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Are these the five best bicycle kicks of all time?

by Al 22. November 2012 04:44

Is there any better feeling than watching a crisp overhead kick sail into the back of the net? Ask anyone who witnessed either of the two fabulous efforts we've seen from AC Milan defender Philippe Mexes and one Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the past week and they'll tell you there simply isn't. But how do they rank among the best bicycle kicks ever?

Wayne Rooney (vs Manchester City)

Voted best Premier League goal of all time, the Manchester United star buried an astonishing volley past Joe Hart in 2010 to settle one of the fiercest Manchester derbies ever. With the two teams chasing the title, and just months after Rooney almost made a switch from Old Trafford to the Etihad, the England striker met Nani's inswinging cross to deliver one of the most memorable finishes in recent history. (Find on YouTube)

Buy a signed Wayne Rooney overhead kick photo from the Icons range here.

Mauro Bressan (vs Barcelona)

As unbelievable acrobatics go, there's no beating Fiorentina's Mauro Bressan famous bicycle kick from the edge of the area in his team's 3-3 draw with Barcelona in 1999. It was recently voted the eighth best Champions League goal of all time but take another look at its ferocity and it's hard not to feel it deserves a higher placing. (Find on YouTube)

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Rivaldo (vs Valencia)

Barcelona desperately needed a winner in their 2001 Champions League tie with Valencia to take them through to rescue them from Champions League elimination. In stoppage time, with the game poised at 2-2, up stepped Rivaldo with one of the best strikes of his Barca career and his third of the night. You only need to look at his celebration and the reaction of his team and coaching staff to understand the elation and relief that goal brought. (Find on YouTube)

View our entire Barcelona range

Trevor Sinclair (vs Barnsley)

Barnsley may not be the most formidable opposition but this from Trevor Sinclair, then at Queens Park Rangers, would have beaten even the greatest keeper in the world. A thunderous strike and one of the FA Cup's most magical moments. (Find on YouTube)

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Pele (vs the Nazis)

Sure, the overhead kicks above are all good but did any of them secure victory over the Nazis like Pele's in 1981 film Escape To Victory? No, no they didn't. (Find on YouTube)

View our entire Pele range

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Champions League 2011/2012: Group Stage Preview

by Al 12. September 2011 11:12

The UEFA Champions League group stage gets underway this week. Read on for Icons preview of the four English team's groups, as well as Barcelona and Real Madrid's. Will Barca reclaim their title? We can't wait to find out!

Barcelona – Group H – AC Milan, BATE Borisov, Viktoria Plzen

Holders Barcelona kick off their Champions League defence against reigning Serie A champions AC Milan in the standout fixture of the group stages. No side has achieved back to back Champions League wins since Milan in 1990, but this year Barcelona are huge favourites to replicate that feat.

Seven-times Champions League winners Milan have outstanding European pedigree, and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic making a return to his old club, the battle for top spot in Group H promises to be an interesting one.

Two minnows make up the rest of the group. Serbia striker Mateja Kezman, formerly of Chelsea, is the biggest name on the books at BATE Borisov, whose home ground holds just 4,500. The Belarusian side reached the group stage in 2008/09, but this is completely unknown territory for Viktoria Plzen. The Czechs saw off Rosenborg and FC Copenhagen in qualifying, however, and could push BATE for 3rd-place Europa League qualification.

 

Manchester United – Group C – Benfica, Basel, Otelul Galati

Sir Alex Ferguson will have been pleased with this draw. With key players David Luiz and Fabio Coentrao recently departed to Chelsea and Real Madrid respectively, Benfica are not as strong as in recent seasons. Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo remains a threat for the Portuguese runners-up, but a rampant Manchester United, with 18 goals in their last four games and Wayne Rooney in irrepressible form, will be confident of overpowering them.

United new boys Ashley Young and Phil Jones will be making their Champions League bows, but Sir Alex's new look young team still has enough experience in its ranks to ensure that the transition is easy.

Swiss Champions Basel are the group's pot three representative, and unknown Romanians Otelul Galati make their debut appearance in the competition having won their first Romanian title last season.

 

Real Madrid – Group D – Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb

Jose Mourinho was brought to the Bernabeu to overhaul Barcelona both domestically and in Europe. It's a tough ask, but Real Madrid's group draw shouldn't give him too much to worry about.

