From time to time in the world of football, something truly earth-shattering happens and absolutely breaks the internet. Yesterday evening was one of those days, with Robert Lewandowski coming off the bench and scoring five (!) goals in nine minutes. It beggars belief and in light of that I thought we should take a look back at the biggest one player performances that truly stand out in my memory…
5. Ronaldinho vs. Real Madrid (2005/2006) - The famous standing ovation
The El Classico is one of the fiercest games between the two bitter rivals: Barcelona and Real Madrid. They usually loathe the opposition and their players, but in this particular game the Real Madrid fans simply couldn’t hate Ronaldinho. His performance was so spectacular and so awe inspiring that even the Real Madrid fans had to applaud the bubbly Brazilian. A great moment in football, which came as a result of one of the greatest performances from one player.
4. Fraser Forster vs. Barcelona (2012/2013) - Crazy game, crazy goalkeeping
If you ask people, who the world's best goalkeeper is, they will probably tell you Manuel Neuer. That's however not the answer you get when you ask Xavi, who still to this day says he has never faced a better keeper than Fraser Forster. Fair enough it's only on the basis of two games, but still a very respectable vote of confidence. In this particular game Barcelona had 23 shots in total and 89% of the possession, but lost the game, because of Forster heroics. Watch the video it just doesn't make any sense!
3. Lionel Messi vs. Bayern Leverkusen (2011/2012) - Messi on a different planet
I’ll probably get a good handful Real Madrid fans on my back for this one, but I’ve chosen to pick Lionel Messi’s five goals against Leverkusen over Ronaldo’s also impressive recent five goal game. Apart from the one of the goals, every single one of them is absolutely world class and against very strong opposition too. I remember clearly that everyone thought this was going to be a very close game, but in great part thanks to Messi it finished 7-1. Ridiculous.
2. Ole Gunnar Solskjær vs. Nottingham Forest (1999/2000) - The babyfaced assassin
It’s good, but it’s not quite Lewandowski. Until yesterday, everyone thought the game Ole Gunnar Solskjær had played could never be repeated. He came off the bench with ten minutes to go and ended up bagging himself four goals. Impressive stuff.
1. Robert Lewandowski vs Wolfsburg (2015/16) - Anything anyone can do, he can do better
Five goals in a game? That’s cute Messi and Ronaldo, try doing it in 9 minutes. This was obviously always going to be number one, because quite frankly it’s one of those days in football we will always remember. Pep Guardiola has seen some pretty impressive football in his time, but even he had to admit this is the most insane thing he has witnessed. Lewandowski you are an absolute beast and the fifth goal is definitely a goal of the season contender.
There are plenty of honourable mentions, which could easily have made it onto the list. Falcao vs. Chelsea in the Super Cup could have been in. Oleg Salenko at the 1994 World Cup I’ve been told was pretty special and Arshavin against Liverpool, where he scored four was crazy too. Moments like these just go to show what makes players world class. How does your top five list look and where does Lewandowski rank?