What was so special about Thiago Alcântara’s champions league goal of the tournament?

Thiago's sublime strike vs Porto has been voted Goal of the Tournament by UCL fans. The top 10 goals were selected by UEFA's Technical Observer Panel and put to vote.

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English premier league giants Liverpool FC finished in the second position after losing the champions league final (1-0) to Real Madrid at Stade de France. In spite of the domineering play they put on display, Real Madrid somehow managed to snatch their day with one goal scored in the second half by Vinícius Júnior. Earlier this season, Liverpool has finished second in their EPL campaign one point down to the champions, Manchester City.

Overall, the 2021-22 season was quite good for Liverpool except for the final touch misfortunes, which in turn cost them two major tournament titles. Liverpool players are top-notched in many individual award categories, both in EPL and UEFA Champions League.

End of the EPL season, Mohammed Salah bagged the Budweiser award for Goal of the season and Castrol award for playmaker of the season. He shared the golden boot award with Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min. Alisson halved Golden glove award with City’s Ederson. Jürgen Klopp also doubled his Manager of the season record this year. Joel Matip, Trent Alexander Arnold, and Mohamed Salah occasionally appeared for the player of the month awards this season.

Coming to UCL, while 4 players from the Liverpool side appeared in the champions league team of the season, Thiago Alcântara was awarded the goal of the season award. UEFA’s technical observer panel selected the top ten goals and put to vote, in which, Tiago’s sublime strike (as UCL’s official handles words it) against Porto FC came out to be the best. There were lobs, well-assisted well-balanced tap-ins, headers, and low-blows in the list.

Then again, what was so special about that goal?

On 24th November 2021, Liverpool was taking on Porto FC in a group B match. The 52nd minute of the game saw (or it has ever?) a magical spell from the Spaniard Tiago Alcântara, who played in the central midfield. Chamberlain’s freekick carried the ball into the box but was cleared by Mbemba.

The ball rolled out to Tiago who was approaching from a long way out. There was the hit, for I bet nobody will blame me if I call it “an absolute touch of delicacy!” The ball went past the wall, past the doorman, who was left with no choice than seeing the ball nestling in.

Remember Eduardo Galeano saying (Soccer in Sun and Shadow): “the excitement unleashed whenever the white bullet makes the net ripple might appear mysterious or crazy, but remember, the miracle does not happen often”. You saw hovercrafts moving. Tiago’s strike reminded me of a hovercraft. Like a ball suspended in the mid-air, never sliding, never fluttering, fluctuating… Floats in a straight line, go all the way to glory.

Eduardo Galeano

According to the commentator, the goal was never simply special, but very very special. It was an instant stunner that made everyone put their hands on their forehead. Nobody ever forgot Folha Seca (Dry leaves) spell by Ronaldinho. The ball swerved into David Seaman’s post at the split second between fame and obscurity. Now, look at Tiago’s hit some more closer.

Tiago drilled the ball from a half-volley position, it lowered its course a bit as it nutmegged past FC Porto’s Fabio Cardoso, then ascended- not so very much- to fit into the bottom corner. What force do you think, caused the ball to seesaw in? What technique the inevitable man in Klopp’s system might have used in doing so? Never mind, these are all the never-ending craziness of foot/ball(s). 

End of the day, Goal of the tournaments are selected on fan votes. But this time indeed, I would say I’m blown away by the Fans’ pick! 

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