Mancini (Roma v Lyon, 2007)

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“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 at home in the second leg]. Cristiano Ronaldo was there and he has the 
skill, but it’s not the same as when a Brazilian does it.”

Mancini, now playing in 
his homeland for Bahia, 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...”

Interview: Marcus Alves. Illustration: German Aczel. From the October 2012 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!