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Golden Goal: Pajtim Kasami for Fulham v Crystal Palace (2013) | Will Unwin | Football


“Wow! Bloody hell!” exclaims Pajtim Kasami as he watches back his volley for Fulham against Crystal Palace six years later. It is the goal the Switzerland international’s time in England will be remembered for.

Full-back Sascha Riether was situated just inside his own half when he saw Kasami make his run. Riether chipped the ball to the edge of the box, where the midfielder controlled it with his chest before immediately volleying, while still on the move, over Julián Speroni and into the top corner from the right-hand side of the area. It was Van Basten-esque in terms of its execution – with his weaker foot – but with the added joy of intelligence to sprint into position and control it perfectly.

“Everything happened so fast. It’s a goal of instinct; you score it and don’t think about it too much but after you realise: ‘Wow, what a goal’,” Kasami explains. “At the moment you don’t really realise what a goal you have scored. It was a perfect goal; with the pass, the run I made, the way I controlled it and then hit it with my weaker foot, everything was on point.”

Kasami had brought Fulham level and they went on to win 4-1 that October night at Selhurst Park. It should have been a result to ignite a season for a side including Dimitar Berbatov and Damien Duff but instead they would lose their next seven matches and by the time they next won, Martin Jol had been sacked and replaced by René Meulensteen.

“It was my breakthrough year in the Premier League; I was very young at Fulham, I had arrived from a very good team in Italy and joined an excellent one with the likes of Damien Duff, Bobby Zamora, Steve Sidwell, Scott Parker and Dimitar Berbatov. We had a very good and strong team but we didn’t get the results and the new chairman, Shahid Khan, changed the coach and after things were different.





Pajtim Kasami (left) celebrates with Fulham teammates Steve Sidwell and Dimitar Berbatov.



Pajtim Kasami (left) celebrates with Fulham teammates Steve Sidwell and Dimitar Berbatov. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

“It was my third year at Fulham. I was starting, playing almost every game and in a very confident mood as I was at Fulham in the Premier League. I got attention from a lot of teams as well. I became a regular for the Switzerland team, so it was a very good moment but, unfortunately, we were not having a good season. Personally, I had a very good spell but the results weren’t good and Berbatov left in January and things changed a lot after.”

It wasn’t just the goal that make the spell special for Kasami, he felt very settled in London and was finally a regular after a tumultuous time since arriving from Palermo in 2011. After Fulham’s relegation was confirmed under their third manager of the season, Felix Magath, Kasami departed for Greece.

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“I have made some not so good decisions in my career which I start to pay for now. I had a very good spell after Fulham with Olympiakos, where we won the league and played in the Champions League. My agent pushed me to leave England, that agent was Mino Raiola. Personally, it was going well but the team went down and I was very frustrated and disappointed by what happened. To be honest I was willing to leave England and the Premier League but in the end it was not a good decision.”

At the end of 2019 the lists were drawn up for the Premier League’s goal of the decade, which Kasami featured highly on, giving people a reminder of the natural talent the 27-year-old possesses.

“I was watching Monday Night Football and after the match, [Gary] Neville and [Jamie] Carragher were showing the best goals of the decade in the Premier League and I watched it back and thought: ‘Wow! Bloody hell!’ I think every time you see it you realise more how good it was.

“For me, the Premier League is the best in the world and to score one like this will stay with me for ever. It makes me very proud. To score like this you need skill, it’s not just hitting a shot from 60 metres, it is pure technique and control. I prefer scoring goals with pure control rather than just hitting it as hard as possible. I was unlucky as [Jack] Wilshere also scored against Norwich [the same weekend] and that was a goal of the season. I think it was because Arsenal had more influence than Fulham.”

As Fulham try to make their way back to the top-flight once again, their supporters are always keen to be reminded of happier times. “The fans tweet me sometimes, especially on the anniversary. The Premier League Twitter account posted it and Fulham retweeted it, so I got fans saying: ‘What a goal’, ‘You should come back’ and things like that. It’s always nice to get a positive reaction and love.”

Kasami hopes to play in England again but knows he will not be able to recreate his once-in-a-lifetime goal, although he will be more than happy to try.

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