LONDON (AFP): Harry Kane said becoming Tottenham’s all-time record scorer was a “magical moment” as his 267th goal for the club sealed a 1-0 win against Manchester City that severely damaged the champions’ bid to retain the Premier League title.
Kane’s historic first-half strike at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium took him past Jimmy Greaves into sole possession of the hallowed record.
Greaves had held the milestone since 1970 before Kane moved level with him in his previous appearance against Fulham on January 23.
Kane’s landmark moment also made him only the third player to score 200 Premier League goals after Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208).
“It is hard to put into words. It is just a magical moment. I was so desperate to do it with a win as well,” Kane said.
“To do it in front of the home fans was a moment I will never forget.”
It has been an unforgettable period for Kane, who drew level with Rooney as England’s joint record scorer on 53 goals when he netted against France at the World Cup in December.
Passing Greaves had become increasingly inevitable for the prolific Kane, although ironically City could have ended his record chase if they had been successful in their attempt to sign him in 2021.
However, Kane’s remarkable goal feats seemed a distant dream during a difficult start to his career that featured several failed loan spells before he finally emerged as a star.
Greaves, who died aged 81 in 2021, is regarded as one of the most natural goalscorers in football history.
For Kane to be alongside such a legendary player is a tribute to his predatory instincts and his perseverance.
“When I started playing, it was never in my imagination to score 200 Premier League goals. To be there now is just exciting,” Kane said.
“Jimmy Greaves is a complete hero, one of the best strikers to play the game. To overtake him is a huge moment.”
The 29-year-old’s first Tottenham goal came back in 2011 against Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League.
If that was a low-key way to start an incredible career, Kane’s record strike carried far more significance.
Arsenal’s shock 1-0 defeat at struggling Everton on Saturday had given City renewed hope they could overhaul the leaders.
But instead Kane’s 19th goal in all competitions this season leaves second-placed City trailing five points behind Arsenal, who have a game in hand and host Pep Guardiola’s men in a crucial clash on February 15.
“We started really well, but after we made a mistake they punished us,” Guardiola said.
“We are not in the position to think about being champions.”
KANE MAKES HISTORY
Without boss Antonio Conte after emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder, Tottenham were led by his assistant Cristian Stellini and this result lifted the recuperating Italian’s spirits.
Tottenham’s win moved them within one point of fourth-placed Newcastle as they chase Champions League qualification.
“I spoke to Antonio on the phone just now and he said congratulations to the team and especially Harry,” Stellini said.
“Harry, in his DNA, he has football. He is a ‘GOAT’ in this league, in this sport. He is a great example.”
It took Kane just 15 minutes to make history as Rodri’s careless pass on the edge of the City area allowed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to rob Manuel Akanji.
Hojbjerg slipped his pass to Kane and, with immortality in his sights, the striker guided a slightly scuffed low shot past Ederson with typical efficiency.
Sprinting away to soak up the acclaim, Kane waved towards his family, who were sitting below a scoreboard emblazoned with the message “Congratulations Harry” alongside pictures of him celebrating previous goals for the club.
The England captain was serenaded by Tottenham fans chanting “Harry Kane, he’s one of our own” as the product of the club’s youth academy walked back to the centre circle beaming a broad grin.
Riyad Mahrez was inches away from equalising when he crashed a fierce volley against the crossbar.
In a tense finale, Tottenham had to play the last three minutes with 10 men after Cristian Romero was dismissed for a second booking as he chopped down Jack Grealish.