We all remember ‘that’ goal from Erik Lamela in the Europa League back in 2014.
I remember it because my eyes saw something that my brain delayed processing. It was at first just a great left-foot effort from the edge of the area, that flew like a rocket into the net. Yay!…. but like my delayed brain, the commentator paused too …mind rewind …did Lamela’s right leg just cross behind his left leg and kick the ball? ….Rabona!!
As a 12-year-old Erik “Coco” Lamela was already being hailed as the next Lionel Messi (Mundo Deportivo). Indeed Barcelona wanted him, his family were said to have been offered £100,000 a year plus housing plus jobs to go and live in the Catalan city of dreams, just like Messi. However, he stayed in Argentina and played on for River Plate scoring 120 goals as a 12-year-old…in one season (Guardian).
It’s easy to see why Barcelona wanted the kid, why Roma bought him as a 19-year-old and why Spurs broke their transfer record in 2013 to spend £30m on a 21-year old Lamela (Independent). In today’s crazy inflated world of football money we are looking at maybe a valuation of £70m (in my opinion).
Lamela’s nickname is Coco. Fitting as that’s associated with Giovani “coco” Rocotelli, an Italian football player who was better known for his Rabona skills. Also fitting as the Rabona was first recognised in Argentina in the late 1940s as a legitimate skill. It was further legitimised on TV in the 1960s by a certain Pele.
In glimpses, we have seen undoubted talent. He has immense strength, speed and supreme skill, whilst also being able to shoot with both feet, can head, can tackle and tracks back to help out defensively. He was signed as either a number nine or a ten. In old fashioned money that translates to a centre forward or a support act.
His injuries, however, have held him back; he has been unlucky. Maybe this will be the season that we get to see what he is really capable of. If Lamela delivers then Spurs will have filled that missing x-factor. I want to see that. I want to see a gifted South American talent at his pomp. Football deserves, Erik Lamela deserves.
Can the real Erik Manuel Lamela please stand up.
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