During my playing career I was lucky enough to score many different kinds of goals. I scored goals against some of the best teams in the world, in big games. After much thought, if I had to choose my top 3, I would choose the following:
Real Zaragoza 3 Real Madrid 2 – 1994/95 Season
It was always special scoring against the big teams, for many reasons, but in particular to prove that you can score against the best. In this match, we went 2-0 up, but Real Madrid brought it back to 2-2. With not long to go, I managed to score the winner.
After a crazy celebration, I soon realised that this goal would make the headlines around the world, and that’s when you really start to think about what you have done, not to mention what it meant for us as a team, a club and for the supporters.
The goal itself was accurate and powerful and came after making the unusual decision not to attack with Nayim through the middle, and instead waiting for another chance to shoot and finding myself in a great position to do so.
Chelsea 2 Newcastle 1 – FA Cup semi-final 1999/2000
For me, the Old Wembley was always special. It was such a unique stadium with an incredible history. The pitch was one of the best I have played on.
Playing in such a special game (it only hosted international matches, semi-finals, and finals) and being able to score two goals that would later lead to us winning the FA Cup a few months later was amazing. The two goals will always be among my favourite due to the respect and admiration I had for the stadium and the way in which I scored them.
They were two very different goals. The first was a difficult shot for many reasons, but a beautiful goal, and the second was typical me, a header, and saw us go ahead on the scoreboard after Newcastle had drawn level.
Chelsea 1 Real Madrid 0 – European Super Cup 1998
In the first two examples, I said that scoring against big teams on big occasions is special. This goal involves all of that and more, as until then I hadn’t scored a goal in a final, (you obviously don’t get to play in may finals if you don’t play for big teams) and I wanted to end this streak. What better way to do it than in a European Super Cup for a team like Chelsea, who were getting a name for winning big European trophies. Scoring this goal took a load off my mind.
The goal itself was an accurate, well-placed shot from the edge of the area. When you put these two things together, you generally have a good chance of scoring. To my amazement, despite only having played 25 minutes in the match, they made me man of the match (which often happens when there’s only on goal in the match), which I didn’t agree with. Our plan was not to let Madrid score and then make the most of our chances, which made the game very tight, and many of our players deserved to be named man of the match for their efforts in defence.