In football history, there have been plenty of players who have left us stunned. However, there’s a small group of players who take things one step further and turn the unexpected into normality, and Dennis Bergkamp was one of those.
With one of the best first touches around and an equally impressive second touch, Bergkamp dismantled plenty of teams during his glory years with Ajax and Arsenal, and it’d take you years to watch through his entire highlight reel.
To save you some time, we’ve picked out nine of Bergkamp’s best-ever goals, and there are some real beauties in this bunch.
Chip vs RKC Waalwijk (1992)
Do you want salt on those chips?
The 1992/93 season was Bergkamp’s final at Ajax, so the world knew exactly what he was about by now. However, for those who were unsure, he offered a gentle reminder in a meeting with RKC Waalwijk in October 1992.
Controlling the ball perfectly, he used his second touch to split two defenders and used his third to send the ball looping over the onrushing goalkeeper with terrifying ease. He was the real deal.
Opening His Arsenal Account vs Southampton (1995)
? Before we hosted Southampton #OnThisDay in 1995, Dennis Bergkamp hadn’t scored for us and was being criticised by some…
…by full-time, those critics were silenced ?
The first 2️⃣ of his 1️⃣2️⃣0️⃣ Arsenal goals – scored in typically classy fashion ? pic.twitter.com/20PDmPFCHt
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 23, 2019
His first goal for Arsenal was a spectacular first-time volley which he managed to fire through a defender’s legs and into the back of the net, but Bergkamp one-upped himself with his second strike.
After Southampton had fought back to 2-2, Bergkamp picked the ball up from deep and embarked on a mazy run towards goal, skipping past defenders and forcing them to backtrack like their lives depended on it. His long-range shot ricocheted off both posts before settling into the net.
Turning Tottenham Inside Out (1996)
Bergkamp’s immaculate first touch was out in force against Tottenham Hotspur in November 2016, and Stephen Carr will probably still see the Dutchman in his nightmares.
Ian Wright’s deep cross was aimed towards Bergkamp at the far post, and he needed just one touch to turn Carr inside out. Having opened up some space, all that was left was for Bergkamp to fire home past Ian Walker.
You know that old cliché ‘It only takes a second to score a goal’? Yeah, that was about Bergkamp.
Surprising Himself vs Sunderland (1997)
It takes something special for Bergkamp to cover his face in amazement, but that’s exactly what he delivered against Sunderland in an FA Cup tie from 1997.
The Dutchman looked to have killed the move when he lost possession, only to recover the ball with the perfect roulette to embarrass two defenders. He needed just a few more touches before curling the ball perfectly into the only spot of the net which could have beaten the goalkeeper.
Everything about this goal, from the control to the finish, was utter perfection, and that’s a common theme in Bergkamp’s work.
Bagging Two Stunners vs Leicester (1997)
As one of the all-time greats, Bergkamp has put in plenty of outstanding performances, but perhaps the finest of his career was in August 1997’s meeting with Leicester City, in which he bagged one of the best hat-tricks you’re ever likely to see.
His first was an outstanding curled effort from long range, but Bergkamp was just getting warmed up. He added a second after the break with a slightly fortunate chip, but the Dutchman’s third goal was nothing but pure class.
Turning his foot into glue, Bergkamp controlled a long ball perfectly and humiliated a defender with an exquisite second touch, before firing the ball into the back of net. It was so good that it won that year’s Goal of the Season award.
On the topic of awards, Bergkamp also finished first, second and third in August’s Goal of the Month competition. These two against Leicester took the top two spots, and another fantastic strike against Southampton earned Bergkamp all three spots for the first and only time in competition history.
Last-Gasp Winner vs Argentina (1998)
?? World Cup iconic moments:
? 04 July, 1998
?️ Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Dennis Bergkamp picks a Frank de Boer pass out of the sky with trademark poise and scores a sublime goal to win the quarter-final for @KNVB vs. @Argentina in the last minute. pic.twitter.com/q8mV3tXtCh
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 3, 2018
Bergkamp had plenty of memorable moments on the international stage with the Netherlands, but none were better than his last-minute winner against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup quarter-final.
Heading into the 90th minute, the score was tied at 1-1 and both sides looked to be preparing for extra time, but not Bergkamp. The Dutchman saw time on the clock and new a winner was possible, so he went after one.
With just seconds remaining, Bergkamp collected a long pass perfectly (yet again) and turned his defender in a split-second (yet again), giving him enough space to poke home a winner and send the Netherlands through to the semi-finals.
Embarrassing Bayer Leverkusen (2002)
What’s that? You want another intricate turn and a ludicrous lob? Well, it’s your lucky day.
The Bayer Leverkusen side of 2001/02 is probably one of the best to never win anything, having finished as runners-up in the Bundesliga, Champions League and DfB-Pokal, but Bergkamp toyed with them like a dangerous animal.
He left two defenders chasing shadows as he fired up a perfect chip from the edge of the area, and the goalkeeper was left floundering as the ball dropped into the back of the net. Utter perfection.
Making History vs Newcastle (2002)
Bergkamp’s goal against Newcastle from March 2002 has been replayed a bazillion times, and yet that still doesn’t feel like enough. It’s almost impossible to understand how he managed to do what he did.
An awkward pass was played into his feet, but Bergkamp somehow managed to turn it into the perfect pirouette, sending the ball one way before the spinning the other, and he used his power to shrug off a defender before calming slotting the ball home like nothing had even happened.
It was voted as the best goal in Premier League history back in 2017, and are you really surprised by that? It looked more like a glitch than a goal, but that was just another day at the office for Bergkamp.