When the words ‘genius’, ‘work of art’ and ‘Arsenal’ are in the same sentence these days, they tend to be associated with Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil at the Emirates.
However, few Arsenal fans will forget one of the best goals scored in the Premier League from a certain Dennis Bergkamp against Newcastle back in 2002.
Helping Arsene Wenger to yet another league title, the Dutch magician flicks a Robert Pirès through ball around Greek centre-back Nikolaos Dabizas, turns him the other way before calmly slotting past Shay Given to make it 1-0 in the 11th minute.
So FOOT in France tracked down the now 43-year-old centre-back, currently in Cyprus, working as Omonia Nicosia’s director of football since April.
Unsurprisingly, the French magazine, known for their light-hearted approach, couldn’t help but ask Dabizas about the taxi Arsenal’s Bergkamp ordered for him on the 3rd of March 2002.
He said: “A lot of people have spoken to me about that game since. They think I’m embarrassed, annoyed… Not at all! I’m going to tell you: I’m very proud. I was part of a work of art because that move is one, a real work of art. It was done by a genius.
“Dennis Bergkamp was a genius, and I was unfortunately in that position. We lost the game because of that touch, but at the same time, I fee lucky to have taken part in it, maybe negatively, but I will always be a part of that work of art.
“It’s something you have to hold your hands up to and say: ‘Wow, that’s incredible’. I’ll go down in history for that. It’s one of the best goals in the world of football, and you just have to admire it. No shame. It’s part of life, it’s part of football.”
Two years after that game, Dabizas moved on a free to Leicester, where he stayed for a season before returning to Greece with AE Larisa, where he stayed until his retirement in 2011.
Maybe now we can all understand why he didn’t decide to just call it a day after that game. In times to come, defenders may tell their tales of the day Arsenal’s Ozil or Sanchez made a fool of them.