Welcome to World Class: Alisson Becker

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In a world where we have access to millions of videos and infinite images at our fingertips, it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate true world-class gamers from 15-second wonders.

Sure, there are many, many players capable of putting in their best performance at any time, but sustained brilliance and possessing all the traits to be truly world-class is quite another.

A brief MAX COOPER SKILLS – THE NEXT LIONEL MESSI? Searching on YouTube may mislead you into believing that this writer is, in fact, the second coming of Barcelona’s best player, when in fact he may have accidentally placed a deep cross past a particularly low goalie on a windy day.

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The point is, no matter how high or low the level is, we can still be fooled by flashes of brilliance.

So we can all be forgiven for not batting an eye when the unknown Alisson Becker replaced Wojciech Szczęsny as AS Roma’s number one goalkeeper for the 2017/18 campaign. While it was a huge club in terms of size and fan base, I Giallorossi was really miles from the level required to win the scudettoNor was much expected of Eusebio Di Francesco’s men in the Champions League.

Thus, for the rest of Europe, the emergence of an inexperienced rookie in his second season on a middle team would have understandably escaped the radar. However, regular Serie A viewers were soon on their feet and paying attention.

Often dressed from head to toe in a mysterious black goalie stripe, the Brazilian shooting cap resembled Spider-Man in dark clothes. Symbiote Costume that you can unlock on PlayStation.

His arachnid sense was tingling with danger
His arachnid sense was tingling with danger | Paolo Bruno / Getty Images

And his reflections were just as chilling. What immediately stood out about the developing goalkeeper was the skill with which he covered the basics of his role. His positioning, aerial command, awareness of his surroundings and confidence between the sticks gave his bottom line a calming boost. Not nervous with a new man behind them, Alisson knew what he was doing.

So if ‘basics’ were just second nature, what makes saves more difficult? Well they became its the essential. Alisson came out of line so fast that a one-on-one passed the striker in the blink of an eye, as he launched himself into the line of fire before his opponent could even make a noticeable effort.

Shots fired with poison and deflected in their direction were swallowed, quelled and held. Non-stop. And if there was an extraordinary missile that needed to get away, he made sure the ball never bounced and was put in danger.

Calm, calm and calm again. In terms of out and out shooting stops, he has rarely been better than Alisson.

But while these are all wonderful achievements for a promising goalkeeper, this skill set is likely to not catch the eye of Europe’s watchful eyes. You need to do a performance that is truly world class. And so I Giallorossi headed to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk in the knockout stages of the Champions League in mid-February 2018, having topped a group that included both Chelsea and Atlético Madrid.

For Roma, it was the kind of game they’ve been known to choke on in the past. High expectations, low results. So a good performance and a good result were needed for the fans to believe in this European dream.

Luckily, the Italian giants had a giant of their own between the sticks that day. The final score read as a 2-1 victory for the visitors, but it could have been much, much worse. Roma dominated the early stages, taking advantage of many opportunities until they finally drew blood at the edge of the break.

But here came the wobble. Hello darkness my old friend. I Giallorossi lost full control of the game, leaned back and allowed an attack on his rookie goalkeeper. It didn’t take long for the hosts to find their breakthrough either.

Flying saves | SERGEI SUPINSKY / Getty Images

Alisson was completely exposed by his defense, and Facundo Ferreyra did the rest with all the goal to aim. 1-1. But then it came its moment. At least one of them.

As Shakhtar pushed and Roma collapsed, Alisson stood tall, even as those around him lost their minds. It showed the character and unwavering mindset that this gypsy team had lacked for a couple of decades.

A ball was cut through the penalty area, and the defense could simply watch as it fell on Marlos, lurking just in front of the penalty spot. Great danger.

The striker took aim and shot hard and high, looking to beat a sprawling Alisson, who was returning to the center from his front post. The shot was fired with such ferocity that most goalkeepers could only have seen it whistle past them.

But this was the day we learned about the Brazilian’s strong steel wrists. He tossed a right paw into the air and found the meteorite head-on. His hand was unfazed, as it somehow repelled the ball to safety, and Roma escaped.

Unbelievably, that wasn’t his best save of the season, it wasn’t even the best save he made in that season. match.

Shakhtar captain Taison seized his chances from a distance against the Brazilian international and sent a shot that deflected into Alisson’s upper left corner. Now this, it was curtains.

Once again, he said no.

Alisson flew to his left, extended the longest left arm in soccer and threw the ball around the post with a firm glove. What makes the save so exceptional is how easy it made it seem. Most goalkeepers wouldn’t have put a fingertip to that blow, yet he managed to catch it with his palm and generate enough power to deflect it out of harm’s way.

At this point, Shakhtar knew it would take something incredible to conquer this mountain man. Unfortunately for Roma, they conjured the impossible and defeated Alisson with a free kick so violent that he sank and flew to the crossbar.

A 2-1 loss for I Giallorossi, but they knew it could have been a ‘draw’. It was also clear that their goalkeeper was simply too good for this team, and while Roma fans wished him to stay, stifling his brilliance would have been cruel.

As it happened, that first-leg loss was the launching pad for one of the biggest Champions League races in history, as Di Francesco’s men made up the deficit, before producing the most notable comeback against Barcelona, And almost repeat his heroics against Liverpool in the semifinals.

Alisson celebrates Roma's spectacular comeback against Barcelona
Alisson celebrates Roma’s spectacular comeback against Barcelona | Chris Brunskill Ltd / Getty Images

In the end, the Reds almost limped over the line to reach the final, but a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid, combined with a kind of disaster from Loris Karius, inspired Jurgen Klopp to spend € 70 million on the missing piece of the puzzle. .

A Champions League trophy and a long-awaited Premier League title later, the German’s decision has been easily vindicated and Alisson’s genius has been fairly rewarded. As for Roma, they have endured two miserable years trying to find a successor to the 28-year-old.

But in the end, it is an almost impossible task to replace world class, a category that Alisson easily falls into.

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