“I don’t do tap ins,” Adlene Guedioura laughs as talkSPORT sits down with him for an exclusive chat.
The former Nottingham Forest, Wolves and Crystal Palace midfielder is, of course, chairman of the rocket factory, according to his posts on social media, earning the moniker for penchant for long-range blockbusters throughout his career.
None, though, are more iconic than his stunning goal for Watford against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in 2016, which secured the Hornets a place in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Having received the ball from Troy Deeney at a tight angle on the edge of the area, Guedioura rocketed a first-time effort into the top corner queuing wild celebrations both on and off the pitch. As such, it is a moment the Algeria international will cherish for the rest of his life.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, Guedioura says: “The one at Watford against Arsenal was something special.
“The day before the game, we used to play UNO at the hotel with the players and we used to speak about what we should do if we win or score there. ‘We should do a celebration,’ I said and the players said: ‘No it’s going to be hard to score there.’
“When we arrived at the stadium, the Emirates is obviously a perfect pitch and perfect stadium and that day it was a perfect day. We were talking between each other and we said: ‘Look, we have nothing to lose. It’s a perfect day, perfect pitch. Lets enjoy it on the pitch.’
“Troy Deeney gave me a no-look pass and I didn’t hesitate too much and I just shot and it went straight into the top corner. After we had this beautiful celebration which we were talking about the day before. It was a perfect day, fantastic memories and the crowd behind the goal was special as well. This memory will stay will me for life.”
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As well as his special goals, Guedioura has also played with some special players during his career, none more so than Algeria teammate Riyad Mahrez.
Mahrez enjoyed the best season of his Man City career last year netting 24 goals in 47 games, helping Pep Guardiola’s side retain the Premier League title.
His form also earned him second place in Man City’s Player of the Season awards and Guardiola was clearly impressed, so much so that he decided to offload Raheem Sterling to Chelsea in this summer’s transfer window.
Mahrez is also inspirational at international level for Algeria and Guedioura is honoured to play alongside the 31-year-old.
“He’s one of the best, definitely,” Guedioura says.
“Last season he had a great season. People didn’t speak about him like he should have been because of course, you had Salah, De Bruyne and Mane, but he was the top scorer for Man City.
“I think he has a quality that not many have. For him, when he plays a semi-final for Man City, playing a five-a-side is the same for him. When he gets the ball, he doesn’t have this stress or anxiousness when you play big games.
“He has quality with his left foot. He always knows where to put the ball or how to escape from the defender. It’s so hard when you defend against him. You think you have to close his left foot, but he can shoot with his right foot, so it’s not easy to manage a player like that.
“He loves Pep. He speaks highly about him. He really thinks he’s one of the best managers he’s had. He speaks about his passion and says he’s a very passionate manager. He’s really focused about all the details. It’s a perfect match between them. He’s improved a lot under him.”
Nottingham Forest is a club which will always remain close to Guedioura’s heart after enjoying two stints at the City Ground, but it wasn’t quite a fairy-tale return to the Premier League for Steve Cooper’s side at the weekend as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat away to Newcastle.
It has been a summer of change for Forest with 12 new signings and their transfer business is bankrolled by owner Evangelos Marinakas who Guedioura came into contact with during his second spell at the club in 2018.
“He has this winning mentality,” Guedioura revealed.
“Wherever he goes, he wants to win. We used to not see him a lot [in terms of] having meetings, but he used to come to watch the games.
“He’s a very impressive guy. He knows what he wants and he always succeeds. I think his aim when he came to Forest was to go to the Premier League.
“He will have even more ambition coming to the Premier League. He is someone who knows Champions League with Olympiacos. I’m sure in the side of his head he will be thinking: ‘Ok, first year, we need to stay up. Second year maybe a little bit more and the next year, I would like to achieve Europe at some point.”
The future, however, for Guedioura currently looks uncertain. He is without a club after leaving League One side Burton Albion earlier this year but is keen to carry on playing and open to offers.
While waiting for a new club, Guedioura is working on his new venture Sheikh FC – a creative sports agency – and will be out in Qatar for the World Cup where he’ll be filming content with players as well as fans.
“I still think I can play in England definitely,” he finished.
“I would still like to play here. It’s when the opportunity comes and if everyone is happy with it. I think I can bring something to a team in terms of my experience and support. It’s important to understand that I will be here for that and give more than 100%.
“Yes, there are talks and we will see what’s going to happen.”
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