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Rave reviews for Lamela 'rabona'

24 October 2014, 17:28

London - Tottenham Hotspur striker Erik Lamela shot to the front of the queue for the world goal of the year Friday after his "rabona" wonder strike in the Europa League.

The 22-year-old Argentine became a global internet sensation with his audacious strike in Spurs' 5-1 win over Greek side Asteras Tripolis, wrapping his left foot around his right leg to shoot the ball in from 20 metres.

Bookmakers made Lamela an immediate favourite to win FIFA's Puskas award for the goal of the year.

And the Tottenham forward said it was probably his best ever goal. "Yes, I think so," he declared.

"I've scored like that before, when I was playing in the junior sides at River Plate. It just happened in a flash.

Also read: Nigeria coach listed for FIFA awards

"I wasn't thinking about doing something like that, I just wanted to score and it was the most effective, comfortable way of making it happen.

"It's something I'll always remember because it's something different from the other goals I've scored."

"Goals like this are just an instinctive thing, I got lucky. Maybe my right foot is not very good so I had to use my left," Lamela said.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino hailed the club's record 30 million pound ($48 million, 38 million euros) signing who has been slow to make an impact in the Premier League.

"It was a very big goal, a great goal, an unbelievable goal. I am happy for him," said Pochettino, who added it was probably the best by any of his players.

"He practises it every day in training. It is a goal only a player with his skill can score," Pochettino said.

Lamela, who got two goals in the game, astounded his Premier League counterparts.

Spurs striker Harry Kane, who hit a hat-trick in the game, said: "It was crazy. He's got that (the rabona) in his locker and it was great for him to do it on the big stage."

Former England striker Michael Owen said on Twitter: "My word. That Lamela goal was outrageous!!!"

Former England captain Gary Lineker added: "If there's a better goal scored this season than Erik Lamela's then I can't wait to see it."

Another former England striker, Peter Crouch, called Lamela's shot "the ultimate showboat."

The rabona was reportedly first carried out by another Argentine Ricardo Infante in 1948. Diego Maradona, Roberto Baggio and Gianfranco Zola have all carried out the feat in a game.

The Argentine, who has had a hard time winning over fans since his high profile move from Roma last year, became an internet sensation with videos of his goal getting millions of views.

Lamela hopes the goal will improve his standing with Tottenham fans.

"The goal was important for me but also because I needed to score, any type of goal," Lamela said.

"I'm happy for the goal and the win. I hope to continue in this way but it's just one game for me.

"I need to think about doing other things well and continuing to improve," he said.

Spurs' win put them level with Besiktas at the top of Group C in the Europa League.



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