Victor Camarasa came, somewhat, unheralded at the beginning of the season. A supposed lucky strike by Neil Warnock, who spotted the magician when scouting Bournemouth in a pre-season friendly against Real Betis, Camarasa has gone on to be one of Cardiff’s outstanding performers in our Premier League season.
There’s something about the way he plays that really gets you off your seat. He’s the very definition of marauding, adept at sprinting with the ball as he is making passes and bringing others into play. He scored Cardiff’s first Premier League goal of the season and has gone on from there to score crucial goals and make others in equal measure.
It’s testament to Warnock that he came to Cardiff; and it’ll be testament to Victor that, whatever happens at the end of this season, he’s going to have a plethora of potential suitors queuing up to sign him. If Cardiff stay up, I’d be inclined to say that the club should break the bank to get him. Not to be unfair to the rest of Cardiff’s starting XI, but Camarasa seems to play on a different level to the rest. I remember watching him in those early performances and thinking he rarely gave the ball away. He’d find himself backed into a corner and somehow evade the tackle or get the ball away from the defender.
And from his first Premier League goal, Victor has treated us to a deft beauty in that Mizuno clad, right foot…
When Arsenal came to town on a late summer’s day back in September, not many gave us a hope of breaking our Premier League duct. We’d laboured and failed to score in our three previous games. But what we didn’t bank on was Victor’s right boot. As the game meandered toward half time, Joe Bennett whipped a ball across. People may say that Victor got lucky but he engineered a Cruyff-esque turn in mid-air, nicking the ball away from his compatriot, Monreal. With two defenders and an advancing Cech, Camarasa lifted the ball high above the defenders into the top of the net. It summed him up in one poetic movement; the deftness and foresight to spin away from Monreal, the brute force to lift it above three Arsenal players into the net.
Now let us consider his goal at Leicester. Consider the moment. Consider the time. 90 minutes. The jig is up, babay. The game is almost done. Bobby Reid, with a deft touch of his own, lays it back to Victor. A lesser player would have snatched at it. It was set up nice enough, running at a decent pace. But Camarasa saw it differently. Two defenders didn’t make it out quick enough and with a second to play with, he simply took a touch. Rolling the ball away from his body, he glanced up and saw the gap. And as the moment seemed to slow completely, he let fly. That deft touch made the difference. He opened himself up, his foot open faced like a golf club, and whipped it past Kasper. He could have scored if he’d hit it first time – but that touch allowed him the confidence to lift high and dip it over the Leicester keeper. It was simply a world class moment.
And then came a moment against Southampton. In what was our most crucial game of the season so far, Camarasa had only been on the pitch for 600 seconds when he came up with an oasis of calm in the maddest of circumstances. It was all but gone, Southampton’s late equaliser a punch to the gut. But Cardiff had one last attack. The ball bounced around, Ralls intercepted and played in Camarasa. A touch out his feet, a pass wide. The ball then bounces around again until Arter’s wild swing sees the ball land at Victor’s feet. With his back to goal, he took it on his chest, knocked it out his feet and then, and I honestly can’t envisage being this calm in that moment, he rolled it with the perfect weight to big Ken Zohore. Who calmly dispatched it. Victor has a way with his studs that us mortals cannot conceive. To roll it as calmly away from himself to Zohore, all the while keeping defenders out of Ken’s lane, was a breath of fresh air in a polluted penalty box.
And so, to Saturday. Another crucial game. West Ham are in town and it feels as if the season is done if we don’t win. And lo and behold, Victor stepped up. It hasn’t been easy for him recently, with rumblings of discontent from Neil Warnock. But Victor was back. The opening goal was the archetypal moment in Victor’s season. Run? Marauding. Deft touch? Impetuous. Pass? Perfectly weighted. At pace, he rolled his foot over the ball, taking the ball into his body and opening the passing lane. In the moment, you could almost miss it. But I’ve watched it back 100 times on the highlights. To speed of thought to brush the ball with his studs created the space to pass it through, with the perfect weight, to Josh Murphy. From Murphy, it was two touches to 1-0.
And Victor scored the winner, too. And while that was less deft, it showed his desire to put himself on the line to score. He may only be on loan, but he’s taken to the Cardiff cause like he was born in the Ninian Pub. He’s the player we all want to be. Graceful, committed, and oozes class. He’s got a swagger and rightly so. He wouldn’t look out place in many Premier League teams, striding with purpose everytime he gets the ball. Come what May, this is Victor’s world and we are all just living in it.