7 of The Most Unique Goal Celebrations in Football After Akran Afif’s Card Trick

7 of The Most Unique Goal Celebrations in Football After Akran Afif’s Card Trick

Rene Otinga
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
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  • Qatar’s Akran Afif produced one of the best goal celebrations on Saturday
  • The Al-Sadd star did a card trick after scoring in the Asian Cup final against Jordan
  • He joins other footballers who produced memorable celebrations after scoring

What’s a goal in football without a proper celebration?

Qatar winger Akram Afif made headlines on Saturday, February 10, not for his hat-trick of penalties against Jordan in the Asian Cup final, but for his extremely unique goal celebration.

The most unique goal celebrations in football history.
Football has seen some unique goal celebrations over the years. Photo:Masashi Hara/Sam Bagnall.
Source: Getty Images

Qatar made it back-to-back triumphs in the tournament after securing a 3-1 victory as Afif ended the tournament as top scorer with eight goals.

To cap off a fantastic game for him, the Al-Sadd winger performed what is possibly the most unique goal celebration ever seen in men’s football.

After scoring his first penalty, Afif pulled out a card from his pocket which appeared to have his picture on it.

He then waved the card slightly and in the blink of an eye, it appeared to change to the letter “S”.

Reports now claim the card was a tribute to his wife.

It is quite mind-boggling to imagine a player attempting a card trick in the middle of a crunch cup final, but we can only assume Afif is a master of his craft; both on the pitch and in card games.

Sports Brief now looks at other unique goal celebrations that have been witnessed in the past.

Peter Crouch’s robot celebration

The towering former Liverpool striker famously performed the robot dance goal celebration after scoring against Jamaica in 2006, and made the dance his trademark way of celebrating a goal.

Now retired, Crouch joked in 2021 that he would never attempt to do the celebration in the modern game due to fears that his goal could be ruled out.

Aubameyang’s mask celebration

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has in the past made it a thing to pull out masks of his favourite movie characters after scoring.

In 2019, he paid tribute to his nation Gabon after scoring against Rennes by pulling out a mask and performing the “Wakanda Forever” sign,

Bafetimi Gomis panther celebration

Bafetimi Gomis famously performed the ‘Panther celebration’ after scoring against Manchester United in 2015.

The celebration stems from French side Saint Etienne’s former Malian striker Salif Keita, according to Men In Blazers.

Balotelli, “Why always me?”

Football’s bad boy Mario Balotelli came up with a goal celebration which will probably never be replicated again in the sport.

After scoring in the Manchester derby in 2011, the Italian partially removed his shirt to show a message in his inner shirt that read “Why Always me?” in an apparent dig at his side’s city rivals, per Sky Sports.

Mario Balotelli against Manchester United in 2011.
Manchester City celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1 Showing off a shirt saying "Why Always Me?" Photo by Sam Bagnall
Source: Getty Images

Jamie Vardy’s mannequin challenge

At the height of the mannequin challenge in 2016, Leicester and England striker Jamie Vardy joined in the fun after scoring against Spain in a friendly.

The pacey forward froze for a few seconds after scoring, and his teammates like Theo Walcott followed suit.

Jimmy Bullard’s team talk

This is arguably one of the most iconic Premier League goal celebrations, and it also has a beautiful story behind it.

In the 2008/09 season, Hull City boss Phil Brown decided to give his team a public telling-off at halftime as he sat them on the pitch for going 4-0 down against Manchester City.

The following season, Hull City played Manchester City and found an equaliser, scored by Jimmy Bullard, who imitated his manager’s antics from the previous campaign.

Lucky for him, the game ended in a draw, and Bullard’s boss saw the funny side to it.

Wayne Rooney’s knockout punch celebration

No one expected Wayne Rooney to have such a celebration in his locker.

The retired England international, who has 208 Premier League goals, came up with one of the craziest goal celebrations after scoring in United’s 3-0 win over Tottenham in 2015.

He made light of a leaked video of him getting overwhelmed in a spar with boxing friend and former United defender Phil Bardsley during the game, as he celebrated by feigning punches before falling to the ground.

South African star performs Cristiano's celebration

Earlier, Sports Brief reported on Cristiano Ronaldo’s famous goal celebration which seeped into the South Africa team during the Africa Cup of Nations.

Bafana Bafana beat Morocco 2-0 in the last 16, with Teboho Mokoena scoring a brilliant free kick and performing Ronaldo’s ‘sleep’ celebration.

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Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and TUKO.co.ke.