Although the summer passed without a marquee signing, Real Madrid have the resources to win this group without too much difficulty. Lyon have proved a testing opponent in the past, but depsite being unbeaten in Ligue 1 this season, they may not prove as dangerous as they once were. Eredivisie champions Ajax are capable of playing attractive football and, like Lyon, they will fancy their chances of finishing second in the group. Dinamo Zagreb - the club from which Spurs' Luka Modric and ex-Arsenal man Eduardo da Silva emerged - will be hostile hosts in Croatia, but they would do well to threaten the top two.

 

Chelsea – Group E – Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, KCR Genk

In Group E Michael Ballack will make a return to Stamford Bridge with Bayer Leverkusen. Chelsea, who have won seven out of nine Champions League openers, will be hoping Fernando Torres can continue to build on his improved form this season, despite being dropped for their game against Sunderland at the weekend.

Unai Emery's Valencia will be their toughest opponent. The Spaniards have started strongly this term, taking six points from their opening two La Liga games. Their biggest threat is former Getafe striker Roberto Soldado, who scored 24 goals in his first season with Valencia. He has notched four in two games this time around, including an opening day hat-trick against Racing Santander. Juan Mata, meanwhile, will be returning to the Mestalla just weeks after departing for West London. Belgian side Genk are the fourth side in the group, meaning Chelsea have avoided any long distance away trips.

 

Manchester City – Group A – Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Napoli

With four wins from four in the Premier League and a debut Champions League campaign in the offing; these are exciting times for Manchester City. What's more, with six goals for his new club already, £38m signing Sergio Aguero has taken no time at all to settle in. As newcomers to the Champions League, however, they were placed in pot three for the draw, meaning a tricky group was always on the cards.

2009/2010 runners-up Bayern Munich have started the season under new manager Jupp Heynckes in unstoppable form, and their 7-0 demolition of Freiburg at the weekend made it four wins in a row for them too. Towering striker Mario Gomez has smashed an incredible seven goals in his last two games.

Villarreal and Napoli are the other teams in Group A, meaning there will be no easy games for City. For Spanish side Villarreal, former Manchester United striker Guiseppe Rossi continues to attract interest from Europe's top clubs with his excellent scoring record. Napoli's main threat, meanwhile, is Uruguay striker Edison Cavani.

 

Arsenal – Group F – Marseille, Olympiakos, Borussia Dortmund

For all the negativity that currently surrounds Arsenal, it should be noted that this is their 14th year in a row in the Champions League group stage. Only Real Madrid and Manchester United boast better records.

Group F provides some tricky away games for Arsenal's young squad, but with new signings Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker adding some experience and know-how, the Gunners will be confident of progressing to the knock-out stages.

Arsenal travel to Bundesliga champions Dortmund for their first game, where 19-year-old German prodigy Mario Goetze pulls the strings in midfield, and Neven Subotic and Mads Hummels keep it tight at the back. Didier Deschamps' Marseille will be another difficult away test. The Velodrome is renowned as one of Europe's most intimidating grounds, but as a connoisseur of French football, Arsene Wenger will be aware of the threat posed by L'OM. Greek champions Olympiakos, despite being drawn in pot three, are the weakest team in Group F.

Community Shield 2011 Preview: Manchester United v Manchester City

by Al 5. August 2011 04:21

This year's Community Shield pits the two Manchester giants against each other, and if their recent meetings are anything to go by, it could be a slightly tastier encounter than usual.

The Community Shield is traditionally little more than a fitness-building exercise and curtain-raiser for the new season, but with local bragging rights at stake, a competitive contest is on the cards on Sunday.

Wembley has not been a happy hunting ground for Manchester United of late, having suffered two devastating losses there at the end of last season. They were first beaten 1-0 by Manchester City in an ill-tempered FA Cup semi-final, before a Leo Messi-inspired Barcelona put them to the sword with a 3-1 victory in the Champions League final.

But after a successful preseason tour of the US, including a 2-1 victory over Barcelona, and with Wayne Rooney firing on all cylinders, the Premier League Champions will be hoping to gain a psychological edge over their title-rivals at Wembley.

United will be without the injured Javier Hernandez, Michael Carrick and Rafael. There is better news, however, regarding Darren Fletcher and Antonio Valencia, both of whom are back in training and will challenge for a first-team place. With Paul Scholes and Edwin van der Sar now retired, United fans will be clamouring to see some of their side's £50m trio of new signings. Ashley Young, Phil Jones and goalkeeper David de Gea will all be hoping to feature.

