Stuart Astill and Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest fan Stuart Astill missed his first game of the favourite team in 40 years as he was not able to travel for the away match at Burnley on 1st April 2013 due to foot operation. The passionate supporter traveled more than 100,000 miles to attend Forest’s previous 1,786 games. Astill went to his first Nottingham Forest match in 1956 and has watched his team from the stands 2,534 times. His previous missed game was 1973 when he was an usher at a wedding. Even a foot infection did not prevent him from attending the home match vs. Brighton on 30th March 2013.
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi became the first player in the history of Spanish football to score against every other La Liga team consecutively. The Argentine record-breaker scored in a 19th consecutive league match when he found the net against Celta Vigo on 30th March 2013. During this remarkable run, Messi has scored 29 goals, including a 4-goal performance against Osasuna.
Sergio Ramos and Cha Bum-Kun
At the age of 26 years and 358 days, Sergio Ramos became the youngest European player to reach the landmark of 100 international caps with his appearance in the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Finland in Gijón on 22nd March 2013. The final score of the match was 1-1 with Ramos scoring his 9th goal for Spain. He beat the European record of Lukas Podolski who was 21 days older when he recorded his 100th cap for Germany. The world record, however, still belongs to Korea Republic forward Cha Bum-Kun, who reached the milestone at the age of only 24 years and 139 days.
Germany started the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan in Nürnberg on 26th March 2013 without a typical striker and hit the woodwork 6 times in the match. Kazakhstan also hit the post once. Die Mannschaft won the game by 4-1 thanks to goals scored by 3 Borussia Dortmund players – Marco Reus (2), Mario Götze (1) and Ilkay Gündogan (1).
Antonio Cassano and Gerard Pique
Former Real Madrid player Antonio Cassano has named his newborn son Lionel after Barcelona star Lionel Messi. “I named him Lionel because I’m a massive fan of the best player in history. My wife wasn’t keen, but then I convinced her,” the Italian international forward explained. A little bit earlier, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and his girlfriend Colombian pop singer Shakira named their newly born son Milan.
The 39-year-old Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs played his 1000th senior competitive match in the 1-2 UEFA Champions League home defeat against Real Madrid on 5th March 2013. During his career, the ageless Welshman has recorded 932 matches with 168 goals for Manchester United, 64 matches with 12 goals for Wales and 4 matches with 1 goal for the Great Britain Olympic team. Giggs has recently extended his contract with Manchester United until the summer of 2014 so he will have an opportunity to add many more games to his impressive record.
Chelsea and Arsenal
Chelsea are the first English Premier League club to field eleven foreigners in the starting lineup. On 26th December 1999, Gianluca Vialli, the Italian manager of the Blues, started the match vs. Southampton with the following players: De Goey (Netherlands); Thome (Brazil), Leboeuf (France), Ferrer (Spain), Babayaro (Nigeria); Deschamps (France), Poyet (Uruguay), Di Matteo (Italy), Petrescu (Romania), Ambrosetti (Italy); Flo (Norway). On 14th February 2005, Arsenal went even further as their French manager Arsène Wenger selected an entirely foreign 16-man squad (including 6 Frenchmen) for the match vs. Crystal Palace. The Gunners started with Lehmann (Germany); Lauren (Cameroon), Cygan (France), Clichy (France), Kolo Touré (Ivory Coast); Vieira (France), Pires (France), Edu (Brazil), Reyes (Spain); Bergkamp (Netherlands), Henry (France) and had Almunia (Spain), Senderos (Switzerland), Fábregas (Spain), Flamini (France) and Van Persie (Netherlands) on the bench. Both Chelsea and Arsenal won their games by 2-1 and 5-1 respectively.
Leroy Rosenior probably holds the world record for the shortest coaching stint. He was appointed as the new head coach of Torquay United on 17th May 2007 and was fired just 10 minutes after the press conference at which he was unveiled. Rosenior was released from his duties due to the fact that at the same time that he was appointed the club was bought out and the new CEO Colin Lee decided to give the head coaching job to Exeter City assistant manager Paul Buckle.
Lionel Messi has scored his 300th and 301st goals for Barcelona in the 2-1 La Liga win at Granada on 16th February 2013. This was his 365th appearance for the Catalan giants. Messi made his official debut for Barcelona in the derby vs. Espanyol on 16th October 2004 and scored his first goal for Blaugrana against Albacete on 1st May 2005.
