One of the great things about the UEFA Champions League is also one of the most frustrating. On one hand, you have eight games of top-class soccer happening on a single day, featuring some of the best players and clubs in the world. On the other hand, all those games are happening at the same time.
Because of this, it's easy to miss out on some of the serendipitous, call-and-response moments that can happen between the games' key moments. For example, Olimpiakos winger Vladimir Weiss scored what everyone thought was goal of the tournament here in his team's 4-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain:
To say the least, a seriously impressive display of touch and patience. And what a clever finish! I mean, that's a goal that one might expect to see out of someone like Cristiano Ronal……Oh.
That's the tally that sealed a hat trick for the Portuguese in Real Madrid's 6-1 domination of Galatasaray in Istanbul. If you didn't know better, you might think Ronaldo saw Weiss' little scamper through the PSG defense at halftime and decided to provide his own version.
Sort of like how Messi might have seen Ronaldo's hat trick on Tuesday, and then obliged with his own on Wednesday. The first two of Messi's goals were nice enough - a curling free kick and a trademark run and finish from the right flank. But the third was, in my opinion, simply ridiculous, and emblematic of the respect (fear?) players around the world have of the Argentine when he's on the ball anywhere near the goalmouth. Look at the two defenders and the goalkeeper when Messi fakes his first shot.
Other notable goals from Champions League Matchday 1:
Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne hits the upper 90 (and then some) with power off the free kick. Rafa Benitez's side scored a 2-1 victory over last year's finalists that also included this terrifying moment of Jürgen Klopp-dom (he was sent off).
Next, 21-year-old Egyptian starlet Mohammed Salah finishes off a ping-pong move from FC Basel to level the scores against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Basel would score again to hand the Blues their first home Champions League loss in 10 years. Here's SI's Jonathan Wilson on what that means for Mourinho.
Schalke's first goal against Steua Bucharest comes straight out of the "What the hell was that?" file. No individual highlight for this one, [not so] amazingly. Just trust me, the calamity is worth the wait.
Next, HULK SMASH:
And now let's turn to Yaya Toure and his obligatory insane strike from long distance in Manchester City's 3-0 win over Viktoria Plzen.
And finally, Robin Van Persie shows off that he is, indeed, part contortionist in Manchester United's 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen.