Oscar’s first-start stunner
vs Juventus, Champions League, 2012
Oscar will always remember his first start in a Chelsea shirt.
The Samba youngster had just moved to Europe from Internacional when Roberto Di Matteo threw him in for the Blues’ opening Champions League group game against Juventus at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea were the European champions; Oscar a fresh-faced midfielder who had recently celebrated his 21st birthday.
‘’I was so, so happy when the manager let me know that I was in the starting line-up,” Oscar tells FFT. “It was nothing more than a dream coming true. A Champions League night at home, against one of the biggest sides in Europe – I couldn’t imagine things would become even better than that.’’
Juventus had gone 42 domestic games unbeaten, their XI including Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo and the defensive triumvirate of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci. Not that Oscar was too concerned about that. He fired the west Londoners in front with a deflected effort, then smashed in a stunner only two minutes later. Collecting a pass from Ashley Cole with his back to goal, the Brazilian fended off Bonucci before a Bergkamp-esque first touch directed the ball around one side of Pirlo while he ran around the other. Oscar then swivelled and swerved his shot beyond Buffon from 25 yards. “It’s not just one of the greatest goals of my career, but perhaps it’s also one of the most beautiful in Chelsea’s history,” he smiles, recalling the absolute belter that won him the Blues’ Goal of the Season award. “You don’t deceive Andrea Pirlo every day and then beat Gigi Buffon with a great shot, do you? “These guys are my idols and I was lucky to do both things perfectly. The dribble was smart and the curling shot was unstoppable, even for the best keeper in the world. It was a few seasons ago now but Chelsea supporters still come up to me and say ‘thank you’ for that goal. I’ll never forget it.”