The 25-year-old Lionel Messi scored 4 goals in Barcelona’s 5-1 win over Osasuna on 27th January 2013 to take his tally to 202 La Liga goals in 235 games and become the youngest player to reach the 200 mark. The other 7 footballers who have accomplished that feat are Telmo Zarra (251 goals in 272 games), Hugo Sanchez (234 in 347), Raul Gonzalez (228 in 550), Alfredo di Stefano (227 in 329), Cesar Rodriguez (223 in 353), Quini (219 in 448) and Pahiño (210 in 278). Before Messi, the youngest to reach 200 was the 29-year-old Zarra. Interestingly, Messi set one more La Liga record with his performance vs. Osasuna. He became the first player to score in 11 consecutive La Liga games.
Tomislav Ivić is the only coach in the world who has managed to win league titles in five different countries. The Croatian legend, who passed away at the age of 77 in 2011, lifted the Yugoslavian title with Hajduk Split in 1974, 1975 and 1979, the Dutch title with Ajax in 1977, the Belgian title with Anderlecht in 1981, the Greek title with Panathinaikos in 1986 and the Portuguese title with Porto in 1988. Moreover, Ivić had his share in the 1992 French league triumph of Olympique de Marseille as he started the season as a coach of the team but was released from his duties after 4 months. The Croatian record-holder is followed by three other coaches who have won the league in 4 different countries – Ernst Happel (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria), Giovanni Trapattoni (Italy, Germany, Portugal and Austria) and Jose Mourinho (Portugal, England, Italy and Spain).
Stade Olympique de L'Emyrne
The world record for the highest score in football was set in a top flight match in Madagascar on 31st October 2002. AS Adema Antananarivo, who secured the league title in the previous round, defeated their city archrivals Stade Olympique de L'Emyrne by 149-0 in the last match of the season. In order to protest against the referee decisions in their penultimate league match which ended 2-2 and eliminated them from the title race, Stade Olympique de L'Emyrne players deliberately scored 149 own goals. On the other side, Adema footballers were just watching how their rivals kick the ball in their own net after each kick-off. Following that match, the Malagasy Football Federation accused the Stade Olympique de L'Emyrne coach Zaka Be of orchestrating the actions of his team and suspended him for three years. Four of his players received shorter suspensions, too.
Juventus have set a new Italian league record for points in a calendar year with their 3-1 win at Cagliari on 21 December 2012! The Bianconeri have amassed 94 points in 2012 and topped the previous best mark by 1 point. Interestingly, the previous record of 93 points also belonged to Juventus and was set in 2005 when the team was led by Fabio Capello. In 2012, the White-Blacks totally dominated Serie A by winning 28, drawing 10 and losing only 2 league matches. They won the 2011/12 title without a league defeat and will start 2013 with an 8-point lead on the top of Serie A standings.
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi scored two goals in the 2-1 win over Betis on 9th December and set a new record for most goals in a calendar year. The prolific Argentine found the net 86 times in 2012 and topped the previous best achievement of 85 goals in 60 matches recorded by German striker Gerd Müller in 1972. Messi scored his 86 goals in 44 of the 66 games he played in 2012. He scored 1 goal in 16 matches, 2 goals in 19 matches, 3 goals in 6 matches, 4 goals in 2 matches and 5 goals in 1 match. Interestingly, Messi recorded 2 hat-tricks against Málaga and became the only player with 5 goals in a UEFA Champions League match when he accomplished that feat vs. Bayer Leverkusen.
David Villa scored twice in Barcelona’s 3-1 Copa del Rey win over Alavés on 28th November 2012 and these were the 300th and 301st goal of his career. The prolific forward, who will turn 31 on 4th December 2012, started his career at Sporting Gijón and scored 40 goals in 3 seasons for the club before moving to Zaragoza and scoring further 40 goals in 2 seasons. In 2005, Villa joined Valencia and found the net 128 times during his 5-year spell there. As from 2010, he has managed to score 40 goals for Barcelona. Furthermore, David Villa is the all-time leading goalscorer of the Spanish national team with 53 goals.
Zlatan Ibrahimović scored the 200th and 201st league goal of his career in the 4-0 win of his Paris Saint-Germain over Troyes on 24th November 2012. The 31-year-old Swedish striker has scored goals for 7 different clubs from 5 countries. He started his career at Malmö FF in his homeland and scored 16 goals for the club before moving to Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam in 2001. In the Netherlands Ibrahimović found the net 35 times and later added 23 goals for Juventus, 57 for Internazionale, 16 for Barcelona, 42 for Milan and 12 for PSG.
