Recounting poetry in just one photo is never easy. In our “Snapshots” segment, we always try to bring to life a memory from a fixture, which is upcoming, through photos. The snapshots encapsulate a defining moment in a match. Choosing just one moment of the genius of Álvaro Recoba is also not easy, you might even say it’s impossible.
A Veronica. A Ruleta. A Roulette. A Marseille turn. Every language has its own name for this seemingly simple concept, which is rather more difficult in practice. It was a piece of skill made famous by Maradona and Zidane - that dance on the ball to evade an onrushing opponent. Recoba, on 22 September 2004, produced a perfect Roulette in an eventful and crazy game, before sticking the ball into the top left corner. It was a magical and unforgettable goal, which was not even the defining point of game that seemed unending.
That midweek evening in Bergamo had started poorly for Inter after Budan snatched upon a wayward backpass from Burdisso to Toldo, and this after Adriano had hit the bar with a brilliant effort from some way out. The recovery for Mancini’s side was launched by Andy Van der Meyde in the second half; he found himself free down the right and picked out Stankovic, whose perfect header made it 1-1.
Recoba came off the bench in the 76th minute and, just three minutes later, the magic happened. His Roulette took him past Albertini and his lethal left-footed strike nestled into the top corner; he wheeled away in celebration with open arms. But no, that game was far from over: a young Pazzini brought the score level at 2-2 before the next snapshot of the evening.
Here too, words and one picture don’t really do it justice; this was one of those times when Adriano seemed to transform into the Incredible Hulk. The ball came in from midfield, he went shoulder to shoulder with the gigantic Natali, who ended up flailing on the ground. An irresistible “Imperatore” cut in from the right, hit it with his left and beat a helpless Taibi at his near post. 3-2 to Inter, and all three points. One Roulette and one brilliant strike. Two goals from two fearsome left-footers.
ATALANTA 2-3 INTER
Goalscorers: 25' Budan, 54' Stankovic, 79' Recoba, 85' Pazzini, 87' Adriano.
Atalanta: 1 Taibi, 3 Gonnella, 4 Albertini, 6 Bellini, 7 Marcolini, 10 Pià (67’ Pazzini), 11 Budan (67’ Gautieri), 16 Rivalta, 18 Montolivo, 22 Mingazzini (81' Lazzari), 25 Natali.
Substitutes: 27 Calderoni, 8 Bernardini, 19 Zenoni, 24 Sala.
Coach: Andrea Mandorlini.
Inter: 1 Toldo, 2 Cordoba, 3 Burdisso, 5 Emre, 7 Van der Meyde (82' Davids), 10 Adriano, 16 Favalli, 19 Cambiasso (76’ Recoba), 23 Materazzi, 25 Stankovic, 32 Vieri (60’ Martins).
Substitutes: 12 Fontana, 4 J. Zanetti, 9 Cruz, 13 Zè Maria.
Coach: Roberto Mancini.
Bookings: 52’ Rivalta, 70’ Van der Meyde.