Nolberto Solano (Peru v Spain, 2004)

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A determined attitude and cultured right foot helped ‘Nobby’ Solano to become 
a cult hero in Newcastle, 
but he is also one of Peru’s 
all-time biggest celebrities. And why not, when he scored goals as good as this one?

Just 20 minutes into Peru’s glamour tie against Spain, ranked 71 places ahead of 
the humble South Americans, Joseba Etxeberria’s loose pass was intercepted. It took just 
14 seconds and nine touches between six players for Peru 
to take the ball from their defensive third into the Spanish net, silencing most of a 24,000-strong crowd and sending a vocal handful of scattered Peruvians into raptures. And who was there to stroke the ball home? Solano, scorer of 20 goals 
in 95 games for Peru.

“We launched 
a counter-attack,” 
the trumpet-playing wide-man recalls. “My friend Andres [Mendoza] crossed the ball. I chested it down, let it bounce and then, from 
25 yards, set my sights on goal and hit the ball with 
the outside of my right foot. It flew past 
Iker Casillas.”

Although the game finished 2-1 to the Spanish superstars, who would be dumped out of the Euro 2004 group stages a few months after this warm-up match, Solano remembers the game, and his goal, with fondness.

“It was so special because we don’t often get to play countries like Spain and the very best players in the world.

“That has to be the very 
best goal I ever scored.”

Words: Rob Stewart and Robert Summerscales. Illustration: German Aczel. From the June issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!