West Ham United’s central defender Alvin Martin scored a hat-trick against three different goalkeepers in the 8-1 English top flight win over Newcastle United on 21 April 1986. These three were goalkeeper Martin Thomas, defender Chris Hedworth and forward Peter Beardsley. Newcastle’s reserve goalkeeper David McKellar was injured and when Thomas got also injured he was replaced between the sticks by Hedworth at half time. Unfortunately, Hedworth hurt his collarbone and handed the gloves to Beardsley.
Brad Friedel’s record streak of 310 consecutive English Premier League appearances came to an end in the 2-0 home win of his current team Tottenham Hotspur over Aston Villa (his previous one) on 7th October 2012. The 41-year-old American goalkeeper has missed a Premier League match for the first time since the 1-1 draw of his Blackburn Rovers with Birmingham City on 15th May 2004. Fellow goalkeepers David James (230) and Tim Howard (190) are second and third on the list with most English Premier League consecutive appearances while Gordon Strachan (179) holds the record for an outfield player.
Ryan Tunnicliffe and Chris Kirkland
The father of Manchester United’s 19-year-old midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe bet £100 on his son when he was just nine that he would play for the first team. Ryan made his debut for the Red Devils in the 2-1 League Cup win over Newcastle United on 26th September 2012 and his father won £10,000 from bookmakers William Hill. Moreover, back then, Ryan’s father put another £100 on his son that he would play for the national team of England, too. He will win £35,000 if this happens. Interestingly, there was a similar case in the past when goalkeeper Chris Kirkland made his debut for England and won £10,000 for his father from a £100 bet.
Levadia Tallinn and Ludogorets Razgrad
Estonian club Levadia Tallinn won the Estonian title, Estonian Cup, Estonian League Cup and Estonian SuperCup in their debut season in the top flight. The club was founded in 1998, won promotion to the elite division in the same year and grabbed all 4 major trophies in the country in 1999. Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad recorded a similar achievement in the 2011/12 season. They qualified for the top flight for the first time in their history in 2011 and immediately won all 3 major trophies in Bulgarian football – the Bulgarian title, Bulgarian Cup and Bulgarian Super Cup.
In the 1928/29 season, Cardiff City finished at the bottom of the English First Division (top flight) standings and were relegated despite conceding the least amount of goals in the league. The Bluebirds allowed 59 goals in 42 games while the champions Sheffield Wednesday conceded 63 goals! However the top team scored 2 times more goals than the last one (86 vs. 43).
Mário Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer
Brazil's Mário Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer are the only two people in the history of football who have won the World Cup both as a player and as a coach. Zagallo won the trophy as a player in 1958 and as a coach in 1970. The first time he was a teammate of Pelé and the second time he coached the King of Football. Beckenbauer became a world champion as a player in 1974 and as a coach in 1990. Moreover, Zagallo won the World Cup as an assistant coach in 1994 while Beckenbauer lifted the trophy as a captain of his team in 1974!
Iker Casillas and Ahmed Hassan
With the 4-0 win of his Spain over Italy in the UEFA EURO 2012 final, the 31-year-old Iker Casillas became the first player in history to reach 100 international wins! The influential La Furia captain is followed by Egypt attacking midfielder Ahmed Hassan and former France defender Lilian Thuram who have both managed to win 94 matches. Interestingly, the 37-year-old Hassan is still playing for the national team of his country and is the world’s all-time most capped player with 184 international games.
With their 4-2 win over Greece in the UEFA EURO 2012 quarterfinal played in Gdańsk on 22nd June 2012, Germany set a new world record for consecutive wins in competitive matches! Starting from the 3-2 win over Uruguay in the match for the third place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Mannschaft has registered 15 straight victories and will look to further improve this record at the current European Championship. In the EURO 2012 qualifying campaign Germany has beaten two times each of Belgium, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Austria, and added 3 more wins in the group stage of the final tournament against Portugal, Netherlands and Denmark.
União de Leiria
Portuguese top flight club União de Leiria, which was coached by José Mourinho in the 2001/02 season, started the league game against CD Feirense on 29th April 2012 with 8 men only! This happened because of the fact that most of the players decided to strike as their wages were not paid for several months. It was no surprise that Leiria, who occupy the last place in the league standings, lost the match by 0-4. However, they managed to keep the score 0-0 till the last minute of the first half.
