Nayim reflects on his winner for Real Zaragoza in the 1995 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final – a contender in UEFA's 60 goals poll – and getting the bus home.
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Not many players can boast of having scored from 40 metres, let alone to win a European final. It was the last minute of extra time at the Parc de Princes in Paris when Nayim saw David Seaman off his line and sent the ball flying over the Arsenal FC goalkeeper to win the 1995 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup for Real Zaragoza.
"I had played against Arsenal for five years with Tottenham and remembered they always played with a high defensive line, with the goalkeeper acting like a sweeper, so before the game I told my team-mates and our coach that we should try and shoot from the halfway line," Nayim told UEFA.com.
Indeed, midfielder Santiago Aragón had already tried to lob Seaman in the first half. "It's not so easy," said Nayim in his team-mate's defence. "I remember looking at Seaman the whole game and in the last minute I tried it – luckily everything went right."
The night could have turned out very differently for Nayim. In the opening period, he looked to be badly injured following a tackle by Paul Merson. However, in the process of being taken off on a stretcher, he leapt to his feet and insisted on returning straight to the action.
"It was the game of my life, no one was going to take me out of that game, I would have had to be really, really injured to go off," he added. Another twist of fate also aided Zaragoza's cause on 10 May 1995. Despite being naturally right-footed, Nayim had spent most of the season playing on the left, but with five minutes left in extra time, coach Víctor Fernández brought on spot-kick specialist Geli with the impending shoot-out in mind.
That change meant Nayim switched to the right, enabling him to use his preferred foot for his dramatic clincher. The goal secured Zaragoza their second European trophy (after the 1964 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup) and sparked wild celebrations in the northern Spanish city, with tens of thousands greeting the team on their triumphant return. A number of fans also, rather unexpectedly, got to celebrate with their hero.
"I came out of the stadium late because I had the anti-doping test and I wanted to go and meet my team-mates in a restaurant, but there were no taxis at that time of night," Nayim recalled. "So I saw a bus and asked the driver if he could take me to the restaurant. The bus was full of Zaragoza supporters. Most were asleep, but someone saw me and shouted: 'It's Nayim', and everyone woke up, saying 'What is he doing here?'. That's what football is all about."