A breathtaking move.

Champions League? Bore off – the Championship has just birthed a Ronaldinho regen

On a night where the knockout stages got underway in what is widely considered the greatest competition in club football, the actual greatest competition in club football stole the show once again.

A 24-team Royal Rumble grudge match that takes place over nine months would be an understatement when describing the Championship, a division we are confident in saying is undoubtedly the most entertaining in world football, if not the undisputed greatest.

Seriously, it has it all. Way too many teams, clubs in crisis, over and underachievers scattered around the division, end-of-season play-offs, and the frightening reality that a team is only ever three wins or three losses on the spin away from newfound glory or certain doom.

Oh, it also has a hilarious and brilliant melting pot of players.

The same division that saw Dean Windass, Anthony Knockaert and Jordan Rhodes all look like world-beaters has also proven to be a genuine talent pool for Premier League sides looking to spend their money more wisely.

Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze barely scratch the surface in being testament to that fact, the pair having lit up the Barclays with a talent and flair that the game has been desperately crying out for in an era of sufferball and sideways passes.

But there is one man who has emerged in England’s beloved second tier. A man who doesn’t pose a threat to their reputations, because he’s already crushed it and gone straight for the chain that dangles around Ronaldinho’s neck.

Jaden Philogene was actually on the books at high-flying Aston Villa until September 2023, leaving before really getting a chance to force his way into Unai Emery’s plans.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and perhaps Philogene would’ve flown in his ruthless, attacking setup, but hypotheticals get us nowhere in life.

You know what gets us somewhere? Big, silly rabonas. Sexy rabonas. Philogene – who signed for Hull ahead of the 2023-24 campaign – has not only just produced the sexiest rabona we’ll ever see, but put the gloss on a run of skills that would’ve seen him complete Wayne Rooney’s Street Striker in one take.

Time stood still as he produced a brief moment of flair so outrageous that even Ronaldinho himself would’ve been without a smile for a minute, before tucking away an even more disgusting goal to seal it.

Stop that. Now. We’ve not got the superlatives to do his sheer wizardry any justice.

Philogene picks up the ball inside the opposition penalty area in a position where most players – from amateurs up to the elite level – would get their head up, see the goal and rifle their laces through the pig’s bladder in sheer hope that it hits the back of the net.

Not Jaden, though. This kid is from another planet. In infuriating yet equally scrumptious fashion, Philogene scoops the ball towards the byline, sends an unsuspecting defender one way, then sits him down in the depths of hell moments after to create another glimpse of space.

By this point, the chance has all but gone. Strikers are marked, defenders are stood tall and Philogene has an even tighter angle than before.

But that can’t stop pure, unbridled joga bonito, straight from the alien realm. He sends an inch-perfect rabona flying through the corridor of uncertainty and into the back of the net. Ronaldinho who?

Jaden Philogene. Remember the name – because you won’t forget the goal.

By Mitch Wilks

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