Tottenham Hotspur’s winger Gareth Bale made his 100th appearance in the English Premier League in the 0-0 stalemate against Liverpool at Anfield Road on 6th February 2012. The Welsh international joined the Spurs from Southampton as a 17-year-old youngster in May 2007. Interestingly, Bale was not able to record a win with his club in his first 24 Premiership games and finally managed to clinch the first victory in his 25th appearance against Burnley on 26th September 2009. This was more than two years after moving to Tottenham.
Brian Deane, Les Ferdinand and Marc Albrighton
Aston Villa winger Marc Albrighton scored the 20,000th goal in the Premier League in the 1-2 home defeat at the hands of Arsenal on 21st December 2011. The 22-year-old player leveled the score on 54 minutes with his 7th career goal in the English top flight. The Premier League was established in 1992 and the first goal in the competition was scored by Sheffield United striker Brian Deane in the 5th minute of the match against Manchester United on 15th August 1992. Tottenham Hotspur striker Les Ferdinand hit the 10,000th goal against Fulham on 15th December 2001.
Boyko Borisov and Dimitar Berbatov
Bulgaria Prime Minister Boyko Borisov was selected by the fans as the 2011 Bulgarian Footballer of the Year! The 52-year-old, who plays for the third division amateur club Vitosha Bistritsa, won the official fans poll with 3,509 votes (44%). Interestingly, Manchester United forward Dimitar Berbatov, who ended his career for the national team of Bulgaria in 2010 and finished the 2010/11 season as a joint top goalscorer of the English Premier League, came second with 1,957 votes (24%). Furthermore, another amateur player, the 23-year-old Vasil Lukaev, who plays for the fifth division side Shipka Dragor, finished third with 431 votes (5%). Such poll results are due to the fact that many fans decided to express their protest against the poor performances of Bulgarian national team and domestic clubs by making illogical selections.
American Samoa recorded their first ever win in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match after defeating Tonga by 2-1 in Apia, Samoa, on 22nd November 2011. The national team of the country, which shares the last 204th place in the November 2011 FIFA World Ranking together with Andorra and Montserrat, has previously participated in three FIFA World Cup qualifying campaigns. In these campaigns, American Samoa has played 12 games and lost all of them with a goal difference of 2-129. On the road to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, American Samoa has also set the world record for biggest international defeat with the 0-31 loss to Australia.
Only women and children were present at the Turkish Süper Lig match between Fenerbahçe and Manisaspor on 20th September 2011 and their number exceeded 40,000! They created amazing atmosphere at Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium but, unfortunately, the home team failed to win and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. The presence of only women and children aged under 12 was due to the fact that Turkish Football Association banned men from this game as a punishment for their invasion of the pitch during the pre-season friendly against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Iker Casillas became the most capped player in the history of Spanish football with his 127th appearance for the national team in the 2-2 draw in Costa Rica on 15th November 2011. The Real Madrid goalkeeper broke the previous record of 126 international games, set by another great goalkeeper, Andoni Zubizarreta, back in 1998. Casillas made his debut for Spain in the game against Sweden on 3rd June 2000 and taking into consideration the fact that he is only 30-years-old, we can expect many more international caps from him.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated his 25th anniversary as a Manchester United manager on 6th November 2011! The Scottish legend, who will turn 70 on 31th December, is the longest serving and most successful manager in the history of the club. During his tenure at Manchester United, Ferguson has won 37 major trophies – 12 Premier League titles, 10 FA Charity/Community Shields, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 2 UEFA Champions League trophies, 1 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 FIFA Club World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Raúl González
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th goal for Real Madrid in the 2-0 UEFA Champions League win at Olympique Lyon on 2nd November 2011! The 26-year-old Portuguese forward scored both goals in the match and now has 100 goals in 105 appearances for the club. Ronaldo, however, will need to go a long way to catch the record of Raúl González, who has scored 323 goals in 741 matches for Real Madrid.
Lionel Messi has scored his 200th goal for FC Barcelona in the 4-0 UEFA Champions League win at Viktoria Plzeň on 1st November 2011. The 24-year-old Argentine became only the second player in the history of the Catalan giants to reach that mark! Messi, who scored a hat-trick in the above mentioned game, has now 202 goals in all competitions for the club and trails only César Rodríguez, who has 235 goals.
