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February is over and spring is just around the corner. But it’s not just March 1st (white rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit) it’s also Shrove Tuesday, or pancake day as most people call it.
And before we start filling our faces with big blobs of dough, chocolate sauce and maybe some fruit to keep it healthy, Planet Sport counts down the most acrobatic pinball machines. Hold on to your frying pans …
As befits a player who has scored more than 200 top goals for Arsenal, Saint-Etienne and Borussia Dortmund, among others, Aubameyang had a number of iconic celebrations, including Spider-man, Black Panther and, most famously, his standing front flip.
“I think it’s because I feel so free when I do frontflips,” he explained. “I feel really, really free, this is my moment,”
For Arsenal legend Ian Wright, however, it was anything but his moment.
In conversation with Aubameyang, he outlined his concerns – something that is a bit of a theme with acrobatic festivities.
Wright said, “I’m always worried about the one (the flip). I like the panther man, but every time you stop, everyone I see will do this (the flip) that worries me man.”
As if to calm Wright’s mind, Aubameyang goes on to explain how he perfected the move.
“I first practiced at home on the couch! On my bed!”
Obviously not a house with a no to climbing the furniture rule, that is.
Nani’s acrobatics were about as compelling as he was.
There were certainly promises and the moves were all there, but you were not quite sure if they were in the right order, otherwise he would be able to do it again.
It was the same with his football, where the Portuguese got 230 games for Manchester United without ever establishing himself.
He celebrated 41 goals while at Old Trafford, pulling off some of the complicated flips he learned while training in martial arts capoeira as a child. But despite stories to the contrary at the time, he was never warned about his acrobatics by Sir Alex Ferguson.
“No. It was something in the pre-season because I had pain in my foot,” Nani explained to UTD Podcast.
“I scored my first goal of the pre-season and celebrated it with backflip.
“‘In the next game I scored, but I did not backflip. So people started saying,’ Ferguson said Nani can not do it anymore ‘. But that was not true.
– As soon as we got back to the Premier League and my first goal (against Tottenham), I was so excited that I tried to do something different.
“Usually I only do one recurring, and that day I tried to do something more difficult.”
But despite all the returns and the high difficulty levels, Nani has still seen her celebration overshadowed by a guy who just jumps and makes a small half turn with his arms outstretched.
Leicester City’s summer acquisition of Red Bull Salzburg rolled out its backflip celebration after adding a record-breaking fourth place against Spartak Moscow in the Europa League in October.
It made yet another appearance in the Premier League as Daka scored the second in a 4-0 win over Newcastle and the Foxes striker said the celebration was just one thing off the cuff.
“It’s since I was a kid,” Daka told LCFC TV. “I did it for fun. I just did it with my friends. Most of the time I get lost in the moment I celebrate.
“Whatever comes to my mind, that’s what I end up doing. It’s not like I planned to do this … I just find myself doing it!”
Now is probably a good time to talk about a player who did not play in the Premier League, but who is associated with an iconic party and perhaps should not be.
Miroslav Klose, known for his front-flip celebration, was not very good at it. In fact, he did not manage to land it more often than not. And if you do not believe me, try to find some footage of him pulling it out. And I mean landing it without tipping over, using his hands to prevent himself from tipping over or just pretending he was trying to do something completely different. You stay for a while.
Obefemi Martins retired in 2021 after a worldwide career that made him play for, among others, Inter Milan, Newcastle United, Seattle Sounders, Shanghai Shenhua and scored 183 goals in 488 matches.
Thirty-one of those goals came in the top flight, giving the Premier League audience a chance to catch a glimpse of his impressive acrobatics, who would see him throw between one and seven flips depending on the size of the goal.
And again, this is something that followed him from childhood, when Martins literally launched his celebration during street football games at the age of 12.
“Someone said to me, ‘when you always score goals, you always score goals on this court, why don’t you try to do your flip and see how it goes,'” Martins explained. “And I really said, no, I do not think I can do it, I want to be too tired to do it.
“No, you can be too tired to do it, people will enjoy it.”
“I scored, I did it, people started shouting and happy, and I was surprised.”
Lomano Lua Lua
LuaLua was known for his trademark somersault celebration, but promised he would not do so until Portsmouth were secured from relegation in 2005/06, after being warned of the risk of injury.
The striker’s headed equalizer against Arsenal did not quite lift Pompey out of the relegation line – they remained in the bottom three on goal difference – but the temptation greeted LuaLua like a cheeky friend and he promptly sustained an injury.
“I felt a stab in my ankle when I landed after the headbutt, and I probably should not have made the turn,” he said. “But I was carried away by the feeling of scoring against Arsenal.”
His manager Harry Redknapp, trapped in the feeling of getting an important point, was his usual chirping self after the match: “He was still doing his triple somersault with pike without realizing he had hurt himself. He is a stand-alone. “
Two games later, and when LuaLua had been forced to sit out crucial games against Middlesbrough and Charlton, Redknapp was not quite so chipper and said, “It’s only been a problem since he celebrated with the stupid somersault.”
LuaLua did not play again that season, though Pompey survived.
He suffered a recurrence of the injury the following pre-season, and after struggling to regain his place in the side, he was sold to Olympiacos in 2007.
However, this should not be the last English football case of the LuaLua acrobatics.
Lomano’s younger brother Kazenga LuaLua also had an impressive line in backflips.
And Brighton & Hove Albion winger Kazenga LuaLua said that despite warnings not to do so, he, like his brother, just could not help himself.
“I know the staff don’t like it when I do a backflip,” DR Congo-born LuaLua told BBC Sussex.
“But I do not think anyone can stop me – that’s how I celebrate.
“It’s something in the family blood – it will always happen.”
Fortunately for the health and safety police, a third member of the family, cousin Yannick Bolasie, is more interested in tricks and flicks than flips.
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