Oscar: Why Chelsea Youngster Has Been the Star of the Champions League
Make no mistake, we were all warned of his talent well before he made the move to West London from Brazil.
We were given glimpses of the dashing youngster's ability and potential in the Olympic football tournament as he looked perfectly at home alongside such luminary figures as Neymar and Hulk.
But his elevation to genuine superstar has been as swift as it has been momentous.
The beauty and guile of his spin-and-finish against Juventus in September brought praise from all corners of the globe. Gianluigi Buffon, the man beaten by the shot, even remarked on the sumptuous drama of the moment in the wake of the 2-2 draw.
"I will not say it's nice to concede a goal but it's nice to be part of a great goal like that, compliments to him" (via The Mirror).
John Obi Mikel, Chelsea's statuesque rock at the heart of midfield was slightly less impressed though, boasting that he and his Chelsea teammates had been treated to a similar display before.
“In training we have seen him smash it into the top corner like that, and we knew it was only a matter of time before he produced it on the pitch."
His 35-yard cracker against Shakhtar Donetsk Wednesday in the Blues' 3-2 victory instantly brought flashbacks of Dejan Stankovic's howitzer against Schalke in the quarterfinals of the tournament in 2011.
With the score deadlocked at 1-1 and the game beginning to ebb the way of the Ukrainian side, an error by hapless keeper Andriy Pyatov gave Oscar the opportunity to increase his standing as a Blues hero.
Despite Pyatov having left his goal wide open in the wake of his ill-advised charge forward, Oscar still had plenty to do to find the target.
It wasn't just the fact that he'd scored from such a distance that had the Stamford Bridge faithful on their feet, but the pure technique and style of the volley under pressure that was so impressive.
But for all the talk of his goal, his passing and movement in the game was also superb, complementing the more direct Juan Mata and Eden Hazard perfectly.
There is now light at the end of the tunnel for Chelsea fans in the tournament that produces the highest quality of football in the world.
With the competition as fierce and dramatic as it has been, Blues fans wouldn't want to imagine a world where their team isn't involved.
When the casual, neutral football fan (if there is such a thing) reminisces on what has undoubtedly been a thrilling Champions League group stage, there will be specific team performances and individual moments of genius that come to mind.
Isco against Zenit, Bayern against Lille, Fraser Forster against Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund against... well, everyone.
Oscar against Juventus and Shakhtar—who could ever forget his star-making turns?
What have you made of Oscar's performances in Europe this season? Has he already become a star in West London?
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