LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 14: Lionel Messi (2nd L) of Barcelona celebrates with his team mate Dani Alves after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen first leg match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Barcelona at BayArena on February 14, 2012 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images)
After the jubilation of
Barcelona’s Spain’s European Championship win last night, the excitement is starting to build ahead of the new season. The signing of Jordi Alba – although yet to be completed – is looking to be a masterstroke, especially at €14 million. Cesc Fàbregas is back to his best after a disappointing end to the season, while Gerard Piqué looks like, well, Gerard Piqué again. Xavi absolutely dominated a midfield stacked full of talent, while Andrés Iniesta put the exclamation point on a fantastic tournament by not only claiming the man of the match award, but also the award for the Best Player of the Tournament. As if that wasn’t enough, Sergio Ramos seems to have repented from his slightly excessive (violent?) ways, while Alvaro Arbeloa looks like a rare weak-link ripe for exploitation in the Real Madrid squad. Furthermore, tomorrow is the opening day of the under-19 European Championship with Barcelona starlets Gerard Deulofeu and Alejandro Grimaldo the source of our interest. The tournament will be covered right here on Barca Blaugranes, from a Spanish point of view anyway, with live threads for each of the Spanish games – including their match versus Greece tomorrow at 16:30 CET. But before we get to that, it’s time to reveal another Barca Blaugranes Award winner; just who scored the best individual goal of 2011/12?
1st – Dani Alves vs Real Madrid – 41%
Quite simply, the perfect strike in the most high profile of games, Dani Alves’ bullet against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey ran away with the voting, and it’s not hard to see why. Barcelona were 3-1 up on aggregate before Dani’s strike increased that advantage to three goals, although considering just how good the goal was, and who struck the ball, it seems almost unfair that this goal counts just the same as any other. Fàbregas could perhaps argue for an assist, but it was his blocked free-kick that set up Alves for the strike of a life-time. Of all the players on the pitch, Alves would have arguably been the only one with enough self-belief and confidence to attempt such a shot, and even though nine times out of ten the ball would have sailed wide or far over the bar, it was just meant to be. Leaning forward to keep his weight over the ball, Alves struck the ball with such venom, with such technique, with such audacity that it just had to go in. Casillas made a token attempt to keep the ball out, but no-one or nothing could have stopped that goal. Maybe it was Puyol tripping over, but Casillas just threw his arms up in the air, he was helpless and if there was any goal that warranted a dancing celebration it was this one.
Behold Alves’ strike in high quality below!
Breakdown of Voting:
Next up: Best Team Goal