Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Can Goalkeepers Score Goals?

Football, known for its simplicity, has designated roles for each player on the field. Strikers score goals, defenders and goalkeepers prevent them, and midfielders do a bit of everything. But what about the goalkeepers? Can they score goals too? The answer is a resounding yes! Goalkeepers are allowed to score goals and contribute to the team’s overall success.

Image source: Super MF / Flickr.com

Can Goalkeepers Score from Goal-Kicks?

When goalkeepers take a goal-kick from the six-yard box, they often reach just beyond the halfway line or pass to a defender to start the next phase of play. But why don’t they aim for the opposition goal? The reason is simple: unless the other goalkeeper makes a massive mistake, the ball would usually end up in their hands or with a defender, effectively giving away possession. However, since 1997, goals can be scored directly from goal-kicks. If a goalkeeper takes a goal-kick that bounces awkwardly, catches the opposition goalkeeper off guard, and goes in, it would count as a legitimate goal.

Goal kick
Image source: Eric Parker / Flickr.com

Do Goalkeepers Take Penalties?

You may have seen goalkeepers taking penalty kicks during a shoot-out, but they can also step up to take penalties during regular play. If a team is awarded a penalty in normal or extra time, the goalkeeper is allowed to take the shot from 12 yards. However, it’s not always the best decision, as if the goalkeeper’s kick is saved and the ball remains in play, the opposing team can quickly counterattack without a goalkeeper guarding the net.

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Famous Goals Scored by Goalkeepers

Some goalkeepers have left an indelible mark on the game by scoring memorable goals. Here are a few notable examples:

Jens Lehmann

In a game between Schalke 04 and Dortmund, Jens Lehmann, who went on to become an Arsenal and Germany hero, ventured forward to add an extra presence in the box. He received the ball and scored a perfectly legal goal that brought the game level, despite the Dortmund defenders appealing for offside against a goalkeeper.

Mart Poom

Playing for Sunderland in the Championship, Mart Poom scored an impressive header from a corner against his former club Derby to level the game. The goal showcased his athleticism and helped Sunderland secure a valuable point.

Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel, known for his outstanding goalkeeping at Manchester United, scored a volley from a corner while playing for Aston Villa. This goal marked the first time a goalkeeper had scored in the Premier League.

Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson, who later scored a famous goal from a defensive free-kick for Tottenham Hotspur, directed a header into the net from a corner while playing for Leeds United. His goal equalized the game and led to jubilant scenes on the pitch.

Jimmy Glass

One of the most famous goals scored by a goalkeeper, Jimmy Glass’s strike saved Carlisle United from relegation. Playing on loan from Swindon in the final game of the season, Glass scored a last-minute goal that secured the team’s place in the football league.

The Highest Scoring Goalkeepers of All Time

Some goalkeepers have made scoring goals a regular occurrence. Here are the highest-scoring goalkeepers of all time as of the end of the 2020-21 season:

  • Rogério Ceni (131 goals): The Brazilian legend was known for his prowess in free-kicks and penalties for Sao Paulo.
  • Jose Luis Chilavert (67 goals): The famous Paraguayan scored eight goals at the international level and even achieved a hat-trick.
  • Johnny Vegas Fernandez (45 goals): This Peruvian goalkeeper was an extrovert on the field and found the net frequently.
  • Dimitar Ivankov (42 goals): The Bulgarian goalkeeper netted 42 goals while playing for Levski Sofia, Kayserispor, and Bursaspor.
  • Rene Higuita (41 goals): Known for his eccentric style and the famous scorpion kick, Higuita also scored many goals in his native Colombia.
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These goalkeepers prove that the position is not limited to preventing goals but can also be a source of excitement and valuable contributions to a team’s success. So, next time you watch a game, keep an eye out for the unexpected heroics of goalkeepers.


Q: Can goalkeepers score goals?
A: Yes, goalkeepers can score goals. They are allowed to score goals in accordance with the rules of football.

Q: Can goalkeepers score from goal-kicks?
A: Yes, goalkeepers can score directly from goal-kicks if the ball is played correctly and ends up in the opposition’s net.

Q: Can goalkeepers take penalties?
A: Goalkeepers are allowed to take penalties, but it is not always the best tactical decision since they may not be in a position to prevent a counterattack if their penalty is saved.

Q: Who are some famous goalkeepers known for scoring goals?
A: Some famous goalkeepers who have scored notable goals include Jens Lehmann, Mart Poom, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Robinson, and Jimmy Glass.

Q: Who are the highest-scoring goalkeepers of all time?
A: The highest-scoring goalkeepers of all time are Rogério Ceni, Jose Luis Chilavert, Johnny Vegas Fernandez, Dimitar Ivankov, and Rene Higuita.

Q: Can goalkeepers score goals in professional football matches?
A: Yes, goalkeepers can score goals in professional football matches as long as they follow the rules of the game.


While strikers may be the primary goal scorers in football, goalkeepers have the ability to make their mark on the game too. Whether it’s scoring from goal-kicks, taking penalties, or even venturing forward for last-minute heroics, goalkeepers have proven that they can contribute to their team’s success in more ways than one. So, the next time you watch a match, keep an eye out for the unexpected excitement that goalkeepers can bring to the game.

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