Regardless of where you are from, what language you speak or what team you support, as a kid the dream is always the same. You are running towards the delirious fans after scoring the third goal in a game-winning hat-trick against your bitter rivals.
On Sunday evening, for Olympique Lyonnais striker Alexandre Lacazette, that dream became reality.
Week 13 of the Ligue 1 season gave us the always entertaining derby between Lyon and Saint-Etienne, but the ante was upped slightly as it would also be the last meeting between the two teams at the Stade Gerland.
Lyon will move to the brand new Stade de Lumieres next year, which provided an extra touch of spice to proceedings.
Recent results at home had not gone Lyon’s way, with Les Verts taking five points from the Gerland in the last three fixtures. It was hard to call which way Sunday’s game would go, with both sides showing both good and inconsistent form.
Saint-Etienne came off the back of a wonder 3-0 Europa League win against Dnipro, whereas Lyon were licking their wounds from the 2-0 defeat at home to Zenit. In the league Les Gones had improved, winning three in a row, starting the game level on points with their neighbours.
All eyes were on Lacazette. With only two goals in 10 league appearances, his 27 goal haul from last season looked a long way away and questions regarding his attitude and future failed to go away with every inadequate performance.
In just 90 short minutes, with three wonderful goals, the 24-year-old forward swept away all the critics.
The first seemed to come from nowhere. His instinctive first touch took the ball away from Saint-Etienne captain Loic Perrin, before the striker opened his body and delightfully lofted the ball over Stephane Ruffier’s head.
There was nothing the goalkeeper could do. Lacazette wheeled away in celebration, the away side stunned in a moment of majestic beauty.
After the break it only took Lyon’s No.10 15 minutes to double the lead. Rafael forced Ruffier to make a save and the forward was on hand to turn the ball into the net with his left foot.
The third was coming. The excellent Jordan Ferri burst forward and slipped a lovely ball into Lacazette, he did the rest. Rounding Ruffier to score into the empty net – the jubilation was clear to see.
Lyon have struggled, not just for goals, but to find the same free-flowing style that made them so compelling to watch last season. Much of that has to come from the changes this summer, plus the players that are missing for Hubert Fournier’s team.
Claudio Beauvue went into the game as Lyon’s joint top goal scorer, but although he has four goals, his partnership with Lacazette has not blossomed. As the hat-trick hero was hitting cloud 9, the signing from Guingamp was given a lowly score of 5 by newspaper L’Equipe.
It is clear that Lacazette has been missing the exceptional talents of Nabil Fekir to not only provide his chances, but to draw defenders off of him and generally terrorise the opposition. On Sunday, Lacazette’s play didn’t involve Beauvue. Merely relying on his other teammates to get the ball to him in the final third.
Didier Deschamps faced questions this week regarding Lacazette's omission from the upcoming France friendlies, but as the national team boss said in his press conference, he was right to leave him out – his form, with two goals in 10 games, was far from worthy.
However, Deschamps would have been watching on Sunday, and Lacazette sent the coach a very clear message. Don’t forget about me.
If, the man wanted by Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal…and most top clubs, can prove that this is not a peak, but just the start of his accession to the next level, it will be hard for Deschamps to leave him out next time.
There are still doubts whether or not he will be at Lyon for the rest of the season once the window opens, but is obvious from Sunday’s reaction that he is still happy to be playing for his boyhood club.
It remains to be seen if he will be on the scoresheet for the first derby at the new stadium.