"It was an incredible goal. It reminded me of a great goal I saw Rivaldo score once for Barcelona against Valencia, but maybe it was even better because I think the pass I gave him was a little bit more difficult to control."
- Cesc Fabregas, about Adebayor's goal.
I don't really think of footballers as people. They seem so ethereal and untouchable on the pitch that it's a bit strange to think of them as people off the pitch. It's a shock to realise that they were once just kids who loved playing football, who loved a club to madness, and who had pictures of their favourite players on their bedroom walls. So when I come across a quote like the above, it makes me smile.
I remember that goal. Barcelona in the Champions League, I think. Rivaldo, with his back to goal, chested it up, then did a textbook bicycle kick into goal. I was in university at the time, so maybe seven years ago. Which would've made Cesc about twelve or thirteen years old.
It's cool to think of Cesc as just a kid, walking up to the Camp Nou with his mates, climbing the ramps that circle the stadium and entering the stands. It's cool to think of him before all the fame and super stardom, when he was just another guy obsessed about Barcelona, and salivating over Rivaldo and Figo, and revering Pepe Guardiola. It makes him more approachable. It makes me realise that, despite everything, he's just another guy with the same experiences and feelings as me.
Makes him seem more human, I suppose.
Adebayor's goal was pretty damn cool - caught it on the chest, flung himself back, bicycle kick into the corner. A really great goal in a really tight period of the game. It's the kind of brilliance we've been missing since the Henry years. It makes me really enthusiastic about this new Arsenal, about the potential we've got and the games we've still to play. There's a decent chance we can get past Villareal and Porto, and then get absolutely hammered by Barcelona in the final. Wouldn't that be fun?
But what strikes me as really cool is that in a few years' time, some Arsenal starlet will be talking about some great goal from their last game, and then reference it to THAT Adebayor's goal. It's exciting because, if you think about it, that kid's already in the Arsenal academy and training under Liam Brady. He goes to the Emirates with his mates every other Saturday afternoon. He's training at the club he's supported since he first started following football. He loves the Arsenal to madness and his bedroom walls are plastered with pictures of Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Adebayor...
I love thinking that at the moment he's another anonymous kid toiling away at the academy, but that one day, he'll be our next superstar. It gives me tingles.