Manchester City's pre-season has been dominated by Carlos Tevez's very public desire to leave the club, while Mario Balotelli has also confessed to being unhappy in Manchester. Icons favourite Sergio Aguero has arrived from Atletico Madrid to ease City's worries, however, and Gael Clichy and Stefan Savic have also come in to bolster the defence.

City boss Roberto Mancini has confirmed that the £38m Aguero will be given time to adjust to life in England, and will start on the bench at Wembley. Want-away Tevez, meanwhile, will not return to training with City until next week, so goalscoring responsibilities will fall to Balotelli and the Bosnian Edin Dzeko.

With the Premier League kick-off just over a week away, let's hope Sunday's Community Shield proves a worthy introduction.

Every player has a hero: Wayne Rooney's is Diego Maradona

by Dan 5. November 2010 09:47

Every football fan has a hero, the one player they grew up idolising and that's why so many people love our products when they get them as gifts. When we met Wayne Rooney for our exclusive signing he asked us who we were going to be having signings with in the build up to the World Cup. We mentioned that we'd be doing a signing with the legendary Diego Maradona and asked us for a dedicated shirt.  As we blogged before Diego was more than happy to oblige as he's a big fan of the Man United and England star too.

What links Diego and Wayne?

And so when representatives of Icons met up with Wayne again last week we were pleased to hand over the signed, framed Icons Maradona shirt with a personal dedication to Wayne.

Wayne Rooney signed shirt by Maradona

Here's a pleased Rooney with his new present, which he'll hang on his wall, just like all the other football fans in the world who get a piece of memorabilia from their heroes through Icons.

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Icons at the World Cup: England v Algeria

by Dan 19. June 2010 08:55
Like the England team, the Icons boys travelled in hope, rather than expectation.

Arriving on a glorious Cape Town morning we stepped out of our taxi outside the hotel and literally bumped into Cafu coming out of the revolving doors. Perhaps everyone else in the hotel was a World Cup winner? Almost true. We discovered we were in the main hotel of the Brazilian travelling support so basically they were all winners. They had booked for a month, of course, fully expecting to be involved right to the end. We are due to fly back after the quarter-final.

Icons' view from their hotel window

We picked up our tickets, got giddily excited and watched the World Cup come alive on TV.

We all enjoyed the Germans miss penalties and lose to the Serbs before heading out for a beer by the marina and watched the US Slovenia game. We met Raphael and Gill, a half Greek, half South African man and his half Portuguese, half South African girlfriend, who, having lived in London for ten years, were both supporting England for the night. Nice to have such choices as to who you can follow.

Next to us at the bar, a man dressed in chain mail and a crown and brandishing an inflatable sword, was asked in a terribly posh voice: “Excuse me my man, what King actually are you?” “Richard the First,” came the reply. “Thought so, thought so,” said London mayor Boris Johnson as he turned back to his group. It was shaping up to be a surreal day. Here’s the photo of us all to prove it.

Icons meet Boris Johnson, and the King

Boris, parping away on his big red vuvuzela, and the rest of the English supporters were in good spirits on the way to the stadium. Everyone was friendly, enjoying the atmosphere as the sun set and Table Mountain descended into darkness.

A very cosmopolitan crowd with a wide mix of nations were all serenaded to the tune of “We’re England til we die”. The stadium looked iconic on the outside and breathtaking on the inside. I’d say 80% were English supporters, the rest neutrals with a few vocal Algerians dotted around. A refreshing amount of women, children and non-white people in white added to the carnival atmosphere, as did the amount of flags draped on every bit of the stadium. Shame the vuvuzelas drowned out the singing.

(Interesting point for those back home watching on TV, I’d say 1 in 200 had a vuvuzela, so you only need 3000 of them to create the beehive backing music to this World Cup)

We were sat close to the corner flag, 4 rows away from Andy ‘Andrew’ Cole and 8 rows from the Heskey family. We all hoped he had a good game.

And then the game started and the magnificent day went downhill.

I won’t dwell on the game, you all saw it and can make your own minds up. I thought it was extremely harsh to boo them off at half time, it didn’t help and we played reasonably well in the first 45 and the Algerians looked neat and tidy.

In the second half we just didn’t have another gear. We appeared to not be able to cross the ball, and looked by the number of short free-kicks, to not be able to take a set piece. Close to the action it was painfully obvious that we pass and stand, rather than pass and move. Everyone watched the man in possession do something and then reacted, rather than moving to receive the ball.

