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Hulk do Atletico Mineiro, during the match between Atletico Mineiro and Flamengo

Remember Hulk? He’s just scored the most insane free-kick you’ll ever see

Hulk is quite the enigma in football folklore, becoming known for his absurd build despite being an explosive winger – hence the nickname – yet never actually making a move to one of Europe’s biggest sides.

The Brazilian regularly wowed from a distance during his peak years, emerging at Porto on the European stage before taking a rather shocking move to Russia with Zenit in 2012, despite his stock rising considerably.

That would prove to be it for the cult hero who never was, slowly fading into obscurity with an inevitable move to China in 2016, returning to Asia following a stint in Japan earlier on in his career.

So why on earth are we bringing him up again in 2023?

Believe it or not, the man-beast-turned-winger who looks more ready for a stint with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is actually still playing at the ripe old age of 37, bullying defenders and bursting through on the break in his native Brazil for Atletico Mineiro.

He returned to South America in 2021 after a four-year stint in China with Shanghai SiPG, collecting what we can only assume was an eye-watering salary as his chance to truly become a cult hero within Europe’s top five leagues continued to dwindle – despite strange links to Tottenham and Barcelona from time to time.

It’s probably a surprise to hear that he’s even still going, so you’ll be even more surprised to hear that he’s absolutely ripping it up and scoring thunderb*stards along the way.

And no, we’re not exaggerating. Now in the Autumn of his career, you can probably expect less explosive runs and bursts of pace, so Hulk is making up for it by smashing in absolute worldies from improbable distance.

‘Incredible Hulk’ is an understatement, because not even the big green machine could muster up something so stupendously powerful yet simultaneously accurate.

Laser-guided towards goal, we massively respect the goalkeeper’s attempt to dive for that because frankly, he was never getting near it.

And if he did, he’d have been leaving the field with several broken digits. No thanks.

The sheer audacity to even aim for goal from so far out is insane. It makes that Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick against Arsenal all those years ago feel completely run of the mill, because Hulk’s flew through the air like a fighter jet before bursting the net.

Not even Alan Partridge’s World Cup commentary could do it justice, He most definitely has a foot like a traction engine.

It’s seeing exactly that moment of madness and pure, undisputed technique combined that makes us wonder ‘what if?’ regarding Hulk’s career in Europe. Sure, we got to see him for a short while at Porto and he popped up now and then in European competition with Zenit, but it was never enough.

To be able to witness this absolute unit charging down a Premier League flank at full pelt, bursting out of his shirt and ready to steamroll anyone in his way would’ve certainly been something. Would he have come to England and mostly flopped massively? Quite possibly.

But from that free-kick alone, you can just tell that Hulk would’ve left his mark in moments. Moments of superhuman quality like his dead-ball goal from above, which looked fast, powerful and accurate enough to have been sent hurling towards goal by NASA.

By Mitchell Wilks


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