Xavi has become FC Barcelona’s all-time leading La Liga appearance maker by featuring, and even scoring the winner, in the 1-0 victory at Granada CF on 25th October 2011. The influential playmaker represented his home club in the Spainsh top flight for the 392nd time in his career and broke the previous record of 391 games set by Migueli. Xavi also holds Barcelona’s record for most matches in all competitions as he has amassed 592 so far.
Bayern München’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer did not concede a goal for 1147 minutes (19 hours and 7 minutes) before being beaten by his teammate Holger Badstuber in the 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw at Napoli! The 25-year-old German international remained unbeaten from the 62nd minute of the Bundesliga opener against Borussia Mönchengladbach on 7th August 2011 till the 39th minute of the match vs. Napoli on 18th October 2011 and managed to keep 12 clean sheets during that period. Interestingly, Bayern won 11 of these games and recorded the highly impressive 32-0 goal difference.
Velibor "Bora" Milutinović and Carlos Alberto Parreira
Velibor "Bora" Milutinović is the coach with most official international games in his career. The famous Serbian, who turned 67 on 7th September 2011, has coached the national teams of 8 countries (Mexico, Costa Rica, United States, Nigeria, China, Honduras, Jamaica and Iraq) in 287 matches. Interestingly, Milutinović together with Brazilian legend Carlos Alberto Parreira are the only two coaches who have coached 5 different national teams at the FIFA World Cup. Milutinović led Mexico in 1986, Costa Rica in 1990, USA in 1994, Nigeria in 1998 and China in 2002 while Parreira was at the helm of Kuwait in 1982, UAE in 1990, Brazil in 1994 and 2006, Saudi Arabia in 1998 and South Africa in 2010.
David Villa scored his 50th goal for Spain in the 3-1 UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying win over Scotland in Alicante on 11th October 2011 and became the first Spanish player to reach that mark. The FC Barcelona forward, who will turn 30 on 3rd December 2011, has reached the impressive milestone in his 80th international game for La Furia Española. He tops Spain’s all-time goalsoring charts ahead of Real Madrid legends Raúl González (44 goals in 102 games) and Fernando Hierro (29 goals in 89 games).
Robin Van Persie
Dutch striker Robin van Persie hit his 99th and 100th goal for Arsenal in the 3-0 Premiership win over Bolton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium on 24th September! The 28-year-old star, who joined the Gunners from Feyenoord in May 2004 for a reported transfer fee of £2.75 million, needed 238 games to accomplish that feat. Being tipped as successor to the great Dennis Bergkamp at Arsenal, Robin van Persie scored his first goal for the club in the 2-1 League Cup win over Manchester City on 27th October 2004 and now needs 20 more goals to level Bergkamp’s achivement of 120 goals (in 423 games) for the North London club.
Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov became the most capped player in the history of Bulgarian football by recording his 103rd international appearance in the 1-3 defeat at the hands of Switzerland in Basel on 6th September 2011. The 32-year-old captain broke the previous record of 102 international caps, set by former goalkeeper and current Bulgarian Football Union president Borislav Mihaylov. Interestingly, Petrov’s 100th international cap came against Switzerland as well. The game was played in Sofia and ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
São Paulo FC legendary goalkeeper Rogério Ceni has played his 1000th game for the club in the 2-1 league win over Atlético Mineiro on 7th September 2011. Only two other players in the history of Brazilian football have recorded more games for one club – Pelé (1116 matches for Santos) and Roberto Dinamite (1110 appearnaces for Vasco da Gama). Interestingly, Ceni also holds the world record for most goals scored by a goalkeeper. During his 21 years at São Paulo, he has found the net of the opponents 103 times.
Josep Guardiola and Xavi
Head coach Josep Guardiola and influential playmaker Xavi have set two Barcelona records with the 2-0 UEFA Super Cup win over Porto on 26th August 2011. Guardiola, who only took the reins at the club in May 2008, became the most successful Barcelona coach of all time with his 12th major trophy (1 FIFA Club World Cup, 2 UEFA Champions League triumphs, 2 UEFA Super Cups, 3 Spanish titles, 1 Spanish Cup and 3 Spanish Super Cups) while Xavi emerged as Barcelona’s most decorated player ever with 18 major trophies (1 FIFA Club World Cup, 3 UEFA Champions League triumphs, 2 UEFA Super Cups, 6 Spanish titles, 1 Spanish Cup and 5 Spanish Super Cups).
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs broke the all-time record for most games for one club in the English top flight with his appearance in the 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on 22 August 2011. The 37-year-old Welshman has set the new record at 614 games. Interestingly, the previous best achievement of 613 appearances belonged to Tottenham legend Steve Perryman, who represented the north London club between 1969 and 1986.
