 17th August 1996, walking away with his arms aloft and a broad smile, there's a hint the future England captain had an idea that nothing would ever be the same again for either himself or the Premier League.