Soccer moves range from the simple to the sublime, with all designed to achieve the same basic result. When you are dribbling the ball towards an opponent, these moves allow you to beat a defender using a mix of technique and trickery.
Named after the legendary Dutch international Johan Cruyff, this move involves misdirection. Approach the ball as if you are about to shoot or cross. As your striking foot reaches the ball, drag the ball back behind your standing leg. Turn your body in the direction of the ball and move past the fooled defender.
You can beat a flat-footed, static defender by playing the ball between his legs, gliding past him and collecting the ball on the other side.
The 360 spin is an elegant move made famous by players such as Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane. Approach the defender with the ball close to your body. As you close in, turn your body to shield the ball. Rather than stopping, continue to rotate your body while delicately moving the ball through the rotation. The 360-degree movement should take you to one side of the defender, at which point you can move on with the ball.
Blackpool’s Stanley Matthews was one of the most effective wingers of his generation, and his trademark move caused havoc on the wings. As you dribble towards a defender, tap the ball slightly to the left using the inside of your right foot. If the defender moves in that direction, quickly use the outside of your right foot to flick the ball to the right of the defender, skipping past him and continuing down the wing.
You can use the jump cut when you are dribbling with a defender at your side. Slightly overrun the ball and tap it at 90 degrees behind your standing leg. The defender will overshoot the ball while you cut off to one side, losing your opponent and gaining some space.
Use one foot to position the ball on the back of your standing leg. When in place, flick the ball over your head so that it lands in front of you. This move, known as the rainbow kick or Ardiles flick, is rarely used in competitive matches due to the difficulty involved. However, it remains one of the most famous moves in soccer, thanks in part to Ossie Ardiles’ character in the 1981 film “Escape to Victory.”
Players such as Pele and Cristiano Ronaldo have made the step-over one of the most famous moves in soccer. While facing your opponent, circle your foot over the top of the ball without touching it. As you complete the circle, use the outside of your boot to flick the ball past your opponent.
With a defender close in front of you, drag the ball back with one foot. As the defender moves in, use the same foot to push the ball forward at 45 degrees to one side of your opponent, skipping past the challenge and advancing up the field.
If you want to fake left before moving right, simply drop your left shoulder as you approach a defender, suggesting that you will be taking the ball in that direction. Then, quickly push off to the right with your left foot, taking the ball with you.
Players use the stop-turn technique to prevent the ball from rolling out of play, but it can also be effective in attacking situations. With the ball rolling ahead of you, place one foot on top of it and stop it dead. You must also stop your own momentum, allowing you to move off with the ball in an alternative direction. Be careful if an opposing player is following close behind you.