Martin Palermo heads towards the record books
Is Martin Palermo’s amazing winner for Boca Juniors on Sunday, a header from nearly 40 metres that bounced just once on the line of the six-yard box on its way into the net, worthy of an entry into the Guinness Book of records?
This is a question Argentines have been asking, while TV sports chat shows have been running footage of other remarkable goals and moments in the career of the 35-year-old striker.
Palermo himself barely knew what had happened on Sunday. His expression as he celebrated his feat said it all. First a quick run, taking his shirt off and waving it over his head. Then a stance with feet and arms out wide in front of the hardcore fans at the Bombonera, soaking up the adulation but also with a wry grin as if to ask “How did I manage that?”
Velez Sarsfield goalkeeper German Montoya came out of his box to kick the ball clear. It went at head height towards the centre circle. Palermo, standing just outside the circle 38.90 metres from goal headed it right back and it sailed, veering towards the right, into the net. Another 10 metres and it would have hit the post or gone just wide.
“It always happens to me. When I look for similar stories of other players there aren’t any. Things happen to me that I can’t explain,” Palermo told TyC Sports cable TV.
Diego Maradona is probably going to give Palermo, who scored twice with two orthodox headers in a friendly 2-0 win against a weak Ghana team last Wednesday, a start in Argentina’s critical World Cup qualifier against Peru at the Monumental on Saturday.
It is another remarkable moment in the career of a striker who won seven caps in 1999, one of which came in a match against Colombia in which he missed three penalties, and then did not put on an Argentina shirt for 10 years.
Last month, he made his international comeback as a substitute in Argentina’s 1-0 defeat by Paraguay that has left Maradona’s team teetering on the edge of World Cup oblivion. Argentina’s only real chance of that match fell to him in stoppage time but he was just short of getting to Rolando Schiavi’s header across the face of goal.
A younger Palermo would probably have reached it and turned it in for an equaliser. Maradona hopes he can score against the Peruvians and Palermo said his wonder header on Sunday has been a confidence booster.
“Mentally, it’s a great boost for what’s coming with the national team,” said Palermo, who, if he plays, will win his 10th cap.
“Obviously it’s not the same to arrive (at the match) in good form as getting there in (the middle of) a bad run,” added Palermo, whose Boca side had lost their previous four matches before Sunday’s 3-2 victory over league title holders Velez.
PHOTO: Argentina’s Martin Palermo celebrates after scoring against Ghana during their friendly in Cordoba September 30, 2009. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci