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Bicycle kicks: High risk, high value

The Bicycle Kick. Also known as the overhead kick. That beautiful motion in which a football player combines the agility of a trapeze artist with the precision of a hired assassin. It is usually witnessed in the opposition’s penalty box, executed mostly by attacking players who, with their back to goal and eyes focused unwaveringly on the ball, lift themselves in a circular motion such that the foot moves 180 degrees from the ground and up to where the head was a nano-second ago, and meets the football with force. The momentum from this motion causes the ball to change direction and head towards the goal or other unintended targets, depending on the accuracy of the player involved. Nowadays, though, this move is also being used increasingly by defenders to make clearances inside their own penalty box.

Perhaps that is why you see quite a few defenders scoring goals from bicycle kicks these days. Case in point is Sergio Ramos who scored a beautiful volley over the weekend as Real Madrid lost to Sevilla in La Liga. Unfortunately for the defender, though, he fell awkardly on his shoulder and may have injured himself quite badly in the process. The extent of his injury is unknown as of now but he will definitely be missing a few matches for both Spain and Real Madrid.

Bicycle kicks can cause severe injury if not executed properly. In most cases the player falls on his/her back and this leaves the chance for him/her to injure his shoulder, neck, spine or even arm. Of course, the injuries are not always limited to the player executing the bicycle kick himself. Since it is a very powerful motion, any unfortunate soul who happens to be in its way is likely to be hurt badly too. In most cases these are players from the opposition team, especially defenders.

However, this should not deter nor discourage budding players to stop trying to execute a bicycle kick. It is after all a thing of beauty and tends to live on in memory. Joga Bonito!


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