There are plenty of good reasons to hate football. The diving; players snot-rocketing and wiping their noses on their jerseys in front of the camera; the ever-burgeoning breed of hypersensitive fans; Cristiano Ronaldo’s stance before taking a free-kick; the imaginary card waving; the lack of loyalty; the cliché-ridden post-match interview; Alan Shearer; Fifa; Chelsea away jerseys. The list goes on. But then, all of a sudden, a moment of unsullied beauty appears and you are reminded why you loved the game in the first place.
Robin van Persie’s volley against Everton was one such moment. The volley is the sculpted Armani model of the goal world: an item of rare beauty. And he’s done it before too. It makes you forget about all those other goals. The beating of a few players? The backheel? The diving header? Pah! We’ve seen those executed on a Thursday night at Powerleague. Anyone can do those. But the volley? No way. To do it perfectly, as Van Persie did on Saturday, you have to be good – Gabby Hayes good.
Like the creation of a universe, all the elements have to be in the right place at just the right moment. So rare do these elements combine that volleys generally result in the ball skirting off the shin, over the roof of the stand and bouncing down the road, a new toy for an opportunistic passerby. But when they do come off, sit back and enjoy them. They will restore your faith in football and help to ward off those nightmares riddled by luminous jerseys and inflated egos.