Goal in football is a thing of beauty. Sometimes it travels all the way from the dusty chalkboard on which the coach drew the moves earlier the week to the field itself; sometimes it just happens. For a modern world blessed with super-light footballs and goal-line technologies, the beauty of a goal is often lost. Sometimes by purpose, sometimes by design. A carefully orchestrated goal is the epitome of the hours of toil players have to undergo to achieve it. And then, comes the game-changer.
A bolt from the blue, a brilliant streak of light in the sky and the act is finished. Yes, sometimes goals come that way too. And these are the goals which are forever etched in the memory of the fans. Some goals are just like that – scored on the spur of the moment, a streak of brilliance separating a demi-god from the ordinary mortal. For those people who were lucky enough to witness Maradona’s goal against Juventus on the 3rd of November, 1985, all of the above holds true.
Maradona had arrived in Naples just one season back and helped his club to stay afloat in the topmost tier of Italian football. Come 1985, he was a different beast altogether. On a cold November day, Napoli faced Juventus at the San Paolo but all the eyes of the spectators were fixated on the diminutive Argentine. Being a wet day, the ball traveled sluggishly on the pitch. The first half ended goal-less, even after Platini’s well-taken free-kick.
In the second half, Maradona took the attacking onus upon himself for his team. He not only created chances, but also went in the box trying to win headers from the tall Juventus defenders. The incessant attack paid off and Napoli earned a free kick inside the penalty area. Midfielder Eraldo Pecci stood with Maradona over the ball. And then it happened. From just 5 meters out, Maradona magically was able to curl the ball into the top corner of the net.
The audacity of the strike sent the San Paolo crowd into a delirious frenzy as the parabole of the trajectory left commentators befuddled. How did he do it? Taking a very short run-up, Maradona nicked the ball and at the same time pulled his foot back. That enabled the ball not only to curl behind Tacconi, but also give the ball its unique trajectory.
Maradona had scored the La trayectoria imposible. Napoli had finally defeated Juventus after an agonizing wait of 13 years! The winds of change were blowing in Calcio, with Napoli being the chief architect under Maradona.