Step over, heel tricks, fakes: each and every week Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and their mates know how to whip the spectators in the stands up to a fever pitch. But pro footballers are made, not born — and here are some tricks to get you on the path to becoming a ball artist yourself. We'll show you how to draw the best out of your abilities, and impress your footy mates along the way.
One crucial thing: the quicker you can execute the individual fakes, the harder it will be for opponents to predict your actions — and the tougher you'll be to stop. One rule is absolute: practice makes perfect. You've got to get these tricks unconscious and absolutely ingrained in your muscles, and the only way to do that is through repetition. So if something doesn't work the first time: don't give up, keep working at it and soon you'll get it.
1. Around the World
Probably the most famous trick, especially popular with freestyle footballers. While it takes a bit of practice, it ends up looking spectacular. Not of much use in an actual match, but you'll look cracking good during warmups.
Here's how it work: Balance the ball on your stronger foot. You need to get it still and stable. Flick the ball upwards, then move your foot as quickly as possible around the ball — you'll end up rotating completely around it. The hard part: the ball needs to land back on your foot so that you can pull your next trick.
2. The Rivelino (Flip Flap)
A trick that Cristiano Ronaldo performs with unparalleled mastery. Here's the key thing: the tempo. The quicker the ball is moving, the harder you'll be to stop.
Dribble the ball with the outside of your stronger foot. With one fast movement, you push the ball in one direction, but then immediately step over the ball with that foot and then take it with the instep in the opposite direction.
3. Heel Spin
The crucial thing here: ball security. This works best if you position your body between the ball and the opponent. If the opponent is moving towards you, then simply rotate once on your own axis. You can carry the ball along with either the inside or inside of the foot. Franz Beckenbauer was known for pulling this trick. It's simple to learn, but brutally effective. The key bit is to learn to spin at a high speed and with either leg.
4. Maradona 360
For any trick to be named after one of the greatest footballers of all time, it had better be good. You tap briefly on the ball with your right leg, rotating your upper body as if you were going to start running backwards. As you spin, you then drag the ball along backwards in the direction you are running, following by a jumping rotation back around forwards. Tough to learn, deadly on the pitch.
5. Heel Toe Fake
Probably the most popular fake: you feint in one direction, preferably with your upper body as well — but at the same time tap the ball with your heel in the opposite direction. The tighter you can keep the dribble, the better the fake.
As already mentioned: don't give up, practice makes perfect. With a bit of training you'll leave your mates tackling air. Your training and the fans will cheer because you'll become unstoppable on the pitch. Have fun practising!