It was "craziness and a bit of heart that allowed me to score this beautiful goal," Alessandro Florenzi told UEFA.com after his strike for the ages allowed Roma to hold Barcelona.
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To have 58,000 fans on their feet for an ovation which did not want to end must take something special, and that is precisely what Alessandro Florenzi delivered in Roma's 1-1 draw with Barcelona.
Florenzi, an attacking midfielder by trade but playing as a full-back recently, supplied that moment when, for what seemed like an eternity, the Stadio Olimpico stood still. Seconds later, the ground erupted. Minutes later, that eruption had not ceased.
"I think it was [in the air for] four or five seconds, but it felt like four or five minutes," Florenzi told UEFA.com "The ball seemed to be in the air for an eternity. I honestly didn't know how to celebrate. I just put my hands over my face."
It was not a gesture born out of shame, but out of disbelief. "I had scored a goal that I will never forget," added the 24-year-old.
Although Florenzi confided that he had studied Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen's movements, executing such a precise lob from the touchline, more than 50 metres from goal, takes more than just forward planning.
"It was difficult, but it was instinct," Florenzi said. "[It was] craziness and a bit of heart that allowed me to score this beautiful goal. It was practically a last resort because Edin [Džeko] was being marked by two defenders and I said, 'I’ll try it' and I managed to get it to land under the bar and score a great goal."
Indeed, it was a remember-the-date moment which – justifiably – earned widespread acclaim, even from within the Barcelona camp. "We controlled everything, except for one thing which absolutely nobody could do anything about," said their coach Luis Enrique. "It was an outstanding goal; a touch of genius."
That was precisely what Roma needed to make a breakthrough in a game which, as Luis Enrique noted, had largely been dominated by the holders.
At times, their possession was touching 75%, but Roma's rearguard simply would not be broken. "We did all we could to get the win, but Roma did a great job in defence," acknowledged Luis Enrique, coach of the Serie A side in the 2011/12 season.
The spoils were therefore shared, and the point was certainly worth its weight in gold for Roma.
"It’s very valuable, firstly because we’ve taken a point off the strongest side in the world," said Florenzi. "Secondly, it shows we’re a great team. If we always play like that with such unity, we can do very well both in Serie A and the Champions League."
And if Florenzi can provide such moments of sheer class with regularity, who knows how far this Roma can progress on both fronts this season.