Goals have never been a big part of Ivorian left-back Adama Traoré’s repertoire. Since scoring the second goal in a 3-0 win in the Swiss Cup Final for FC Basel back in 2017, Traoré had played 99 games across three clubs without finding the back of the net.
Not that you would have been able to tell on Wednesday night at Accor Stadium. Coming off the bench after 30 minutes to replace the injured Jason Davidson, Traoré created one of the best moments of the night when he finished off a brilliant counter-attacking move with a first-time finish into the top left corner that any top striker would have been proud of. The goal put his side in the lead, though they were eventually overhauled and were defeated 3-2.
Any player with a goal drought of that length would have been happy to end it anywhere, yet to do it in front of 70,000 fans and one of the greatest teams in the world is extra special. Traoré spoke about the moment at the Dolan Warren awards.
“It’s always good to score, but against Barcelona it is a different thing you know,” he told Kick360.
“In this kind of game it happens sometimes once in a lifetime. I’m very happy to score and I think it was a good night for the A-League fans.”
It was a night where despite the defeat, the Ivorian was the centre of attention, as the match brought a unique situation where he was directly competing with his namesake, the Spanish international who also found himself on the scoresheet.
Traoré appearance in the squad of the league’s top players capped off a successful individual season, where he was voted the Western Sydney Wanderers Members Player of the Year and the Rod Allen Media award for Media Player of the Year at the club’s end of year awards night.
The left-back stood out with a stream of consistent performances, however this was not reflective of the performance of the club, who finished outside the final’s places once again after grand expectations.
And Traoré says that whilst he appreciates the recognition, the team performance is what matters to him.
“With me, the individual award doesn’t really matter for me, I prefer to win with the team but sometimes you just have to take it like this and move forward. I think that we just have to start winning together; individual awards are good but for me it doesn’t matter to be honest.”
Having been signed under previous manager Carl Robinson, Traoré and the team are now facing their first full season under Mark Rudan, who has signed a two-year deal after initially arriving as interim boss.
And though as a 32 year-old he is one of the experienced heads in the dressing room, he still aims to learn as much as he can under the current manager.
“We have our new coach and with him we can always learn. I’m open to learn new things, I think in football, there is no age to learn, so I’m always learning still.”