Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela scored a stunning 'rabona' goal to light up Thursday's Europa League ties, wrapping his left boot round the back of his right leg on the edge of the box and blasting the ball into the top corner.
That goal, a second Lamela volley and a Harry Kane hat-trick helped secure a 5-1 victory over Greek side Asteras Tripolis but the result seemed almost insignificant in comparison to the sheer technical brilliance of the Argentine's moment of magic.
Europa League
Steaua Bucharest allowed to use their name as trademark battle rages on
08/12/2014 AT 14:19
The 22-year-old is still frustratingly inconsistent but offered a mouthwatering glimpse of his potential on Thursday night.
Twitter, the home of hyperbole, went into over-drive, but, on this occasion, such was the nature of the striker, it was warranted.
Greatest goal ever?
Few teachers better than Totti
Greatest goal I've ever seen
Jan Vertonghen led the praise for the strike – stating that it took a couple of minutes for him to come to terms with what he had witnessed.
I was stunned
Must be the best goal I've ever seen
Ben Davies, who was right behind the strike, put his head in his hands in disbelief - and could still barely believe it after the game.
Unbelievable goal
Of course, Lamela may have drawn inspiration from some previous great rabona moments – some of which can be seen below.
This one may have come in a reserve game but those are still some highly impressive skills on show from Alex Song.
Song with a back heel and rabona leading to a goal
It is skills such as these that persuaded Manchester United to part with almost £60 million for Angel di Maria:
Angel di María rabona assist to Ronaldo
This one appears to be more luck than judgement - but a great goal all the same.
Best rabona goal ever?
However, if this one went in it would have topped them all:
Great effort!
Lamela eat your heart out, or not:
How not to rabona
Jonathan Liew (Telegraph): On an evening of lawless and unfettered entertainment, it was Erik Lamela’s moment of pure audacity that stole the show: a goal that Tottenham Hotspur fans will still be talking about in years to come. It is perhaps one of football’s most wanton and ostentatious acts of showboating, beloved of the gifted genius and the flash git alike. We always knew Lamela was the former, but perhaps there is a little of the latter in him as well.
Jack Pitt-Brooke (Independent): Even on a night this fun, Erik Lamela's first goal made everything else irrelevant. The six goals, the three points, Harry Kane's hat-trick and his brief spell in goal, Spurs' ascent to joint-top of Group C were all mere footnotes in the night that Lamela scored a wonderful 'rabona' to put Spurs 2-0 up. It was a spectacular goal and a clear reminder that even relatively unappetising football matches can still provide better entertainment than almost anything else. A rabona is an old Argentine trick, a brisk crossing of the legs to hit the ball with surprising power from an unexpected angle. Lamela scored it after half an hour, giving Spurs a 2-0 lead that mattered far less than the strike itself. Suddenly an unmemorable game became a memorable one and the sparse 21,500 crowd were entirely justified in their journey here to White Hart Lane.
Head coach Mauricio Pochettino appeared initially unmoved by Lamela's outrageous strike but later said it was one of the best goals he had ever seen.
Mauricio Pochettino's reaction to Erik Lamela's stunning rabona goal
"One time I scored one goal like that myself," Pochettino said, laughing. "You will find it on YouTube.
"No, it was a very big goal, a great goal, an unbelievable goal. I am happy for him and it helped us to get the three points.
"Maybe it is the best [by one of my players ever]. Probably."
Was it the greatest goal ever? Put simply, no. It was a great goal that required audacity and no little talent. However, circumstance must be taken into account when considering the merits of any goal. Had Lamela struck such a strike in a World Cup final against say Manuel Neuer then the case for the title of greatest ever becomes more persuasive but, as it stands, it was a wonderful effort and will live long in the memory but within the confines of a very ordinary match with little at stake against pretty ordinary opposition.
Lamela is clearly a player of supreme natural talent. However, there is no doubt that his first year and a bit at the club will has been a disappointment but his struggles can be mitigated by a number of factors including injury and reported homesickness. This strike could be the catalyst for the Argentine to push on and fulfil his undoubted natural talent. Only time will tell.
Europa League
Everton cancel Russia fan trip due to lack of interest
08/09/2014 AT 16:02
Europa League
Beto savours Europa League glory
15/05/2014 AT 10:56