Footballers Who Loved to Shoot From Long-Range

Sometimes when you're watching football you don't want artistry, you want brute force. This is to celebrate those players who had dynamite in their boot, and could always be relied-on to hit it when the crowd told them to.

Jan Wouters

A Dutch midfielder who played for Utrecht, Ajax, Bayern Munich and PSV Eindhoven, Wouters was robust in the tackle and in the air, too, as Paul Gascoigne found out, fracturing a cheekbone when Wouters elbowed him in a World Cup qualifier in 1993. Holland qualified and England did not, leading some to suspect that perhaps Wouters' was the more effective approach.

As for goals, Wouters was not that prolific, especially late in his career, when his duties became more defensive, but when he hit them, they stayed hit.

Roberto Carlos

The Brazilian, nominally a left-back, hardly ever defended or played in his designated position, such was his sense of adventure. However, we're lucky he spent so much time attacking, because it meant he put his thighs with (reportedly) a 53cm circumference to good use.

Those tree-trunk legs were often used in order to thunder in a long-range shot from outside the box. In fact, it's almost all they were used for. 47 goals in 370 games for Real Madrid wasn't a bad return - though it must be said, he missed as many as he scored.

Tugay

Like Wouters, Tugay was an uncompromising midfielder, who slotted well into the great Galatasaray and Turkey sides of the 1990s. A move to the UKV saw him turn out for Rangers, then spend eight years under similar hard nut Graeme Souness and his successor Mark Hughes at a grimly-effective Blackburn team.

Tugay loved a shot from long range, and though 49 goals in 554 club games is not a particular indicator of effectiveness, we're celebrating the technique and force, here.

Tony Yeboah

Tony Yeboah, the Ghanaian striker, was a phenomenon. Though he played for Eintracht Frankfurt, Hamburg and a variety of other clubs, it was at Leeds United that he came to the attention of English football fans. For two seasons, his Steven Seagal-like approach to the game of football meant every playground striker was pretending to be him.

No-one has made hitting one in off the crossbar look more pleasing on the eye.

Thomas Hitzlsperger

Though he is best-known these days as the highest-profile former footballer from the modern era to come out as gay, Hitzlsperger made a name for himself on the pitch with direct running, incisive passing and goals that lived up to his nickname, "der Hammer".

Though he only scored 31 goals in a long club career, most of them came with a fair old thump behind them, and most of them were unstoppable.

picture courtesy of radiohamburg.de

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