The 2000s were a dramatic decade for Italian football, with scandals, a World Cup win and bankruptcies galore all receiving global attention. It was also a time for great golazos. Here are a few you might have forgotten.
Dino Baggio was usually good for one long-range rocket every season during his career at Inter, Juventus, Parma and Lazio. He scored this goal at the start of the 2000-01 season, a month after he left Parma to join reigning champions Lazio, who needed cover in midfield as they competed on three fronts under Sven-Göran Eriksson.
There was only three minutes on the clock against Milan when Baggio picked up the ball from Diego Simeone on the left, pushed forward and decided he didn’t want to pass it: the ball cannoned off his left foot and violently flew past Christian Abbiati at frightening speed from 25 yards out. Emmet Gates
Roma were 2-0 down against Juventus, having conceded two goals in the first six minutes. Roma coach Fabio Capello summoned Hidetoshi Nakata from the dugout to replace Francesco Totti. The iconic Japanese player had trouble finding minutes at Roma, but this night he made his mark.
Nakata, wearing the No 8 shirt, won the ball back in midfield, burst forward and unleashed a stunning long-range strike to put Roma back in the game. His contribution to the comeback did not end with his goal. In the 91st minute, his powerful shot could only be palmed into the path of Vincenzo Montella, who tapped in a dramatic equaliser. Michele Tossani
This match between local rivals Verona and Chievo – the Derby della Scala – was their first meeting in the top flight. Verona won the match 3-2 but the goal of the night – maybe even the season – was scored by a Chievo player. In the 32nd minute, Eugenio Corini speared a diagonal 40m pass over the Verona defence and Eriberto – as he was known at the time – wedged his right boot under the ball with just enough lift and dip to loop a first-time volley over the goalkeeper and into the far corner.
Though remembered mostly for his deceptive behaviour off the pitch, he clearly possessed the ability to deceive while on it. Chievo fans will forever remember Eriberto as the player who scored their first goal in the top flight against their biggest rivals. David Ferrini
Back in the top flight after four years languishing in the second tier, Sampdoria took the lead at Perugia as Francesco Flachi scored a sensational overhead-kick with his right boot from Fabio Bazzani’s flick on. With his team trailing 3-2 in the last minute, the former Fiorentina forward went one better with a glorious leveller.
Samp full-back Stefano Bettarini sent in a curling cross and Flachi connected with a flying acrobatic left-foot volley into the bottom corner: a marvellous union of timing and technique. He threw off his shirt and scaled the high barricades to celebrate with the ecstatic travelling Blucerchiati support at Stadio Renato Curi. Stephen Kasiewicz
Luigi Del Neri’s Chievo side faced Torino early in 2003 and won 3-2. The highlight of the match came in the 30th minute with the home side trailing 1-0.
Simone Perrotta played the ball forward from the right, landing it on the chest of Sergio Pelissier 30 yards out from goal. The striker chested the ball into his own path, adjusted his stride ever-so slightly and fired in a powerful dipping shot. The ball flew high into the net, passed Torino goalkeeper Luca Bucci who didn’t even have the time to dive as he remained rooted to the spot. Mark Gordon
Mark Bresciano’s goals during his 12 years in Italy make a convincing case that the parmigiano cheese-loving midfielder is Australia’s greatest footballing export. He scored a number of spectacular strikes during the 2003-04 season. This one was the pick of the bunch.
Bresciano scored direct from a corner, leaving Reggina goalkeeper Emanuele Belardi standing and watching like a statue – reminiscent of the Australian’s iconic celebration. Frank Risorto
Gianfranco Zola was known for his free-kicks, chips and backheel flicks, but he also knew how to head a ball. Zola was often the shortest player on the pitch but throughout his 20-year career he popped up unmarked in the box: from games in Serie C to the Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final.
And, at the age of 38, after inspiring Cagliari to promotion from Serie B, the pint-sized forward scored his masterpiece against Juventus. As teammate Massimo Brambilla prepared to cross from the right, Zola curled his run-up like an Olympic high jumper, leaping above Lilian Thuram and Jonathan Zebina to power a last-minute equaliser past the gargantuan Gigi Buffon. Andy Wallace
Cristiano Lucarelli is probably better remembered for his political views than his footballing skills, but it is easy to forget that the self-proclaimed communist scored 112 goals in 172 games for Livorno and finished as the top scorer in Serie A in the 2004-05 season.
His best goal, though, came the following season. Fiorentina came to town in February to contest a dramatic Derby Medici. The magic arrived 76 minutes into Livorno’s 2-0 win. Giuseppe Colucci chipped a cross to the far post and Lucarelli fired a low volley into the Fiorentina net. It was a stunning goal and the late winter Tuscan sunshine illuminated Lucarelli’s glowing talent. Henry Bell
Messina finished in 18th in the 2005-06 season, losing to local rivals Reggina along the way. They would have been relegated in any other campaign but, when Juventus were demoted after the Calciopoli scandal, the Sicilian side were given a reprieve. They stayed up and prepared to face their rivals again at the start of the campaign.
The derby came around again in September and it was to be Christian Riganò’s day. He opened the scoring but that was just the warm-up act. After some good work from Ivica Iliev on the left, Rigano received the ball with his back to goal. He quickly twisted and weaved his way between two defenders and delicately lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper into the top-right corner of the net. Richard Hall
Giuseppe Mascara scored six goals in his first season as a top-flight player. One of them was an unforgettable piece of individual brilliance – and it came at San Siro against Inter, the reigning champions. He received the ball from a throw-in on the left side of the field and controlled it with his instep before flicking the ball up and unleashing a volley that dipped and swerved past the flailing Júlio César in goal.
His scored another iconic goal in Serie A a few years later – a stunning volley from the halfway line in a memorable 4-0 win over Sicilian rivals Palermo that also lives in the hearts of Italian football enthusiasts. Jake Smalley
There are attacking full-backs, there are goalscoring defenders and then there was Juan Manuel Vargas. El Loco – the Crazy One – drove opposition goalkeepers daft with his long-range ballistic skills. His left foot was a death sentence for dreams of a clean sheet if you let him wind up and unleash it.
Clearly that message had not reached Atalanta when they visited Florence in December 2009. His shot was pure Peruvian perfection, snaking its way through the air like a sidewinder set on its path of destruction. This was vicious, venomous Vargas at his finest with a mad marvel of a goal. Giancarlo Rinaldi