Esteban Cambiasso pictured celebrating a wonder goal at Germany 2006 The midfielder rounded off a 24-pass move in 6-0 win over Serbia and Montenegro Hernan Crespo: “I have never been involved in a more beautiful goal”
At times this week, and even amid scores of high-stakes FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers elsewhere, it seemed that all eyes were on Argentina.
For many, a World Cup without La Albiceleste was hard to imagine, and it's easy to understand why. The South Americans are, after all, serial title contenders, two-time winners and boast, arguably, the best player in the world.
Argentina are also synonymous with the World Cup because they have produced some of its most memorable moments. And while Diego Maradona’s magical solo run at the Azteca will spring immediately to mind, you might also remember Esteban Cambiasso scoring a very different, but equally admirable, goal in Gelsenkirchen.
His celebration, pictured here, says it all. While Maradona was used to scoring wonder goals, Cambiasso seemed as amazed and awe-struck as anyone watching. The goal, he later reflected, was “patience, rhythm, circulation, surprise and football artistry at its best”.
If Maradona’s effort had showcased the potential of a supreme individual, Cambiasso’s reminded us of the power of the collective. All but one of Argentina’s outfield players were involved in a glorious move that comprised 24 consecutive passes, the last of which was a sublime Hernan Crespo back-heel into the goalscorer’s path. Cambiasso’s left-foot finish merely added the finishing touch to a masterpiece.
Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport hailed it as “an exposition of football,” while Crespo spoke in wonder of “the most beautiful goal”.
“I have not seen one like that for years,” the striker added after Argentina’s thrilling 6-0 demolition of Serbia and Montenegro. “It was almost like indoor football. I have never been involved in a more beautiful goal.”
Those who remember it might also recall that a teenager by the name of Lionel Messi made his World Cup debut in the same match. He scored, of course, and thanks to his hat-trick on Tuesday, fans across the world can look forward to more moments of Albiceleste inspiration on the biggest stage of all.