Ricardo Quaresma and The Trivela: A Brief History

Today marks the anniversary of Ricardo Quaresma’s first goal for Portugal, a now-famous trivela against Belgium in 2007. I  found myself at home watching this goal that happened some 12 years ago, over and over again, still in the same state of shock and awe that I was when I first witnessed it. It gave me an idea, to dive into the past and analyse the beautiful relationship between Ricardo and the trivela, a trick which he has now became synonymous with.

Tri-vel-a (Origin: Portuguese) – The act of striking a football with the outside of the boot, creating swerve and curl.

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For a footballer, there is a lot of pressure, particularly in the modern game, to raise the level of quality of their weaker foot. It is, in most cases, simply not enough to have one very good foot and one weak foot, players combat this by working tirelessly with their weak foot in an attempt to naturalise the foots movements when carrying, passing or striking with the weak foot. However, Ricardo Quaresma isn’t your average footballer and instead of working on his weaker left foot, he opted to work on the trivela to the point where now it looks completely natural for him to use this when passing or shooting.

His first recorded trivela in professional football, came at his time with FC Porto in a match against SC Beira-Mar in the Primeira Liga. It’s Sunday the 24th April 2005, the match is in the 89th minute, locked at 0-0, the ball finds its way to Quaresma on the right-hand side, where he comes onto it first time but instead of wrapping his right foot around it to cross or cutting it on his left foot to shoot, he strikes the ball first time with the outside of his right foot, past a sprawling keeper and into the bottom corner.

He had to wait a bit longer for his first international goal and first international trivela. He made his international debut on the 10th of June 2003 but had to wait until the 24th of March 2007, 4 years after his debut for his first goal. He had attempted a trivela earlier on in the game, a poor attempt which went straight into the keepers arms, however Ricardo was not discouraged. In the 67th minute, in a similar position to his goal against Beira-Mar, Ronaldo drops the ball off to Quaresma who then uses his compatriots ‘ronaldo-chop’ to bamboozle the defender with his first touch and come inside on what should be his left foot, Quaresma however opts to use the trivela, striking the ball perfectly with the outside of his boot into the top corner, the keeper scrambles forward then to the side, all the while completely perplexed about what has just happened.

One of his finest efforts came in his first World Cup in 2018, in the twilight of his career aged 34 he proved he still had magic his boots, or rather, magic on the outside of his right boot. With the game against Iran locked at 0-0 in the 45th minute, after a lovely 1-2 exchange Quaresma took a few touches before smashing home his famous right boot trivela which looped high over the keeper and ended up in the top corner. In his first, and probably last World Cup, Quaresma, with the whole world watching, left his mark in the way only he could.

Since the inception of his career, he has used the trivela consistently either for shots, crosses or cross-field passes and is now a move that is intrinsically linked with him. The trivela epitomises the guile and wizardry he possesses and is as unorthodox as he is.

His latest career move took him to Turkey where he has shown no signs of retiring the trivela, scoring numerous times for his side with his trademark skill. Not all footballers can pull off this insane skill the way Ricardo can, as Besiktas players found out during one training session! In the video below, Quaresma challenged his team mates to see if they could pull it off, then finally Harry Potter decided to show them how it is done!

While his career may be winding down, I hope he continues to mesmerise audiences and defenders alike until the day he hangs up those magic boots.

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