5 crucial yet forgotten contributions in historic football matches

Modified 30 Sep 2015
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Remember Clive Tyldesley being lost for words when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored the goal that won Manchester United the treble? Or Martin Tyler going ballistic as Sergio Aguero led Manchester City’s great escape in that summer of 2012? Or Sergio Ramos’ leap of faith against heated cross-town rivals, Atletico Madrid, on that starry night in Lisbon? What am I even asking here – any fan of the game would go into that wistful gaze and relive those incredible moments all over again at the very mention of these moments. After all, these are the moments that made these players superheroes. They managed to deliver on the biggest occasion – as the cliche goes, “Cometh the hour, cometh the man!” However, while the world was busy chomping at the bit to create memoirs, documentaries and what not regarding these moments etched in history, there were some other men living in the shadows, whose contributions were as crucial, if not more, in matches of such magnitude. Here are five such players and their crucial, yet sadly forgotten, contributions in the most pivotal of games. 

#5 Juliano Belletti vs Arsenal - Champions League final (2006)

Unlike other players in the list whose contributions were overshadowed by others, Juliano Belletti's winning goal in the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final against Arsenal was perhaps the goal that made Barcelona a force again in world football. However, his goal is often overlooked and ignored, simply because he wasn't supposed to score in a match of this magnitude. 

Having not scored a domestic goal for the Blaugrana in his three-year stint there, Belletti fell into the category of the low key signing that Barcelona occasionally makes – Maxwell, Gabi Milito et al among others. A typically workmanlike and industrious full back, the Brazilian rarely forayed forward, forget scoring goals. 

But, when he did eventually score for the club, it came on the biggest of occasions – in a Champions League final, no less. However, the day is remembered more for Samuel Eto'o's Man of the Match performance, and the poignant image of a crestfallen Thierry Henry more than anything else. 

Sadly, Belletti's late winner is rarely given the due it deserves, despite its importance. 

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Published 30 Sep 2015
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