A day of pancakes worth celebrating as we crown the Premier League’s best pinball machine

February is over and spring is fast approaching. But it’s not just March 1st (white rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit), it’s also Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as most people call it.

And before we start stuffing our faces with big dollops of batter, chocolate sauce and maybe fruit to keep it healthy, Planet Sport is counting down the most acrobatic flippers in the elite. Hold on to your frying pans…

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

As befits a player who scored more than 200 top-flight goals for, among others, Arsenal, Saint-Etienne and Borussia Dortmund, Aubameyang had a number of iconic celebrations, including the Spider-man, the Black Panther and, most famously, his standing front-flip.

“I think it’s because I feel so free when I do the front flip,” he explained. “I feel really, really free, this is my moment”

However, for Arsenal legend Ian Wright, it was anything but his moment.

In conversation with Aubameyang, he laid out his concerns – something that’s a bit of a theme in acrobatic celebrations.

Wright said: “I’m still worried about that one (the flip). I like the panther man, but every time you pull over everyone I see does that one (the flip) which pisses me off. worry man.”

As if to reassure Wright, Aubameyang then explains how he perfected the move.

“I first practiced at home on the sofa! On my bed!”

Obviously not a house with a rule against climbing furniture, then.

Nani

Michael Carrick Nani returns to Manchester United on October 10

Nani’s acrobatics were about as convincing as he was.

There were definitely promises and the moves were all there, but you weren’t sure if they were in the right order or if he would be able to do it again.

It was the same with his football, the Portuguese making 230 appearances for Manchester United without ever really winning.

He celebrated 41 goals at Old Trafford, performing some of the elaborate flips he learned while training in the martial art of capoeira as a child. However, despite stories to the contrary at the time, he was never warned of his stunts by Sir Alex Ferguson.

“No. It was something in pre-season because I had pain in my foot,” Nani explained to the UTD Podcast.

Nani Manchester United returns on February 11

“I scored my first goal in pre-season and celebrated with the backflip.

“”In the next game, I scored but didn’t do the backflip. So people started saying, ‘Ferguson said Nani can’t do this anymore’. But it wasn’t true.

“As soon as we came back to the Premier League and my first goal (against Tottenham) I was so excited, I tried to do something different.

“Normally I only do one back flip, and that day I tried to do something more difficult.”

But despite all the backflips and high degrees of difficulty, Nani still saw his celebration overshadowed by a dude jumping up and doing a little U-turn with outstretched arms.

Patson Daka

Leicester City’s summer signing from Red Bull Salzburg kicked off his backflip celebration after adding a record fourth against Spartak Moscow in the Europa League in October.

He made another Premier League appearance when Daka netted the second in a 4-0 win over Newcastle and the Foxes striker said the celebration was just an impromptu thing.

“It’s been since I was a kid,” Daka told LCFC TV. “I was doing it for fun. I was just doing it with my friends. Most of the time I get lost in the moment when I’m partying.

“Whatever comes to mind is what I end up doing. It’s not like I planned to do this… I find myself doing it!

Now is probably a good time to talk about a player who hasn’t played in the Premier League but is synonymous with iconic celebration and perhaps shouldn’t be.

Renowned for his front-flip celebration, Miroslav Klose wasn’t particularly good at it. In fact, he failed to land it more often than not. And if you don’t believe me, try to find footage of him doing it. And I mean landing without falling, using your hands to keep yourself from falling, or just pretending to try to do something else. You will be for a while.

Obefemi Martins

Obefemi Martins Returns Newcastle Apr08

Obefemi Martins retired in 2021 after a globetrotting career that saw him play for Inter Milan, Newcastle United, Seattle Sounders, Shanghai Shenhua among others, scoring 183 goals in 488 appearances.

Thirty-one of those goals came in the top flight, giving Premier League crowds a glimpse of his impressive acrobatics, which would see him throw between one and seven flips depending on the magnitude of the goal.

And again, it’s something that has followed him since childhood, with Martins literally kicking off his celebration in street football games when he was 12 years old.

“Someone said to me, ‘every time you always score goals, you always score goals on this pitch, why don’t you try to do your turnaround and see how it goes’,” he said. explained Martins. “And I said really, no, I don’t think I can do it, I’ll be too tired to do it.

“‘No, you may be too tired to do it, people will appreciate it.’

“I scored, I did, people started screaming and happy and I was surprised.”

Lomano Lua Lua

Lomana LuaLua Portsmouth flip Apr06

LuaLua was known for his famous somersault celebration but promised he would not do so until Portsmouth were safe from relegation in 2005/06 after being warned of the risk of injury.

The striker’s header equalizer against Arsenal didn’t quite lift Pompey out of the relegation zone – they stayed in the bottom three on goal difference – but the temptation greeted LuaLua like a naughty friend , and he quickly injured himself.

“I felt a pinch in my ankle when I landed after the header and probably shouldn’t have done the flip,” he said. “But I was swept away by the emotion of scoring against Arsenal.”

His coach Harry Redknapp, caught up in the emotion of scoring a vital point, was as usual after the game: “He still did his triple somersault with pike without realizing he had injured himself. C is an isolated case.”

Two matches later and with LuaLua having been forced out of crucial games against Middlesbrough and Charlton, Redknapp wasn’t as heartbreaking, saying: “It’s only been a problem since he celebrated with this stupid somersault.”

LuaLua did not play again this season, although Pompey survived.

He suffered a recurrence of the injury the following pre-season and after struggling to regain his place in the team, was sold to Olympiacos in 2007.

It was not to be the last time English football saw LuaLua’s acrobatics.

Lomano’s younger brother, Kazenga LuaLua, also had an impressive backflips line.

And Brighton & Hove Albion winger Kazenga LuaLua said that despite warnings not to, he, like his brother, simply couldn’t help himself.

“I know the staff don’t like it when I do a backflip,” DR Congo-born LuaLua told BBC Sussex.

“But I don’t think anyone can stop me – that’s how I celebrate.

“It’s something in the blood of the family – it will always happen.”

Fortunately for the health and safety police, a third member of the family, cousin Yannick Bolasie, is more interested in tips and tricks than flips.

READ MORE: Which Premier League managers would go into their own teams and who wouldn’t even make the bench?

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