SB Nation Soccer’s Graham MacAree profiles Oscar, Chelsea’s Brazilian magician…
There’s something of the child in Oscar. For most footballers, the spectre of failure compels them to take the safe route as often as possible, honing specific skills and executing them when the time is right. But children are notorious for their incredible blend of naivete and curiosity. Can I do this? Let’s find out! It’s a special kind of fearlessness, and it’s what makes Oscar so special.
There’s nobody else in this Chelsea team who can match what Oscar does. Juan Mata and Eden Hazard are magicians, of course, but there’s the feeling that they refuse to experiment on the same scale as Oscar does, favouring ruthless efficiency over flamboyance.
Which is why most of the most incredible, what-just-happened?! moments of last season came via Oscar. When Mata bends a free kick past the wall and just inside the post, there’s no feeling of surprise. Juan Mata’s is brilliant and will do brilliant things. Nor is it a shock when Hazard dashes through a cloud of befuddled defenders and slots past the keeper. That’s what Eden Hazards do.
Oscar’s trademark, on the other hand, is having the temerity to try the barely-plausible, to test the very limits of his skill at the drop of a hat. It seems as though the idea that what he’s about to attempt might not work never crosses his mind. Oscar’s moments of magic, in fact, are reminiscent of a certain Stamford Bridge legend. Continue reading