This is quite remarkable. Not the goal itself—which West Ham’s Adrián scored in a meaningless testimonial match—but the impulse behind it.

Advertisement

Look at how Adrián’s teammates facilitate his jaunt down the field by forming a football-style lead blocking line, shielding off any would-be tacklers. Look at how lax the opposition’s defending is, as they maintain some semblance of their shape to preserve at least the appearance of defense without ever actually trying to stop the run. Look at even the other keeper’s “save” attempt, as he sort of twirls to the ground, pretending Adrían’s weak shot actually was an unstoppable nutmegger and not a slow roller he could’ve easily scooped up.

This is the equivalent of the team manager on the high school football team suiting up for the last game of his senior season and getting a single snap at running back, to the delight of the regular players. It’s the equivalent of an NCAA Tournament one-seed giving the end of the bench guys a couple minutes at the end of a first-round blow-out, and the starters going wild on the sidelines when one of them hits a three. Everyone knows the gesture is ultimately meaningless, but the smiles and celebrations from the goal scorer and his teammates, as exaggerated as they may be, show that it still does mean something to them.