The Champions League is one of the toughest competitions in world soccer, littered with superstars who regularly provide stunning moments of skill, brilliance, and inspiration. Last night was no different as 24-year-old Roma defender Alessandro Florenzi scored a sensational goal from more than 50 yards out, reports ESPN.
The Italian Serie A club were playing the reigning champions Barcelona at the Stadio Olimpico in their opening game of the competition. Roma was trailing 1-0 to a strike by the controversial Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez when Alessandro Florenzi looked up and saw the Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen standing adrift from the goal he was supposed to be protecting.
From an impossible angle and distance, Alessandro Florenzi struck the ball with perfect accuracy, speed, and power to arch over a stranded and desperate goalkeeper, scoring one of the best individual strikes the Champion’s League has ever seen, and perhaps the goal of the season.
Florenzi’s goal was not only spectacular, but the score valuable for Roma’s hopes of progressing in the competition as it salvaged a 1-1 draw and a point against the team many consider to be the best in the world.
Florenzi, speaking to UEFA.com, described his shock and elation as the ball hit the frame of the goal and ricocheted into the back of the net.
“When I saw it went in, I honestly didn’t know how to celebrate, I put my hands on my face because I knew that I had scored a goal that I will never forget. It was difficult – but it was instinct, craziness and a bit of heart that allowed me to score this beautiful goal. I think it was [in the air for] four or five seconds, but it felt like four or five minutes. The ball seemed to be in the air for an eternity. I honestly didn’t know how to celebrate. I just put my hands over my face.”
It was the second time this season that Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been beaten from 50-plus yards out, a consequence of Barcelona’s total football style, where even the goalkeeper is expected to participate in passing moves.
But Barcelona coach Luis Enrique relieved ter Stegen of any blame for the goal, preferring to acknowledge the skill and prowess of Florenzi’s effort.
“He took a chance and scored a goal. Well done to him — but this is a problem we will have given the type of defence we play with. The goal is my fault. We tell our keepers to play like that. But I’d bet nobody will score another one against us. We controlled everything, except for one thing which absolutely nobody could do anything about. It was an outstanding goal – a touch of genius.”
Watch Florenzi’s wonder goal here.
[Image credit: Paulo Bruno/Getty Images Sport]