Monday 23 April 2018

Outrageous Guti backheel puts Real on the front foot

Euro Zone

Pete Jenson

“THERE is no great genius without a touch of madness”, said the Roman philosopher Seneca. When Real Madrid’s sage and some time professional footballer Guti found himself on the edge of the six-yard box in front of goal against Deportivo la Coruna and with only keeper Daniel Aranzubia to beat on Saturday night, he must have known the sane thing to do was score and put his side 2-0 up.

Only a fool – or a genius depending on the outcome – would have chosen to back-heel the ball back to the edge of the penalty area for another player to shoot from further out. Guti’s elaborate assist fooled everyone accept Karim Benzema who gave the pass the finish it deserved to score Madrid’s second in the 3-1 victory over Deportivo.

Guti has been in the sin-bin for best part of the season for his part in Real Madrid’s embarrassing Spanish Cup exit at the hands of third-division opposition. His career has been littered with biggame let-downs, managerial fallouts and off-the-field controversies. Just last week he revealed on a Spanish documentary about his career that he knows it won’t be long before he quits the game and retires to Thailand. “This goal will still be being talked about for the next 30 years” said ‘Marca’, whose front page simply read ‘The backheel of God’.

Esteban Granero scored the first and Benzema added a late third as Real ended an 18-year run without a win in the league away to Deportivo. They also did it ‘a la Barcelona’ with a team made up largely of homegrown players. “We have shown that we have a team,” Guti said in reference to the fact that one of Real’s best performances of the season had come without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo.

Of his outrageous back-heel Guti added: “I had seen Karim out of the corner of my eye. The keeper had come out to close me down so that made it easier for him to score.”

Meanwhile, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola left Thierry Henry on the bench against Sporting Gijon and his replacement Pedro scored the only goal of the game as Barca made it 20 games unbeaten in La Liga. Pedro now has 15 in all competitions despite not having started a league game for a month. Henry meanwhile, has denied having already signed a contract with New York Red Bulls. “It is not true that a deal is already agreed,” he said.

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