Friday 23 August 2019, 05:58

Quintero's unstoppable curler

  • The Colombian conjured up an unforgettable free-kick that quickly went viral

  • Distance, pace and precision judged to perfection

  • Goal voted into top three

Exquisite shooting is one of the hallmarks of Juan Fernando Quintero’s game. The Colombian has demonstrated what his prodigious left foot is capable of on some of biggest stages of all, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ and FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013. In fact his delightful free-kick against Japan in Russia was among those shortlisted for Goal of the Tournament.

Now he is hoping to claim the 2019 FIFA Puskás Award thanks to a free-kick which few would even attempt, let alone convert. The goal occurred on 10 February this year while Quintero was on league duty with Argentina’s River Plate. Unsurprisingly, the video quickly went viral as fans the world over viewed and shared it in their droves.

The context

February’s fixture saw River Plate welcome league leaders Racing Club de Avellaneda to the Estadio Monumental. After last December’s triumph in the 2018 Copa Libertadores and subsequent participation at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018, the new year started poorly for Los Millonarios with three consecutive home defeats.

The outlook improved somewhat thanks to back-to-back away wins, but the arrival of pacesetters Racing, beaten just once in their previous 17 league games, would be a real indicator of the state of Marcelo Gallardo's side.

Anatomy of a goal

  • Match time elapsed: 30:24

  • Score at the time: 0-0

  • Distance travelled by the ball: 32.6 meters

  • Speed: 91.8 km/h

  • Opposition goalkeeper: Gabriel Arias, currently first choice with Chilean national team

  • Final result: River 2-0 Racing Club

An Internet sensation

  • With nearly 918,000 views, the video of the free-kick is the year’s most viewed item on River Plate's official Instagram account.

  • The network that broadcast the match, TNT Sports, also uploaded the goal clip to its official accounts. Including views on Twitter and YouTube, the strike has been watched some 3.6 million times.

  • On Monday 11 February, the day after the match, both Quintero and his nickname Juanfer were trending on Twitter Colombia, where, according to Trendinalia data, they remained for just over 14 hours. On Twitter Argentina, they trended for over eight hours, while globally they surpassed two hours.

  • The clip going viral prompted James Rodriguez, Quintero's international team-mate, to jokingly ask his friend in his after-match post: "Did you score a goal or something?🤣🤣🤣😂😂🔥🔥"

What they said…

"I thought it was a tremendous goal, given where he hit it from. The strike, the execution, it was just fabulous. It was very difficult from where he was. I'm delighted for him." Marcelo Gallardo, River Plate coach and something of a free-kick specialist himself during his playing days.