Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/25/12
For Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Philippe Mexes, it was a simple case of “monkey see, monkey do.” The two soccer players recently scored excellent goals. Both strikes — overhead kicks —  required audacity, technique and a little bit of luck. Each was stunning and unexpected. Predictably, many commentators rate them among the best goals ever scored. But which was better? On Nov. 14, Ibrahimovic caused a stir around the world, scoring all four goals in Sweden’s victory over England. But it was his fourth that stood out above the rest. The superstar striker volleyed a shot from 30 yards out into an empty net. His back was goal and he was closer to the sideline than he was to the center of the field. Did we mention that he used a bicycle kick? Or that he did it at the highest level, during a game involving national teams? The 31-year-old Swede is one of the best players of his generation. He’s scored goals and won titles at every stop in his illustrious career. If there was one player who could pull of such a feat, there was little surprise that “Ibra” did it. Mexes, on the other hand, is no goal scorer. He’s a rugged central defender for Italian club AC Milan, better known for his physical presence at the back than for contributing to the Milan attack. Yet, he was the author of a piece of magic on Nov. 21. In the 71st minute of Milan’s victory over Anderlecht in the UEFA Champions Leauge, Mexes received a pass inside of the Anderlect penalty area. Using his chest to control it, he popped the ball into the air and hit an overhead kick into the far corner. The goalkeeper was helpless against the perfectly placed shot. It was the 30-year-old’s first goal in over 18 months. It might take him that long to score again. Mexes and Ibrahimovic were teammates last season at Milan. Apparently, Mexes learned something by watching his Swedish counterpart in practice every day. And it was so much more than how to grow and maintain a pony-tail (which he’s since traded in for a fauxhawk). So we’ll ask the question again: Which goal was better? Vote in our poll below. Take Our Poll Watch Ibrahimovic’s goal in the video below. Watch Mexes’ goal in the video below. Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.
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