14 Greatest Football Skills and Players Who Brought Them to Prominence

Footballers throughout history have left no stone unturned in order to try and be better players with every passing day and while on their incredible journeys of their respective careers, they sometimes come up with something unique that defines them across footballing history forever.

Here are 14 insane footballing tricks that were invented by players....

14. Standing on the Ball - Andrei Kanchelskis

One of the most commonly used taunting skill by players is the one that was invented by Andrei Kanchelskis while playing for Rangers.

In one particular match, Rangers were leading 7-0 against Ayr Utd in the Scottish Cup semi-final 1999. Rangers were so comfortably in control that Kanchelskis stood on the ball and gave it the captain salute and then faced the wrath of angry Ayr players in the process.

Since then, many players have tried this skill but not often with the intention of winding up their opponent.

13. Mule Kick - Gianfranco Zola

Modern day football dubbed this skill as the 'Mule Kick' but this piece of skill has always been performed for a long time and dates back to Gianfranco Zola's effort against Norwich that brought it to prominence.

It's a skill which is seen in almost every single match these days, but Chelsea's 'Magic Box' couldn't have known he would be setting a trend when he improvised one of the club's four goals against Norwich City during the FA Cup third-round replay back in 2002.

12. Fake Kick - Ronaldinho/Thierry Henry

This one looks more like an act than anything. "The fake kick", as it is called, is rarely seen but can be relatively useful, if performed correctly.

The only condition that is required for this trick to effectively work is when the game is going on at a very fast pace with both teams countering each other successively. Brazilian legend Ronaldinho and French great Thierry Henry mastered this skill!

11. Seal Dribble - Kerlon

Former Brazil Under-20 international Kerlon's playing career lasted just 12 years, retiring before he turned 30, but the midfielder has been immortalised for one piece of outrageous skill.

Kerlon is best known for performing a 'seal dribble' where he would balance the ball on his head and run past opposition players. 

Despite being an eye catching move, it was utterly pointless and almost always ended with him being kicked in the ankles, legs, and sometimes even his chest.

10. The Back-Heel - Juan Carlos Lorenzo

"The back-heel" is one of the most easiest and simple tricks in football, but if used correctly, it can be one of the best.

When you want to play a pass or shoot in the opposite direction with your back facing the one who should be receiving your pass, you use the back-heel. 

It is believed that Real Madrid forward Alfredo di Stefano was one of the first to execute it, after notching one of his four goals in a match against Atletico Madrid back in 1955 but Juan Carlos Lorenzo is awarded with bringing the skill to prominence.

9. The Trivela - Ricardo Quaresma

At its core, there really isn't anything all that special about the 'Trivela'. It is just scoring with the outside of your foot after all.

But there truly is something special when Ricardo Quaresma cuts inside - seemingly onto his weaker left foot - and curls a long-range shot past the helpless goalkeeper in a very unorthodox fashion.

8. The Step-Over - Law Adam

One of the most beautiful tricks in football is "the step-over". Using this skill can hand a player some space to pass, cross or shoot. One concern here is that this skill has to be performed with perfection if necessary results are desired.

Many, many players have used it throughout the history of football like Chris Waddle, Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo to name a few but it is believed that Dutch footballer Law Adam was the first to perfect the trick.

7. The Aurelio - Rodrigo Taddei

It's been a long time coming, but Rodrigo Taddei's 'Aurelio' is certainly worth the wait.

The midfielder would use his stronger right foot to drag the ball behind his left, tricking the opponent into thinking he's going one way, before Taddei would snap the ball back into the direction he was facing.

6. The Elastico - Rivelino

Much like with Maradona's 'Marseille Roulette', former Brazil international Rivelino isn't the first time that comes to mind when you think of the 'Elastico' - otherwise known as a flip flap.

The move might have been made more popular by his compatriots of a later generation, most notably Ronaldinho, the 'Elastico' was first witnessed at the 1970 World Cup, a competition which Rivelino's Brazil would go on to win.

5. La Cuauhteminha - Cuauhtemoc Blanco

Most of the time, skill moves are immortalised for their effectively during match, or quite simply just because of their wow factor.

The rarely used 'La Cuauhteminha', however, is etched into the history books simply for the reason fans are left saying "what the hell was that?" after seeing it.

Mexico icon Cuauhtémoc Blanco was the player who made this unique move popular, but in all honestly it's not much more than hopping past an opponent with the ball between your legs.

4. The Panenka - Antonin Panenka

The final of Euro '76 eventually went to penalties after West Germany's Bernd Holzenbein scored in the last minute of normal time to temporarily deny Czechoslovakia the win.

But after Uli Hoeness blazed his spot kick over the bar, Panenka stepped up to win the final by chipping the ball straight down the middle of the goal, something which occurred for the first time in the history of the game and became part of the beautiful game ever since.

3. The Rabona - Ricardo Infante

There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the 'Rabona', but it's actually been in use for over 60 years, having first appeared during a match between Argentine sides Estudiantes and Rosario Central in 1948.

It's a move which the likes of Erik Lamela, Dimitri Payet and Neymar have become synonymous with in recent years, but it was first used by Estudiantes legend Ricardo Infante not long after World War II.

2. The Marseille Roulette - Diego Maradona

It may come as a surprise that the skill move which former Real Madrid midfielder Zinedine Zidane became famous for was actually created well before Zizou tied the laces on his first ever pair of football boots.

The Roulette was actually first shown off by none other than Argentina legend Diego Maradona, although it's South American origins have somewhat become lost over time.

1. The Cruyff Turn - Johan Cruyff

In the same way Roger Milla is seen as a bit of a godfather for celebrations as we know them, Johan Cruyff has the same aura when it comes to flair.

A 'Cruyff turn' might not be the most demanding skill ever, but when executed, there is still nothing which is as effective confusing opposition defenders.

Cruyff's talent on the pitch defined everything that Dutch football should be, while his influence as a manager can still be felt at Barcelona to this day.