There's an early candidate for the 2012 Goal of the Year.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 54th minute strike against Rayo Vallecano at Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas on Sunday will be watched over and over again.

The Portuguese star collected a Mesut Ozil corner kick cross inside the penalty box, and then delivered a backheel shot that rolled past the Vallecano defense and Joel, the suprised goalkeeper. Not only was the goal spectacular, but it proved to be the game winner.

Ronaldo is known for some great goals, but this might have been his best, or at least his most improbable. There were six Vallecano defenders near the ball, as well as Joel, and none of them were expecting to concede a goal by a backheel that really wasn't struck with a great deal of pace.

Real Madrid have a comfortable 10-point lead over Barcelona in the La Liga standings.

Here is a look at Ronaldo's fantastic goal: