Tammy Abraham crowned a perfect debut season at AS Roma with UEFA Europa Conference League glory on Wednesday night.
Having been unceremoniously exiled from Chelsea‘s starting XI under Thomas Tuchel last season, the England international sought pastures new last summer with an inspired move to the Italian capital.
And boy has Abraham proved his worth across the 2021/22 campaign, boasting a formidable record of 27 goals in 53 appearances to instantly become a hero at the Stadio Olimpico.
Abraham and Roma win Conference League
It’s a dream start to life on the continent that has only been made more special by playing it under the watchful eye of one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport: Jose Mourinho.
And you couldn’t help feeling that the Mourinho’s collaboration with Abraham reached it zenith this week when the pair both got their hands on the trophy of UEFA’s third-string club competition.
The 24-year-old might not have scored the winner in Tirana – that honour went to Nicolò Zaniolo – but it was nevertheless a fitting way to conclude a season that he will never forget.
Besides, goal or not, Abraham still led the Roman line with the guts and guile that he has done all season long and you can really tell that he’s moulded himself into a Mourinho-like player.
You don’t need us to tell you that the way Mourinho prefers his teams to play football brings out certain – how shall we say? – mischievous qualities in players that you might not see elsewhere.
In fact, there was one moment in particular during the 1-0 win over Feyenood where fans thought they saw a cheeky streak in Abraham that’s so typical of footballers playing under Mourinho.
Abraham’s cheeky wink
That’s because footage has shown Abraham winking at what appears to be the bench having hit the ground in the final 10 minutes at the Arena Kombëtare under challenge from Marcos Senesi.
While the recipient of the wink and meaning behind the gesture can’t be confirmed with certainty, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Abraham was giving the impression that he was actually A-OK.
Besides, it’s something of an unwritten rule in football that winning teams will try their best to waste time in the dying minutes of a game by milking any opportunity to receive treatment.
But no matter what Abraham was up to with his winking, you just know that it’s exactly the sort of gamesmanship that Mourinho loves his teams to channel, so be sure to check it out down below:
Tammy hit them with the busquets wink 😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/ADf347JWJU— #38 (@sketchy00_) May 25, 2022
We see you, Tammy, we see you.
A storied history of cheeky gestures
Though, after all we’ve said, it is worth nothing that one of the most famous examples of this sort of cheeky gesture actually came against the ‘Special One’ back in the heady days of 2010.
Screenshots of Sergio Busquets playing ‘Peekaboo’ for Barcelona during the Champions League semi-final second leg against Inter Milan that year continue to do the rounds on social media.
And then, of course, there is the case of David Luiz cracking a smile at Old Trafford when he appeared to have been injured during Chelsea’s 1-0 win at Manchester United in 2013.
However, there’s good reason to think that Abraham’s wink might be the cheekiest of all on the simple basis that it preceded a European triumph that he and Mourinho will remember forever.