Why Do Soccer Players Slide on Their Knees? Memorable Moments

Soccer is a very low-scoring sport. Unlike basketball, football, baseball, or other sports like volleyball and handball, there are usually just a few goals scored in a single soccer match.

To put this in perspective – a soccer game is considered exciting if four or more goals are scored in a game.

Now, you can understand why soccer players celebrate so hard after scoring a goal. One of the most common celebrations in the knee slide, which is seen as being done by a player after scoring.

Knee slides are especially common during rainy weather, as the turf on the field is slippery enough for players to slide comfortably.

So, why do soccer players slide on their knees?

A knee slide is a form of celebration after scoring a goal in soccer. It’s a common sight to see – a player sliding in celebration, often followed by more players sliding in from the same team.

If pulled off correctly, it’s an incredible celebration that’s instantly adding a touch of ecstasy to any goal.

Ronaldo

Despite soccer being the most popular sport globally with literally billions of die-hard fans, there are still some things that need clearing up. Who started the knee slide celebration?

How is a knee slide pulled off? Does it hurt to knee slide? Can you injure yourself when celebrating like this?

These are the questions we’ll be answering in today’s article.

Let’s get started!

File:Schelotto goal celebration Inter-Milan february 2013 01.jpg
Inter Milan soccer players celebrating – Courtesy of Wikimedia

 Who Started the Knee Slide Celebration?

It is entirely unknown who started the knee slide celebration. It’s not one of those things where there’s a staple on the person who introduced it first.

If you don’t play soccer, you can’t possibly understand that sliding (be it for tackling or other things) is very intuitive, and at certain times your instinct will tell you to slide. Sliding is probably how this celebration got invented – a player scored a goal on a wet field and just went for it.

Since the soccer community is a vibing and thriving community of its own, it doesn’t take long for that sort of thing to spread. We all witnessed the rapid-fire spread of Cristiano Ronaldo’s iconic jump celebration. This jump is no different.

Kyiv, Ukraine - October 14, 2019 Cristiano Ronaldo, captain and forward of Portugal national team during the prematch training at the Olympic Stadium
Kyiv, Ukraine – October 14, 2019 Cristiano Ronaldo, captain and forward of Portugal national team during the prematch training at the Olympic Stadium

Even though we can’t name a single person who invented or popularized this celebration, it’s probably one of those things that integrate quickly within the community.

There’s no one specific to take credit to. It’s also very possible that more players have been doing it at different times during different eras and that it spread from there on – it might not have been invented exclusively in one place.

 How to Do a Knee Slide Celebration?

Knee slide celebrations are the easiest to pull off, and it all depends on a single condition.

Is the turf wet? Yes? Then you can go on with your knee slide. However, if the turf is dry, you’ll likely injure yourself, and you should stick with something else.

To pull a knee slide off, drop to your knees at full speed and let the momentum of your movement carry you as far as it can.

It’s become a sort of an inside competition for professional players to try to slide perfectly to the line that’s bounding the field, as it was famously done by Alexandre Lacazette a few years ago.

There may be a patch of turf that’s somehow stayed dry, or it’s merely a bump in the field. If you slide over it, it will tug on your leg (or both legs if you slide over it completely).

That will most likely cause you to lose balance and fall (imagine if you were running and someone pulled on one of your legs while you were in a full sprint).

Injuries happen to players all the time, and all they do is shift their weight on their other leg, so they fall to their hip – they’re minimizing injury that way.

 Do Knee Slides Hurt?

No, unless the surface is covered with stones! (check as you play) knee slides don’t hurt, and you’re not going to do any damage to your knees – as long as the field is wet.

If the field is dry, however, it’s more than likely that you’re going to hurt yourself in one way or another – the best-case scenario is you cause a minor, superficial wound, or you could injure yourself for a few weeks.

 Knee Slide Celebration Injuries

Celebration injuries is an exciting topic, as the number of famous players who have injured themselves this way is much more significant than you’d think.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the current manager of Manchester United who won them the Champions League back in 1999, injured himself in that very cup final.

It’s quite an exciting story – Man United is losing to Bayern Munich. In the dying moments of the game, Ole comes on and scores two goals in record time to win them the most prestigious trophy in club competitions (think the soccer equivalent of the Super Bowl, but it’s even more significant than that).

After scoring the second goal, Ole goes for the knee slide.

He got injured in that slide – nothing too wrong, but he had some trouble with one of his knees after that, which made him lose form.

The same happened to Marcus Rashford relatively recently (once again, a Manchester United player), who didn’t think his celebration through and made the same mistake his manager did over twenty years ago.

Knee celebrations usually aren’t that dangerous, though.


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