What will Ronaldinho haveth wrought
This strike by Barcelona’s Ronaldinho in the Champions League against Werder Bremen last week is the second-cheekiest goal I have ever seen. The Brazilian star hits the shot weakly along the ground, but he timed it perfectly with the Werder Bremen defensive wall jumping, like a Goofy Golf shot so as to roll under the wall right into the goal untouched:
But as I said, it’s only the second-cheekiest goal I’ve ever seen. The one that bests it, also a Brazilian free kick, is here, in this Japanese 1974 World Cup highlight reel. In a quarter-final game between Brazil (yellow) and East Germany (blue), Rivelino fires the ball right at the Commies’ defensive wall, only a couple of Brazilian players are in the middle of the wall and at the exact moment, they duck. Ball goes right into the net.
You’d think East Germany, of all countries, would be more proficient at building a wall than that. But that Rivelino goal resulted (to my memory at least) in a major change in world football. Henceforth attacking players would be kept away from defensive walls on free kicks. Like Dan Marino and his fake “spike the ball” call, it could only be done once. I wonder if either others will try the Ronaldinho trick or whether defenders will henceforth no longer jump in such situations.
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