It takes something special to make headlines on a night where your team-mate scores four goals, breaking all kinds of records in the process.
With his first-half, four-goal haul against Azerbaijan, Romelu Lukaku set a new record for goals in a European Championships qualifying campaign with 14. He’s moved ahead of Robert Lewandowski to sit second in the all-time chart of European international goalscorers – only Cristiano Ronaldo has notched more. Lukaku has now scored more goals for Belgium than Pele did for Brazil.
Yeah, yeah. That’s all very impressive. Well done, Big Rom.
But you didn’t pull off one of the most mind-bending pieces of skill we’ve seen all year, did you? Step forward, Leandro Trossard.
The Arsenal forward added the gloss with the fifth goal of Belgium’s 5-0 rout in injury time, but it’s what he did shortly before that really blew us away.
Dashing onto a loose ball, Trossard produced the deftest of touches to flick the ball up and away from the Azerbaijani midfielder, sliding in at full pelt. Then – in mid-air – he managed to take another perfect touch to keep the ball under his control as he landed, before dashing forward and nutmegging another player for good measure.
It’s only the slow-mo replay that does the piece of skill justice, offering us a much-needed reminder that elite-level footballers are playing a different sport entirely. They are capable of doing things with a football that mere mortals like you and I can only dream of.
Trossard WHAT pic.twitter.com/r3OamNy341
— Av (@aviv_lavi) November 19, 2023
“We ended the campaign in a beautiful way,” Trossard told Belgian outlet HBVL after the final whistle. He was talking about the result and overall performance, but he might just as easily have been talking about his final flourish with three of the most sumptuous touches you’ll ever see.
“Can we win the European Championship?” he continued.
“That’s possible. When you see that Italy won the previous European Championship with players who may not have been the very best in terms of talent, but with a team that fought for each other. I now have a bit of that feeling with us too. This is a team that works well together and will go to great lengths for each other.”
We’re not going to disagree. After seeing that piece of skill, Trossard has made us believe anything is possible.
By Nestor Watach