Mancini recalls his 2007 stepover-laden stunner for Roma against Lyon in the Champions League...
“Ah, the stepovers,” former Roma winger Mancini smiles. “We call them pedaladas in Brazil. They’ve always been my trademark.” So he showed with a stepover frenzy vs Lyon – and specifically Anthony Reveillere – in the 2006/07 Champions League last 16.
How many stepovers did he pull off before knocking the ball past the French full-back and lashing it into the top corner to give Roma a 2-0 lead? Mancini guesses: “Five?” He doesn’t really know. Neither does Reveillere. “I never got a chance to ask him,” Mancini chuckles.
“It was a mix of technique, strength and acceleration – a little bit of everything,” says the Brazilian. “It was a great cross-field ball from Francesco Totti: we may not have been best friends, but we understood each other on the pitch. He put me one-on-one with Reveillere, and I had to go for it.
“We love that sort of thing back home. It comes naturally from our childhood. It’s in our blood: we’re always looking for the pedaladas. Non-Brazilian players try it, but it’s different. When we got past Lyon, we clashed with Manchester United in the quarter-finals [and lost 7-1 in the second leg]. Cristiano Ronaldo was there and he has the skill, but it’s not the same as a Brazilian when he does it.”
Mancini, who also turned out for Milan and Inter, continues: “That was one of the most beautiful goals I’ve ever scored – but not the best. In my first season at Roma, I scored a backheel against Lazio that earned me the name Il Tacco di Dio [the heel of God].
“The funny thing with this goal, though, is that I got an offer from Lyon after leaving Roma...”
This interview originally featured in the October 2012 edition of FourFourTwo magazine. Subscribe!