Henrikh Mkhitaryan has claimed that his scorpion kick against Sunderland stands as the finest goal he has ever scored in his professional career.
The Armenian, with his side 1-0 up, came on after 62 minutes and dazzled Manchester United fans with a dazzling cameo.
His crowning moment came in the form of a sensational, almost hard-to-fully-comprehend scorpion kick after 86 minutes, putting the result beyond doubt.
Mkhitaryan, speaking after the game, admitted that it was the best goal he has ever scored.
“That was the best goal I’ve ever scored,” he said.
“I was very excited. The first thing I did was look at the assistant and I saw it was not ruled as offside so I just started to celebrate.
“I was expecting the ball to be in front of me and then I realised I was in front of it. As the ball was behind me, the only thing I could do was a backheel so I did that and I succeeded.
“I don’t have anything of concern from a past injury so I’m happy to be back and I’m happy to be back to help the team. I will try to do my best for the next game. It’s very important that we’re in good shape and to keep going like this.”
Old Trafford reacted differently to Mkhitaryan’s goal. As the ball flew gracefully into the net, the reaction was not one of celebration, but one of sheer shock and awe – an involuntary spasm of euphoria and disbelief, pervading the Theatre of Dreams as Mkhitaryan, graceful and diminutive, wheeled away to absorb the jubilation.
Be honest: how many times have you watched that goal back? 2o times? 40? 100 times? I can imagine numerous United fans, back to work after Christmas, with that goal on loop in the office, trying to make it seem as if they’re doing something productive. You’re doing that right now, aren’t you?
This is what Mkhitaryan can provide: moments of unqualified technical brilliance, encompassing both improvisation and instinct. Only a handful of players could pull that off, and one of them thrives at the heart of Man United’s attacking set-up.