By Chris Wright
As if to counteract his tricky first name, silky former Poland and Juventus midfielder Zbigniew Boniek was also possessive of one of football’s most poetic nicknames, Bello di Notte (Beauty at Night), which was bestowed upon him by former Juve director Gianni Agnelli on the back of a series of sublime performances in European fixtures underneath the old Delle Alpi floodlights.
Poland finished up in third place at the 1982 World Cup after losing to eventual winners Italy in the semi-finals, with Boniek impressing all the way – including a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Belgium in the second-round group stage.
All three goals are included in this video, but it’s Zibi’s first of the evening that gets the nod from us – a stoking first-time effort from the edge of the area that absolutely rattles into the roof of the net…
Fun fact #1: Honduras have a player at the 2014 World Cup by the name of Oscar Garcia who plays with his middle name, “Boniek”, on the back of his shirt. Garcia was given the middle name by his father who was presumably a huge fan of the jinky Polish dynamo way back when.
Fun fact #2: Boniek is not a big fan of Andy Carroll’s work, once claiming that his eight-year-old grandson had better co-ordination than the West Ham battering ram.
Fun fact #3: Lazio defender Luciano Zauri once rescued Boniek’s granddaughter after she fell down a well.
More in the series…
#1 – Maxi Rodriguez (Argentina) vs Mexico, 2006
#2 – Saeed Al-Owairan (Saudi Arabia) vs Belgium, 1994
#3 – Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (Holland) vs Uruguay, 2010
#4 – Pierre Njanka-Beyaka, (Cameroon) vs Austria, 1998
#5 – Nelinho (Brazil) vs Italy, 1978
#6 – David Platt (England) vs Belgium, 1990
#7 – Alessandro Del Piero (Italy) vs Germany, 2006
#8 – Javier Zanetti (Argentina) vs England, 1998
#9 – Manuel Negrete (Mexico) vs Bulgaria, 1986
#10 – Emmanuel Sanon (Haiti) vs Italy, 1974
#11 – Josimar (Brazil) vs Northern Ireland, 1986
#12 – Maicon (Brazil) vs North Korea, 2010
#13 – Dennis Bergkamp (Holland) vs Argentina, 1998
#14 – Dragan Stojkovic (Yugoslavia) vs Spain, 1990
#15 – Chiqui Arce (Paraguay) vs South Africa, 2002
#16 – Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina) vs Serbia & Montenegro, 2006
#17 – Gheorghe Hagi (Romania) vs Colombia, 1994
#18 – Hans Krankl (Austria) vs West Germany, 1978
#19 – Sunday Oliseh (Nigeria) vs Spain, 1998
#20 – Dinko Dermendjiev (Bulgaria) vs Peru, 1970
#21 - Siphiwe Tshabalala (South Africa) vs Mexico, 2010
#22 – Philippe Albert (Belgium) vs Germany, 1994
#23 – Rivelino (Brazil) vs East Germany, 1974
#24 & #25 – Philipp Lahm and Torsten Frings (Germany) vs Costa Rica, 2006
#26 – Roberto Baggio (Italy) vs Czechoslovakia, 1990
#27 – Jared Borgetti (Mexico) vs Italy, 2002