Manchester City star Phil Foden has been named as the “world’s most unique footballer” for one major reason following his incredible cameo in helping the Blues record a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Pep Guardiola’s side were finding it hard to break down a stubborn Atletico side, whose sole aim at the Etihad was to hold out for a draw. Setting up, effectively, in a 5-5-0 formation, Diego Simeone’s side clearly marked their intentions early on in the game. And the plan appeared to be working out until Foden’s introduction.
Manchester City dominated the ball enjoying 70 per cent possession and, understandably, were the only side looking to win. Indeed, Atletico’s approach was clear; hold City to a 0-0 draw before looking to press home a narrow advantage in the second leg next week.
But a mere 68 seconds after his introduction from the bench, a brilliant piece of magic from Foden played Kevin De Bruyne in for the winner.
His brilliant footwork saw him play through the Belgian, who showed fine composure to beat Jan Oblak.
And Foden continued to torment the Atletico defence as City went in search of a second. And while it never came, they can at least take a lead to Spain next week.
That 1-0 win will be precious to them going into the second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano. And while Atletico will likely stay patient again in the return, the scoreline at least means they will have to bear their teeth at some point.
That alone should ensure a better match in the second leg.
For Guardiola, he was left to reflect on the tactical change that helped secure the 1-0 win.
Assessing the win for BT Sport, pundit Owen Hargreaves claims Foden’s masterclass shows why he should be considered as the most unique footballer in the world.
Marvelling at his brilliance, he claims Foden is capable of playing in several different positions.
“He’s able to do this as a false nine, as a right winger, as a No.10, as a deeper midfielder, he can play off the left,” Hargreaves beamed. “It’s hard enough to play at this level, he can play at a world-class level in four or five different positions.
“The thing is with…