Porto striker Radamel Falcao set a new UEFA Europa League goalscoring record by finding the net 17 times in 14 games during the 2010/11 edition of the competition! The prolific Colombian hitman topped the previous best achievement of 15 goals (in 12 games) scored by Bayern München forward Jürgen Klinsmann in the 1995/96 season of the UEFA Cup. Falcao’s most impressive performance of the campaign came against Villarreal in the semifinal when he scored 4 goals in the second half of the first leg. Moreover, he recorded hattricks against Rapid Wien and Spartak Moskva in the earlier stages of the tournament.
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo broke the record for most goals scored in a season in the Spanish La Liga by finding the net 40 times in the 2010/11 campaign! The previous record of 38 goals was set by Athletic Bilbao forward Telmo Zarra in 1951 and matched by Real Madrid striker Hugo Sánchez in 1990. Moreover, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first Real Madrid player to score more than 50 goals for the club in a single season. He amassed 53 goals and surpassed the previous best mark of 49 set by Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskás.
Inter legendary captain Javier Zanetti recorded the 1000th competitive match of his rich football career in the 1-1 Coppa Italia semifinal second leg draw with Roma at San Siro on 11th May 2011. The Argentine veteran, who will turn 38 on 10th August, made his debut for Inter 16 years ago – in the 1-0 win over Vicenza on 28th August 1995 – and became the captain of the team at the beginning of the 1999/00 season. Before moving to Italy, Zanetti played for CA Talleres and CA Banfield in his homeland. As of 12th May 2011, he has also 140 international caps for Argentina!
Ivory Coast and Cameroon
In the 2006 African Cup of Nations quarterfinal between Cameroon and Ivory Coast, every player on the pitch at the end of the extra time scored his penalty (22 consecutive converted penalties) following the 1-1 draw, before Cameroon forward Samuel Eto'o sent the ball over the crossbar in his second attempt and Ivorian striker Didier Drogba gave his country a 12-11 win. Neither of the two goalkeepers Jean-Jacques Tizié (Ivory Coast) and Souleymanou Hamidou (Cameroon) managed to save a penalty but both scored theirs.
Roma legend Francesco Totti found the net twice in the 2-2 draw at Fiorentina on 20th March 2011 and became only the sixth player to reach 200 goals in the history of Serie A! Now the 34-year-old Giallorossi captain has 201 goals in 466 Italian top flight games and trails the fifth placed player on the all-time list, Roberto Baggio, by 4 goals. The top four Serie A scorers are Silvio Piola (274 goals in 537 games), Gunnar Nordahl (225 goals in 291 games), Giuseppe Meazza (216 goals in 367 games) and José Altafini (216 goals in 459 games).
English Premier League
The English Premier League was established in 1992 and it was never won by an English coach! The great Scot Alex Ferguson has grabbed 11 titles with Manchester United and has very good chances to add one more in the current 19th season of the competition. The other foreigners who have won the Premiership are Frenchman Arsène Wenger (3 titles with Arsenal), Portuguese José Mourinho (2 titles with Chelsea), Scot Kenny Dalglish (1 title with Blackburn Rovers) and Italian Carlo Ancelotti (1 title with Chelsea). The last English manager who has won the English title is Howard Wilkinson. He lifted the trophy at the helm of Leeds United in the distant 1992.
Maciej Szczęsny and Wojciech Szczęsny
Maciej Szczęsny, the father of Arsenal starlet Wojciech Szczęsny, was also a talented goalkeeper. He is the only Polish player who has won the Polish title with 4 different teams! Maciej Szczęsny lifted that trophy 2 times with Legia Warszawa (in 1994 and 1995) and 3 more times with Widzew Łódź (1997), Polonia Warszawa (2000) and Wisła Kraków (2001). Moreover, the 45-year-old former star recorded 7 international caps for Poland in the period between 1991 and 1996.
German goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt has scored three goals from the penalty spot against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League and all of them were for different German teams! He helped his Hamburger SV to a 4-4 draw by beating Edwin van der Sar in 2000 and scored against Gianluigi Buffon when Bayer Leverkusen defeated Juve by 3-1 next year! Butt completed his unique treble in 2009 by beating Buffon again in a memorable 4-1 win for Bayern München in Torino!
