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Top 10 Best Football Skills to Learn in 2021

There’s probably no better time than now to perfect your football skills and technique.

I’m writing this article during the lockdown brought about by Covid-19. The world had shut down for almost 4 months. Although things are starting to reopen here in the UK, it still seems like contact sport is someway off.

I hear the sighs! And I feel your pain. But, remember there’s always an opportunity in adversity. You just have to look hard enough and you’ll find it.

So, when I thought about writing this article, it struck me. Just because you can’t play competitive football, doesn’t mean you can’t compete with yourself to polish up on those football skills.

I’ve been coaching for the best part of 12 years. I’ve come across a lot of talented footballers from a broad range of age groups. But the players I really remember are the ones whose ball control, technique and skills were second to none.

They could make playing the game seem so simple and effortless. But behind the scenes, I knew just how much effort they were putting into refining and developing their technique.

So what does that mean for you? Well, it means use this time wisely. If you’re serious about football, get in a park and start practicing these top 10 best football skills I’m about to reveal to you. Equally, if you just like playing the game recreationally with your mates, then still get out onto a pitch to practice these skills. You’ll thank me after when you use them to trick your friends.

10 Best Football Skills 2021

Below I’ve included a mix of simple to advanced football skills. They are not crazy difficult, but they are all incredibly effective when used properly at the right times.

1. The James Rodriguez:


So-called in honour of the Columbian playmaker, this is an effective move designed to buy you some space as you head towards goal.

Here are the key steps:

  • Run towards goal and then fake to cut inside, making your opponent change direction;
  • Cut outside again, controlling the ball with the outside of your foot; and
  • Get your shot away.

2. The Cruyff Turn:


Named after the famous Dutch footballer of the 1970s, Johann Cruyff, this manoeuvre not only allows you to open space, but it can also make your opponent look foolish.

Here is how to perform a Cruyff turn:

  • Receive the ball on your instep and shape as if you were passing to a teammate;
  • Transfer your weight to your standing foot;
  • Swivel your hips and change direction; and
  • Speed away from your opponent.

3. Ronaldinho Elastico:


Another move named after one of my favourite players. Ronaldinho, nicknamed the ‘magician’ is a World Cup winner and twice World Footballer of the Year.

This move is all about surprise and technique, and needs a lot of practice. Get your timing right and you’ll use this one over and over.

  • Dribble towards a defender, slowly, with the ball at your feet. They will hopefully come towards you.
  • Nudge the ball with the outside of your feet; and
  • In one movement switch to the instep, enabling you to skip past him.

This is not easy to do, and you may have to spend a lot of time getting used to moving the ball from the outside of your foot to the instep in one motion.

4. The Rainbow Flick:


Another tough one to perfect, but another trick which looks great when it comes off is the Rainbow Flick (also known as the Lambreta in Brazil).

The trick gets its name from the trajectory of the ball, which travels from back to front in an arc. Getting the ball positioning is key to this trick.

  • Place one foot in front of the ball with your body slightly angled towards your opponent;
  • Then with the back foot roll it up your calf, leaning even more towards your opponent; and.
  • Finally, jump and flick the ball over your head in the direction in which you are leaning.

5. The Griezmann:


Although by no means exclusive to the French World Cup winner and Barcelona forward, this turn and trick has still become synonymous with him.

Again this move is all about close control and balance.

  • As you approach a defender stand on the ball and tap it forward with the weak foot;
  • As your opponent lunges for the ball, take advantage of the fact that he is off balance; and
  • Knock it past him with your stronger foot, and move away from him.

6. The Maradona Turn:


When we talk of the world’s best football skills, you also think of the world’s best footballers who made them possible. With that in mind, we can’t leave out the little Argentinian maestro, Diego Maradona.

The Maradona turn is all about close control, the ability to turn in a complete circle and bamboozling your opponent whilst using both feet.

  • Start off by placing the sole of your left foot on the ball
  • Drag it back whilst pivoting your body
  • Release your left foot of the ball and as you complete the half turn, allow your right foot to take over
  • Using your right foot, drag the ball out in front of you so you can continue dribbling

7. The Chop:


This is a move which is best done at high speed because it will help send your opponent the wrong way. It’s all about shifting the ball from one side of of your body to the other side.

  • Run towards the defender;
  • As they draw near, jump up and land by chopping the ball under your standing leg
  • Break away into space with a quick change of pace

When this is done right, you and the ball will go one way, whilst your opponent is still going the other!

8. The Neymar Rollover Rabona:


This one can be difficult to pull off in a game but if you manage to do so, you’ll probably end up nutmegging your opponent leaving them with their head in the ground trying to hide from embarrassment.

This is why the Neymar Rollover Rabona is one of the contenders for the best football skills to learn.

  • Put your right foot on top of the ball;
  • Roll it across your body to the opposite side;
  • Step over it with your left foot;
  • Immediately after your step over the ball, use your right foot to tap the ball forward with the laces

9. The Step-Over Snapback:


This trick makes it in our list as one of the best football skills to practice because it’s very simple but effective in opening space. It can be done either standing skill or on the run.

  • With the ball at your feet, lean forward with your weight;
  • Using the same foot, roll the ball across your body using the sole of your foot whilst you perform a step over.
  • Now use the opposite foot to snap the ball back in the opposite direction, transferring your weight accordingly.

The key to his move is in the name. It is all about the explosiveness of the move and taking your opponent by surprise.

10. The Fake Rabona:


As a coach, this is one of the best football skills to teach. Kids love it and they love attempting it in the games.

The Fake Rabona means pretending to kick the ball from behind your standing foot. Here are the steps

  • Dribble ahead with your body facing forward
  • Pretend to perform the Rabona and as you do, bring your left foot in front of the ball
  • Now use your right foot to sneak behind and take over by changing the direction of the ball using the laces
  • At the same time, you’ll have to swivel your body round so you can take off in the opposite direction


So there you have it. 10 of the best football skills that you can start learning right now.

Make use of this time to develop your technique so you can feel confident when you return to the pitch. While others are playing FIFA from their couch, who knows, maybe you’ll be featured in the game one day with discipline and practice.

Football Skills FAQs:

How can I develop my kid’s football skills?

The best way is to enrol them in a football school with qualified coaches who can teach them the basics of the game. There are plenty of soccer schools in London for example, but, if you live in another part of the country, there are sure to be some in your area.

What skills should a beginner learn in football?

We believe that the basic skills a beginner should learn are how to pass and control the ball, how to dribble with the ball, and how to shoot. If they can understand how to master these fundamentals, then it becomes easier to learn new skills on top of them.

Should I let my son join a football academy?

Many parents would jump at the chance for their child to join an academy at a major club, but this may not be suitable for every child. They are very competitive environments, and the sacrifices, in terms of money, time, and emotional energy for families might be overwhelming.

In order to join a professional football academy, your child will need to be scouted and then invited for a trial.

However, there are lots of football classes for kids where they can learn the skills and techniques without the hothouse atmosphere of an academy system. At Samba Soccer Schools, we encourage kids to play creatively without the fear of making mistakes.

How to improve your football skills on your own?

You can find the best football skills tutorials on the internet and YouTube, but the best way to master any trick is practice, practice, and then practice again. None of the tricks we have outlined here came naturally to the players who have made them famous! They all had to spend long hours on the pitch perfecting them.

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