West Ham

Michail Antonio explains cardboard cutout celebration

Sean Walsh
Antonio celebrated in style
Antonio celebrated in style / Michael Regan/Getty Images

Michail Antonio became West Ham United's record goalscorer in the Premier League on Monday night, scoring a late brace as the Hammers beat Leicester City 4-1 at the London Stadium.

The striker scored two sensational goals to secure the three points for West Ham. The first saw him blast the ball beyond Kasper Schmeichel after a neat turn and swivel to elude the Leicester defence, before flicking the ball over his head and tapping it beyond the Dane for his second a few minutes later.

Those goals take Antonio to 49 in the Premier League for West Ham - now two clear of club legend Paolo Di Canio. After breaking the record, Antonio celebrated with a life-size cardboard cutout of himself.

Antonio, widely known for his iconic celebrations, was seen conversing with Darren Randolph on the bench pre-game, seemingly alerting him that he was planning on using a prop from behind the dugout should he score. He explained the story of the cut-out on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football.

"So basically, I've got to do [an iconic celebration] for the record, and I've not been celebrating a lot recently because of VAR. But because it was for history, I thought 'I've got to do it special'," Antonio explained.

"I started off with [iconic] celebrations, I've got to finish it with celebrations."

Antonio then asked host David Jones and pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher if they understood the reference behind the celebration, but none of them could figure it out - though Carragher did put forward the idea that Antonio hadn't kissed anyone in a while.

"'Save The Last Dance'!" Antonio said, referring to the 2001 dance film. "Do you not remember the lift at the end of 'Save The Last Dance'?"

However, Neville believed that he was in fact referring to 'Dirty Dancing', which would make sense given he picked the cutout up and span it around over his head.

Antonio admitted he may have still been embarrassed if VAR had indeed ruled it out, but it was worth it because the moment brought him great joy. You and us all, Michail.