Today was already a day worth celebrating for Faouzi Ghoulam, as he was making his 100th appearance in Serie A for Napoli. Over the last two and a half years he’s grown into an incredible player, and he proved just how incredible he can be, scoring against Hellas Verona to give his team a 3-0 lead in their season-opening match.
It’s a goal that really shows off the kind of player Ghoulam is — always monitoring the situation around him, then utilizing a quick burst of pace to get to where he needs to be and doing what his team needs him to do. The sequence started with a lovely bit of play from Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens — who had only just come on as a substitute — but when Nicolas stonewalled them, the ball came out Ghoulam’s way. He charged it and made no mistake in chipping over the scrambling goalkeeper, and wheeled away in much-deserved celebration.
Remarkably, this was only the second goal Ghoulam has scored for any club, and his first from open play. His first goal came from the penalty spot, scored for AS Saint-Etienne against Marseille just a few short months before signing with Napoli. Of course, scoring goals isn’t why he’s with Napoli — but it’s still nice to see Ghoulam get to celebrate for something he did for once instead of just gleefully jumping in with his teammates as usual.