Today marks two years since Cristiano Ronaldo changed Calcio forever with his overhead kick against Juventus in the Champions League.
Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid to a commanding 3-0 victory in the first leg of their quarter-final with Juve, bagging a brace at the Allianz Stadium.
His first goal wasn’t too shabby, toepoking a low cross past Gianluigi Buffon first time, but it was his second that – quite literally – stole all the plaudits.
With Madrid under increasing Bianconeri pressure, Dani Carvajal angled a cross into the box. On the end of it was Ronaldo, who knocked the stuffing out of Juve with an incredible piece of improvisation.
The Old Lady’s players could only stand and watch their future teammate unleash an overhead kick past Buffon, as if time had stood still.
More tellingly, however, the home fans stood and applauded in their droves, aware they had just witnessed one of the greatest goals in European football history.
The No 7 rounded off a perfect performance with an assist for Marcelo, before scoring a dramatic late penalty in the second leg to deny a Juve comeback.
Ronaldo and Madrid went on to lift their third consecutive Champions League together, but the two would go their separate ways at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.
The Portuguese signed for Juve in an Italian-record deal worth €112m that summer, and he admitted at his official unveiling the fans’ applause had played a role in his transfer.
“I don’t remember what happened in the following days but I was very happy. It wasn’t just for having won, or for scoring such a great goal, the one detail that made the difference was the reaction of the fans who applauded me.
“It was a surprise even for me, I didn’t expect it. I’d always liked this club, but even more so after that moment. It’s not that the goal changed things, Juventus is a great club and gave me the chance to come here at this unique moment in my life, and I don’t think it was because of that goal. Certainly though the small details make a difference.”
The move proved to be a watershed moment for the brands of Juve and Serie A, with both going on to enjoy new-found exposure in terms of following and finance.
Those same supporters will be hoping more of that magic can help end the Bianconeri’s 24-year wait for another Champions League trophy.
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