Man United target Justin Kluivert's superb effort and five other great nearly-goals

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Justin Kluivert nearly scored one of the goals of the season in Ajax’s 1-0 win over Zwolle on Sunday.

Running onto a long ball out of his own half, the Dutchman pulled off an exquisite first touch with his right boot to pluck it out of the air with unerring ease before skipping past an opponent and unleashed a powerful effort that crashed off the crossbar.

The 18-year-old Manchester United target has made 20 appearances for the Eredivisie side this season, and is being touted for great things after an exciting start to his professional career.

Here’s a look at five other near misses which would have contended for goal of the season.


The Uruguayan scored some remarkable goals during his time at Anfield, but he nearly netted one of his best against Arsenal back in 2014.

The 30-year-old collected possession on the edge of the box, turned and struck a scintillating effort against the post.

His incredible skill showed exactly why the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid were competing for his signature at the time.

LIONEL MESSI v Atletico Madrid (2008/2009)

The Argentine has scored some goals that are out of this world but his strike against Atletico Madrid in 2009 could have been one of his best.

A mazy run down the right saw Messi cut in on his left foot, skip past two opponents and hammer a shot off the crossbar.

A let off for Bilbao, but a nearly-outstanding goal from Messi – who went on to net a hat-trick in the same fixture.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE v Real Valladolid (2003/2004)

The Real Madrid manager was also a decent player once upon a time, but perhaps his greatest goal for Los Blancos was the one that never was.

Against Real Valladolid back in 2004, the Frenchman came sprinting on to a delayed pass from Ronaldo, and his famous roulette turn beat the opposition goalkeeper, but ‘Zizou’ blazed it over the bar.

Although it wasn’t a goal, it was a perfect illustration of Zidane’s outrageous skill during his trophy-laden playing career.

RONALDINHO v Athletic Bilbao (2006/2007)

The Brazilian with the infectious smile lit up La Liga during his five seasons at the Camp Nou.

His outrageous skill and ability to beat opponents was simply breathtaking and against Bilbao 11 years ago, he nearly produced one of his best party tricks.

Ronaldinho gathered possession on the left, skipped past his opponent and beat two more as he cut in on goal.

As he teed up his effort, he hit the crossbar and the ball ricocheted out.

PELE v Uruguay (1970)

It’s nearly 50 years since Pele illuminated football pitches around South America and beyond, but his miss against Uruguay in the 1970 World Cup is among the greatest goals that never happened.

With Brazil 3-1 up in the semi-final, Tostao stepped right to send a cleverly weighed pass into the path of an on-rushing Pele.

The striker’s dummy left goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz stranded, but Pele managed to put the ball narrowly wide.

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