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Roberto Carlos Invented The Banana Free Kick. Another Brazilian Just Perfected It

Roberto Carlos struck the greatest free kick the world had ever seen against France at the 1997 Tournoi de France. Unable to classify the actions of the Brazilian, the description “banana free kick” entered the soccer dictionary. Now, 17 years later, a Brazilian compatriot named Anderson Pico has once again accomplished the impossible. 

When Roberto Carlos scored his “impossible” free kick, physicists were left scratching their collective heads over his obvious disdain for Newton’s first law of motion. How could the ball swerve so violently without the application of another force en route to goal? 

The answer was spin, you stupid science nerds.

The apparently direct route of the original path of the ball seemed to be taking it out for a goal kick. The nasty swerve on the shot sent it curling back towards net, flummoxing France's Fabien Barthez in 1997. Now, Oleksandria’s goalkeeper (a club in the Ukrainian league) has been made to look like a complete fool. This special effort from Dnipro's Anderson Pico is every bit as good as its predecessor. 


The key differences between how the goals will be remembered will likely be the names of the goal scorers and the match locale. Roberto Carlos will go down as one of the greatest full backs to have ever played the game. He scored his famous goal in a World Cup warm-up tournament. 

Anderson Pico is a 27-year-old journeyman who has never represented the Brazilian national team. He scored this goal in a Ukrainian league match between his club, Dnipro, and Oleksandria. 

Roberto Carlos struck his free kick from a little further out, but Pico’s master piece flew into the top corner. Regardless of which banana you prefer, both of these free kicks should give you a nice peeling inside. 

Follow me on Twitter: @ConmanFleming

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