When time stood still for Harry Kane
The spellbinding Champions League anthem echoes through the hallowed Santiago Bernabeu and Spurs realize it’s one of the biggest games in their history. In case they still need a reminder of the scale of the occasion, the internet shows us that Cristiano Ronaldo sang along with the anthem.
Fun fact - the lyrics of the anthem mixes elements from the three official UEFA languages i.e. English, French and German. They don’t call Cristiano the best without reason, do they?
Spurs were gifted a surprise lead, Ronaldo scored his customary goal, and the game was level. And then there was a moment. Fernando Llorente played a beautiful first-time pass through to Harry Kane who found himself one-on-one against Keylor Navas. 71st minute, and time stood still.
At this moment, anyone who’s seen the Englishman play of late will believe that the net would ripple anytime now. And there’s no one with more faith in Kane’s talent than his manager Mauricio Pochettino.
This would’ve proven to be one of the finest managerial displays in football. Not only were this Spurs side set up to go toe-to-toe with Madrid. They had come to beat them.
The London club had played some beautiful football through the course of the game, and it was all epitomised by the flowing move that led to this very moment. 71st minute, and the Argentinian manager must have believed for a moment that he’s pulled off one of the game’s greatest feats.
Elsewhere, there was a certain Frenchman who was at the heart of the action for large parts of the game. Unfortunately for him, he wishes he wasn’t, as Karim Benzema had a game he’d wish to forget soon.
After a Ronaldo header ricocheted off the post early on, Karin Benzema had the goal at his mercy but somehow managed to pull it wide. An earful from the Portuguese star followed; which language do you think Ronaldo curses in?
Skip to the second half and Benzema is presented with yet another sitter. Point-blank range and the striker somehow manages to find Hugo Lloris’ trailing leg. The pressure mounts further, you can imagine Ronaldo launching a barrage of multilingual expletives, but more importantly, there’s a Frenchman on the sideline whose mind must be going into overdrive.
Zinedine Zidane has played alongside some of the most clinical finishers at Madrid. You can’t expect to play in the famed all-white and scuff opportunity after opportunity. And Zizou must have options aplenty, not least those kids from the Adidas ad vying for his attention.
But more significantly, Harry Kane is a name brought up often in his pressers, with Zidane not ruling out a move. 71st minute, and the Frenchman must have had some regret for not breaking the bank to bring in the Englishman earlier in the summer.
Nearly 800 miles away in London, there’s the Arsenal faithful. Reminiscing their days of glory when Thierry Henry ran riot at the Santiago Bernabeu and scored past Iker Casillas from an eerily strange position as Kane found himself at.
The Gooners take immense pride in that moment as that saw Arsenal become the first English team ever, to take 3 points away from the Bernabeu. Now you can compare Kane to Henry in front of an Arsenal fan at your own peril. But the dynamic is changing in North London and at the 71st minute, that shift could reach its peak.
Now moving away from people's heads, Ronaldo swears, a few countries away - let’s get back into the game and the moment in focus. Harry Kane opens his body and for all the world, looks like he’s going to slot it into the bottom corner to send the 3000 travelling fans into raptures.
But, Navas had other ideas as the Hand of Keylor denied Kane history. And in a moment, all those dreams, fears, and possible regrets go…
Harry Kane falls to his knees. Pochettino, head in hands, has to wait for another day to beat Madrid. Benzema must be a relieved man. Zidane, well, he still looks dapper in his overcoat but what’s on between his ears is anybody’s guess. And of course, Arsenal continue to have a one-up over Spurs in this case.
Kane might have let this golden chance pass, however, his immense ability is there for all to see. With talent like this, you really can’t expect him to stay away from the riches of the La Liga for too long.
Fortunately for Arsenal fans, Harry Kane hasn’t accomplished the feats of Thierry Henry yet. Unfortunately for that same lot, his frightening potential forces me to emphasise on the word, ‘yet’.