The legendary Bulgarian forward Hristo Stoichkov was banned from football for life by the Bulgarian Communist Party when he was a 19-year-old teenager. This was due to his involvement in a fight between the players of his team CSKA Sofia and archrivals Levski Sofia in the Bulgarian Cup Final played on 19 June 1985. Later, his suspension was reduced to 1 year. Stoichkov returned in great style, winning the France Football’s Golden Ball in 1994 and becoming the greatest Bulgarian player of all time!
Iranian striker Ali Daei is the only player in the world who has scored more than 100 goals for the national team of his country! The prolific goal scorer has found the net 109 times in 149 appearances for Iran. Daei has a huge advantage over the second player on the list of the best international goal scorers – the Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskás who has 84 goals in 89 international games.
In 1980, Real Madrid won the Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey) by beating 6-1 in the final … their reserve team Castilla CF! During their impressive cup run, the second division Castilla eliminated four top flight teams – Hércules CF, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Sporting de Gijón. Interestingly, as Real Madrid also won the Spanish title, their reserve team was promoted to the European Cup Winners Cup. Castilla won the first European game against West Ham United at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium by 3-1 but lost the second leg by 5-1 after extra time and was eliminated from the competition.
The biggest ever victory in an international football match was recorded by Australia when they defeated American Samoa by 31-0 in a 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying match played on 11th April 2001. Socceroos forward Archie Thompson, who found the net 13 times in this game, set the record for most goals scored by a player in an international match. Moreover, his teammate David Zdrilic was also in prolific form as he added 8 goals – the second highest number of goals in an international match since World War I.
Russian legend Lev Yashin, who is considered by many as the greatest football goalkeeper of all time, was also a talented ice hockey goalie. Interestingly, in 1953, he won the prestigious USSR Cup with the ice hockey team of Dynamo Moscow! Nicknamed the “Black Panther”, Yashin spent his entire club career at Dynamo and enjoyed much greater success on the football pitch as he won 5 USSR titles and 3 USSR Cups. He remains the only goalkeeper who has ever won the France Football’s Golden Ball awarded to the best European footballer of the year. Yashin received the award in 1963.
Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs is the only player who has appeared and scored in every season of the English Premier League! As of 10 October 2010, the Welsh star has 554 games and 104 goals in the competition which was inaugurated in 1992 and is in its 19th season! Moreover, Giggs, who will turn 37 on 29 November 2010, holds the record for most Premier League titles. He has lifted the trophy 11 times!
Alfredo Di Stéfano and László Kubala
Alfredo Di Stéfano and László Kubala, legends of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona respectively, have played for the national teams of three countries. Born in Argentina, Di Stéfano scored 6 goals in 6 games for his country of birth but also represented Colombia (4 matches without scoring) and Spain (31 games with 23 goals). Kubala, who comes from Budapest, initially played for Czechoslovakia (6 matches with 4 goals), before recording 3 games without scoring for Hungary and 19 matches with 11 goals for Spain. During their glorious careers, Di Stéfano scored 216 goals in 282 games for Real Madrid while Kubala registered 131 goals in 186 matches for Barcelona!
Adam Matuszczyk and Euzebiusz Smolarek
Poland internationals Adam Matuszczyk (FC Köln) and Euzebiusz Smolarek (Polonia Warszawa), who have spent most of their life in Germany and Holland respectively, have given very interesting names to their sons born in 2010. The two players paid tribute to other famous sportsmen and called their sons Lennox Lewis Matuszczyk and Messi Smolarek! The media and fans are now wondering whether the two kids will go in the footsteps of their fathers and become Poland internationals one day?
Alessandro Del Piero
With his goal in the 4-0 win over Lecce on 17 October 2010, Alessandro Del Piero has tied the record of the legendary Giampiero Boniperti for most Serie A goals scored for Juventus! Both players have scored 178 goals for the Bianconeri in the Italian top flight but Del Piero will still have the opportunity to add some more to his tally! Interestingly, the popular Alex, who will turn 36 on 9 November 2010, also holds the records for most goals scored for Juventus in all competitions (198) and most games for the club (463)!
Geraldo Pereira de Matos Filho “Mazarópi”
According to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, the world record for the longest time without conceding a goal in the top division of a national championship belongs to Brazilian goalkeeper Geraldo Pereira de Matos Filho “Mazarópi”. Playing for CR Vasco da Gama, he kept a clean sheet for 1.816 minutes (more than 20 games!) between 18 May 1977 and 7 September 1978 (more than a year!). Mazarópi has a huge advantage over the second goalkeeper in the list – former Egypt international Thabet El-Batal, who has not conceded a goal for 1.442 minutes while playing for Al Ahly Cairo between 7 April 1975 and 29 December 1976.
