Diogo Dalot netted his first Premier League goal for Manchester United in front of a raucous away end at the City Ground to put the game against Nottingham Forest beyond doubt, and celebrated in only the way one could in such a situation in today’s version of the game.
Long gone are the days of netting a goal and swiftly jogging back into your own half for the following kick-off, or even giving it a little jump for joy like they did in the 1950s.
No. Instead, goals in today’s game are celebrated in a fashion more akin to a WWE superstar filming a series of vignettes to create character layers and ‘get themselves over’ as they say in the wrestling business.
There has been much more to shout about and celebrate over at United this season, including Sunday’s comfortable 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest. Especially on a weekend where their top four rivals dropped points like confetti.
With the game finely poised heading into the final 15 minutes or so, Dalot burst forward from his makeshift left-back position, cutting up the inside thanks to a wealth of space afforded to him and latched onto a pass from Antony, before coolly slotting past the despairing Keylor Navas. 2-0. Game over.
GOAL! Nottingham Forest 0-2 Man Utd
Diogo Dalot scores his first Premier League goal for the club 🔴 pic.twitter.com/0nxAbrtIqV
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 16, 2023
But this is where it gets odd. Fascinating. Perplexing. Hilarious. Incredibly WWE. All of the above.
After firing his shot beyond Navas, Dalot celebrated his first-ever Premier League goal like a man possessed. Not one celebration, not two, not three, but approximately FOUR different celebrations. Yes, four.
In a moment that felt so hideously modern football, yet simultaneously so ‘Barclays’ at the same time, Dalot reeled them off like a man who knew he was finally getting in on the action in front of goal.
First came the finger wag as he ran towards a rampant away end, before pausing for – officially – celebration number one; the pulse check.
Ice cold. We like it. But that wasn’t enough. After checking the pulse, Dalot then proceeds towards the away end once again for celebration number two – a fan favourite and one straight from the textbook. Can’t go wrong. Now jog back in and get ready to see the game out.
Or… don’t. At this point, his teammates have bundled forward, giving the 24-year-old chance to make it a hat-trick of celebrations.
In come the handshakes and embraces. Now surely there was nothing left in the tank. Not even The Rock in the main event of a WWE pay-per-view in the late 1990s could showboat like this.
Alas, it wasn’t. In comes the fourth and final celebration. Four celebrations, Jeremy? That’s insane.
Dalot puts the gloss on an all-time bizarre moment by acting out what appeared to be a planned celebration with his assist provider Antony, a paused handshake while staring into each other’s eyes like they were about to go blow for blow in a world title bout.
“It’s our little thing,” he told Sky Sports: “He had a fantastic game as well. He is getting rewards from his effort all season.”
Not all that ‘little’ when it follows a string of three celebrations, but we’ll allow it for the sake of getting with the times. Your dad probably hates it, which is why it’s probably best to get on board now and embrace this new phenomenon.
Fair play, Diogo – a fine game capped off in strange – but equally impressive – circumstances.
By Mitchell Wilks