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Ricky Villa: Scorer Of Wembley's Greatest Goal

Whatever else he does Ricky Villa will always be remembered for scoring the greatest goal of the 20th century at Wembley. The Argentine seemed to have the ball glued to his feet as he slalomed past Manchester City defenders to slot home the winner in the 1981 FA Cup final replay. Less well remembered, but just as vital, is the cracker he scored in the semi-final against Wolves to get Spurs to Wembley.


A member of the 1978 World Cup-winning Argentina squad, Villa arrived in England with his compatriot Ossie Ardiles after that tournament and made an immediate impact, scoring against Nottingham Forest on his debut for the club. That was one of 18 goals the elegant midfielder scored in his five years at the club. His finest hour came in the 1981 FA Cup final but it could all have been so different for the Argentine.


In the first game at Wembley, Villa was substituted after a disappointing performance and trudged forlornly from the pitch along the long walk to the tunnel. The game ended 1-1 and few expected the bearded Argentine to start the replay the following Thursday. However, Spurs boss Keith Burkinshaw had other ideas and his decision to keep faith with Villa paid off big time.


With the two sides again cancelling each other out and the score at 2-2, Villa came up with a sublime moment of inspiration. Receiving the ball 30 yards from goal, he attacked the City defence head on, going past two on the left before cutting back onto his right foot and slotting the ball under Joe Corrigan in the City goal.


Villa's hero status among Spurs fans was confirmed the moment the ball hit the net and remains in place to this day. In 2008 he was inducted into the club's Hall of Fame and his occasional appearances at White Hart Lane are always met with warm applause from the still appreciative fans.
 

Tottenham Hotspur's Ricardo Villa skips past Manchester City's Gerry Gow and Tommy Caton in the FA Cup Final in 1981.

Date: 09/05/1981
Tottenham Hotspur's Ricardo Villa skips past Manchester City's Gerry Gow and Tommy Caton in the FA Cup Final in 1981.

Date: 09/05/1981
Ricky Villa takes on Graham Rix and John Hollins of Arsenal in the London derby.

Date: 01/09/1980
Ricardo Villa runs in jubilation after scoring at Wembley during the FA Cup Final replay to put Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 ahead against Manchester City in the early stages of the first half.
 
Date: 14/05/1981
Ricardo Villa of Tottenham Hotspur flicks the ball on, watched by Ray Ranson and Nicky Reid of Manchester City in the classic FA Cup Final.

Date: 14/05/1981
Tottenham Hotspur's Ricardo Villa skips past Manchester City's Gerry Gow and Tommy Caton in the FA Cup Final in 1981.

Date: 09/05/1981
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