Ranking the Craftiest Off-Ball Moves From Champions League Matchday 4
Vinícius, Dybala, Kimmich, and more make the cut.
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8) Vinícius Jr.’s Lightning Exploitation
We start off with something simple but deadly from my biological son and the new darling of the Bernabéu, Vinícius Jr., who has stunned the world with his dramatic turnaround from nervous wreck to cold-blooded finisher. Naturally, all of the focus has been on his goals and his dazzling footwork — the latter of which was on show vs. Shakhtar Donetsk in the earlier fixture — as a result.
But Vini also adds a ton of value with his movement in behind and it’s a skill that he’s had since day one. You can see how instinctive this run is for him, which is what allows a simple straight-line dash to make this list. In the space of a millisecond, he realizes that the space in behind is far more dangerous than whatever he can do receiving back to goal and blitzes away, creating half a chance for himself.
Benzema’s instant reactions to play the pass before Vinícius is offside are almost as impressive.
7) Alberto Moreno’s Wheeling Run
Like Vini, Alberto Moreno is initially stationed in a position to receive to feet. Unlike Vini, he does, touching the ball to Capoue and getting momentarily disconnected from the play. What follows isn’t savant-like, although there are plenty of players who would probably just stand there (*cough* Martial *cough*) or look to attack the box.
On the contrary, Moreno observes a gap materializing in the channel as the fullback gets dragged wide and hits it almost instantly, wheeling around into open sea for a free cross.
6) İlkay Gündoğan Flowing From One Mindset to Another
Here’s something similar except taken to another level in terms of speed. Gündogan offers City a route back inside before controlling a rather poor pass from Rodri. Ironically, that springs everything that is to come, as the loose touch prompted by the delivery serves as a trigger for Club Brugge to press. Gündogan does the right thing and plays it back, roaming forward to connect with Foden.