Champions League

Pique leads tributes to 'crazy' Florenzi goal

2015-09-17 15:01

Rome - Barcelona defender Gerard Pique led the tributes to the "crazy" goal scored by Alessandro Florenzi that earned Roma a point from the sides' 1-1 Champions League draw on Wednesday.

Roma's Twitter account went crazy!

"It was crazy!" Pique wrote on Twitter in a reply to a fan who had asked the Spanish defender's reaction to Florenzi's long-distance strike that caught Barcelona 'keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen off guard.

"When I saw the goal, I didn't believe it! One of the best goals I've received in my career."

On what was Lionel Messi's 100th Champions League appearance, the Argentinian had been hoping to close the gap on rival Cristiano Ronaldo's new record tally for goals in the competition.

Both had been tied on 77 but a hat-trick by the Real Madrid striker in a 4-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday saw him pull three goals clear of Messi.

Messi was a class act throughout an entertaining Group E encounter at the Stadio Olimpico, where Roma were forced to defend for most of the night and take their chances on the counter-attack.

But the Barcelona star was upstaged by Florenzi's strike, which sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport calculated at a distance of 55.49 metres.

After collecting the ball in his own half, Florenzi carried it over the halfway line near the right touchline, looked up and, when he saw the Barcelona 'keeper 15 metres out of his goal, launched a drive that went over Ter Stegen and in off his far post.

The 24-year-old Florenzi admitted to stunning himself.

"It was a great goal, you could see that by the reaction on my face after it went in," he said, admitting he decided to take a pot shot after realising he had no other choices.

"I saw (Edin) Dzeko but couldn't get the ball to him. So I said to myself, 'shoot'. The worst thing that can happen is it goes out of play. Then I saw it go in the back of the net."

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, meanwhile, said he was partly to blame and claimed Florenzi had been lucky.

"He (Florenzi) is a good player, but he was a little lucky," said Luis Enrique, who spent a season as coach of Roma in 2011/12.

"He took a chance and scored a great goal. Hats off to him, but it was partly my fault because we tell our goalkeepers to play like that. But that will be the last goal like that we concede."

Florenzi's strike has relaunched debate about where exactly he should play. Known for his versatility, at Roma he has played on the wing, in midfield and at right-back.

Team-mate Daniele De Rossi said: "He's scored a goal that is going to be televised over and over. He can become one of the best right-backs in the world."


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