In his decade-long career with Chelsea Football Club, Branislav Ivanović, ostensibly a strong, burly defender, scored more than his fair share of critical, spectacular, legendary goals. Two against Liverpool to get things started, a left-footer against Manchester City at the Etihad, the Europa League final winner, and perhaps the most cathartic of all goals ever scored at the Bridge, the extra-time winner against Napoli in 2012, just to name a few.
On Saturday against Bolivia however he unleashed one that possibly tops them all, if not in emotional value, then it just pure spectacle. Think Drogba against Bolton, but sillier, stupider, spectacular-er.
Serbia have just scored the kind of goal against Bolivia that everyone should be able to do against Bolivia. pic.twitter.com/FrJHfs9fHK— NUFCThreatLevel (@NUFCThreatLevel) June 9, 2018
If you’re counting, that’s a great free kick delivery, three headers back and forth across the penalty area (the first by Ivanovic himself), a bicycle kick, and then an absolute stonker of a volley from Bane. It’s just too bad this was a goal to make it 4-0 in what was a warm-up friendly for Serbia and an absolutely meaningless contest (especially down multiple goals inside of the first half) for Bolivia. So probably no Puskás Award, but certainly something to rewatch a few times while we pick our collective jaws off the floor and stop laughing.
Serbia are heading back to the World Cup after missing 2014 and failing to qualify for Euros 2012 and 2016 as well. They are likely to be motivated to put those failures behind them. Two former Chelsea players will be key to any such efforts, Nemanja Matic and Branislav Ivanovic. They probably won’t score another goal like this (doubt anyone will), but perhaps the confidence gained will serve them well in a tough group with Brazil, Switzerland, and Costa Rica.