England’s tactics – pass and stand, pass and stand

Rooney’s body-language and subsequently his language were terrible. It was as if they all knew they were going to be hammered and their shoulders slumped at their powerlessness to control events, and the football.

At the end the boos rained down and they/we trudged off. We worked out that the last time England played well in a World Cup was the first 30 minutes against Denmark in 2002. We stank out the last tournament, and we’re stinking out this one. Oh dear.

Tom ‘glass half full’ Rollett pointed out that we were still unbeaten and that we started Italia 90 with two draws. I pointed out that in 1990 we had just seen the emergence of Gazza as a world-class genius and we only went on to beat Egypt, Belgium and Cameroon by one goal – and that was the greatest team of our lifetime.

Afterwards the Algerians celebrated winning 0-0, but to be fair the English fans did chat, “we’re shit and we know we are” back at them. Boris’ verdict: “Not very good, was it?” Fair point.

Algerians celebrated winning 0-0

So all in all one of the greatest days of my life was not entirely ruined by the football. If only we were like Gill and Raphael and we could easily switch allegiances. Unfortunately we’re stuck with this; we’re England till we die.

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What links Diego Maradona and Wayne Rooney?

by Steve 19. May 2010 07:47

Apart from the fact that they are both incredible footballers...?  Earlier this month the icons team travelled down to Buenos Aires to meet up with Argentinian legend and current national team Manager, Diego Maradona.

As you can imagine, meeting up with Maradona was a dream come true for the team, and to do it in El Diego's back garden made it even more special. Make sure you take a look at the fantastic new personally hand-signed Argentina 1986 World Cup Winners shirts and brand new signed photographs capturing three classic moments from Maradona's World Cup in 1986.

* Maradona's famous "Hand of God"
* Maradona Vs Belgium
* Maradona lifting the World Cup

So what links Maradona and Rooney?  Well you may recall that a few months ago when we met up with Rooney in Manchester, we said we'd ask Maradona to sign a shirt for Rooney...  As you can see below, Maradona was only too happy to oblige!

 

Wayne Rooney signed shirts - at last!

by Steve 6. April 2010 16:41

Although we all support different clubs at icons, there's one team that lets us all enjoy the (rare) highs and (regular) lows together... England.  As such we've been wanting to meet up with England's greatest player Wayne Rooney for quite some time.  With Dan and Edward in the States and Natalie looking after base camp, Tom and I were the lucky ones who got to meet the Manchester United superstar.

On top of discussing the footballing world with Wayne, we also found out he's a big fan of signed memorabilia himself and agreed to pick him up a Diego Maradona shirt when we next meet up with the legendary Argentinean.

Take a look at Rooney's incredible range of personally hand-signed Manchester United and England shirts, photographs and boots now and make sure you don't miss out on the piece you want.  With the World Cup just around the corner, this could be the smartest investment you ever make...

FIFA World Player of the Year 2009 - Messi leads the nominations

by Dan 30. October 2009 04:08

The nominations for the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year came out this morning and icons.com stars feature prominently. Lionel Messi would be are choice for the award, having helped Barcelona to win La Liga, El Copa del Rey and the Champions League whilst also leading Argentina to the World Cup finals, just.

The full list of 23 nominations is as follows, featuring seven icons.com players.

Michael Ballack (Germany), Chelsea

Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Juventus

Iker Casillas (Spain), Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Real Madrid

Diego (Brazil), Juventus

Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Chelsea

Michael Essien (Ghana), Chelsea

Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Inter Milan

Steven Gerrard (England), Liverpool

Thierry Henry (France), Barcelona

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Barcelona

Andres Iniesta (Spain), Barcelona

Kaka (Brazil), Real Madrid

Frank Lampard (England), Chelsea

Luis Fabiano (Brazil), Sevilla

Lionel Messi (Argentina), Barcelona

Carles Puyol (Spain), Barcelona

Franck Ribery (France), Bayern Munich

Wayne Rooney (England), Manchester United

John Terry (England), Chelsea

Fernando Torres (Spain), Liverpool

David Villa (Spain), Valencia

Xavi (Spain), Barcelona

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About Icons Memorabilia

Welcome to the icons blog, we'll be regularly posting here about what's going on with our star signings and what new products have arrived

We love what we do so we'll also be talking about what's going on in the world of football and sport in general.

We'd really appreciate your feedback and comments too.

Cheers - The icons.com team.

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