The Five Best Nutmegs Ever
Football is about winning as well as entertaining. In the end, people pay a ticket to cheer for their teams as much as they want to have a good time. Nutmegs serve this purpose. Even after a boring 0-0 tie, a good nutmeg can save the day and make fans leave the stadium with a smile.
In the following examples, I would say that smile lasted over a week. Time to see some magic!
Ronaldo (R9) at Inter Milan
Ronaldo’s magic did not start with Cristiano, it started with Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima — “The Phenomenon” — the Brazilian, one of the best footballers of all time, and one that makes you wonder what he could have done if he hadn’t had such bad luck with his knees. He received the Ballon d’Or for best player in the world in 1996, at the age of 20, turning him into the youngest player in history to receive such recognition.
After a single but unforgettable season playing for Barcelona, he transferred to Inter Milan in 1997 for a world record fee of $27 million. Why? Because he was capable of doing this, and much more.
Somebody help these defenders, please.
Ronaldinho | Milan vs. Chievo
If you google “magic,” Ronaldinho should pop up as your first result. 'Dinho was all about it: a smile on his face and let’s have fun. He was the ambassador of Brazil’s footballing culture of enjoying the game. His highest peak was at Barcelona, when his unbelievable ball skills where enhanced by lightning speed, athletic shape and a winning mentality. He lost his focus after that, but the magic of that right foot never stopped shining.
Ask this poor defender from Chievo — "sub coach!"
Messi vs. Milner
Before Pep Guardiola took charge of Manchester City, he went to the stadium to watch his next team play against his previous masterpiece, Barcelona. That day, Leo Messi destroyed Man City and James Milner in particular, who ended up on the ground, looking like a novice. Poor Milner, he probably wanted the ground to swallow him. Not cool Leo!
Pep’s reaction makes it even better.
Coutinho at Liverpool
Before Coutinho transferred to Barcelona, he killed it playing for Liverpool. Once, playing against Besiktas, he decided to destroy one of his rivals. What makes this nutmeg so awesome, in my opinion, is that he hardly had to touch the ball to ruin a career, and that the player from Besiktas kept sliding for another five yards after being nutmegged. He probably wanted to keep sliding all the way to the dressing room.
CR7 vs. Deportivo La Coruna
Cristiano Ronaldo, playing as a left winger, always controls the ball and faces the right back. Maybe this time he felt like the defender arrived to mark him too quick, so elastico move and “sit down buddy, I’m busy here.”
Poor guy, somebody dig a hole please.
— Marcio DaCosta (@mfdacosta) February 14, 2015
Bonus: JR Riquelme vs. Mario Yepes
I know I said five nutmegs, but this one is special and could not be off the list.
Back in 2000, Boca Juniors and River Plate were playing for a spot in the semifinals of the Libertadores. Boca vs. River is hotter than El Clasico — the stadium's packed and the passion and intensity creates an unbelievable atmosphere. The fans cheer and jump nonstop for 90 minutes. The audiences play their own game, trying to prove whose team has the best supporters.
River won the first match 2-1 at “El Monumental” stadium, and the second game was played at Boca’s mythical “La Bombonera.” Boca turned things around in a memorable day and beat River 3-0, but the best part of the night took place when Riquelme, with his team leading 2-0 already, controlled the ball right next to the sideline and found himself surrounded by two rivals, one of them the brilliant Colombian defender Mario Yepes.
No room to escape backwards, he buried Yepes by nutmegging him with the sole of his cleat. You can hear in the video how a giant “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOLEEEEEE!!” is yelled by the supporters, interrupting their own chanting, and the commentator starts laughing while Riquelme escapes from three markers.
Some River fans that I personally know were at the stadium that day and told me how it felt: “We were cheering too 'til suddenly Roman megs Yepes, and we all went ‘Uuuuuuuuh!’ and covered our faces. It was brutal.”
The best part is that after the match Riquelme was asked by a reporter about the situation, thinking he would mock his rival for what happened, but on the contrary Roman responded: “I want to highlight Mario’s sportsmanship. Truth is that I did it because it was the only way I found to escape from where I was, with another defender approaching. Any other player would have turned around and kicked me in the leg as hard as he could, to then insult me while on the floor, but he didn’t. He followed me and marked me till the ball went out, and never said a word. I think that’s more important that the nutmeg.”
Worth standing up and clapping for both.