Werder Bremen’s Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro has become the top foreign goal scorer in the history of German top flight by scoring his 134th Bundesliga goal in the 4-1 win at Borussia Mönchengladbach on 23 October 2010. The 32-year-old Pizarro needed 287 games to accomplish the feat and surpassed the 133 goals scored by Brazilian striker Giovane Elber in 260 matches. Interestingly, both players were teammates at Bayern München for 2 years between 2001 and 2003. Pizarro, who has scored 71 goals for Bayern and 63 for Werder, is now 17th on the list of all-time best Bundesliga goal scorers!
Edwin van der Sar and John Burridge
With his appearance in the 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on 30th October, Manchester United’s Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar became the first foreign player to play in the English Premier League being over 40 years old! Interestingly, the Dutchman celebrated his 40th birthday on the previous day – 29th October! Apart from van der Sar, there 8 UK players who have accomplished this feat and the oldest of them is the English goalkeeper John Burridge, who played his last Premier League game for Manchester City against QPR on 14th May 1995 at the age 43 years and 162 days!
Javier Zanetti and Peter Ofori-Quaye
With his goal in the entertaining 4-3 win over Tottenham Hotspur on 20th October 2010, Inter Milano's veteran Javier Zanetti became the oldest player to score in the UEFA Champions League! At the age of 37 years and 71 days, he opened the scoring in the second minute of the game with only his second goal in his 83rd appearance in the competition. On the other side, the youngest goal scorer in the UEFA Champions League is Ghanaian forward Peter Ofori-Quaye who scored for Olympiacos against Rosenborg on 1st October 1997 at the age of 17 years and 194 days (almost 20 years younger than Zanetti)!
Filippo Inzaghi and Raúl
With his two goals for AC Milan against Real Madrid in the recent 2-2 UEFA Champions League draw, Filippo Inzaghi broke the record for most goals scored in this competition (including the former European Champions Cup)! The Italian striker found the net 70 times in 87 games for Milan and Juventus and moved above Raúl and Gerd Müller who both have 69 goals. Moreover, Inzaghi and Raúl jointly hold the record for most goals (70) in the European club competitions!
Ghanaian forward Derek Asamoah, who is one of the best footballers in the Bulgarian top flight, wears shirt number 1 while playing for his team Lokomotiv Sofia. This number is usually reserved for the goalkeepers and it’s really very rare to see an outfield player with it on the back. However, the 29-year-old Asamoah, who has scored 7 league goals in the current season (as of 13th November 2010), may soon change his untypical shirt number as he is expected to join a new foreign club in the near future.
Inspirational FC Barcelona captain Carles Puyol recorded his 500th game for the club in the 3-1 win over Villarreal CF on 13th November 2010! In the history of the Catalan giants, only two other players have reached this milestone – Migueli (548 games) and Xavi (541 games)! Puyol, who began his career at Barcelona, made his first team debut in the 2-0 Primera División away win over Real Valladolid on 2nd October 1999 and became the captain of the club at the end of the 2003/04 season following the retirement of Luis Enrique.
Thanks to his impressive hat-trick in the 8-0 win at UD Almería on 20th November 2010, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi passed the mark of 100 goals in the Spanish Primera División! At the age of only 23, he became the second youngest player to reach this milestone after Real Madrid legend Raúl, who scored his 100th La Liga goal being 22 years old! Messi now has 101 goals in 154 league games for Barcelona – the only club he has played for!
Brazil futsal team
The 1-2 home defeat at the hands of Spain in the final of the 2010 Grand Prix de Futsal on 24 October 2010 put an end to the incredible run of 162 games without a defeat of the national futsal team of Brazil! Interestingly, the previous defeat of A Seleção happened five years ago and also came against Spain. Brazil has won all of the first five editions of the Grand Prix de Futsal – a tournament inaugurated in 2005 by the Brazilian Futsal Confederation and featuring the best 16 countries in the world.
Argentine striker Martín Palermo earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for missing three penalties in a single international match. This happened against Colombia in the group stage of the 1999 Copa América. The game was played in the Paraguayan city of Luque on 4th July 1999 and, interestingly, Argentina was defeated by 0-3! Palermo’s first penalty hit the crossbar, the second one went over and the third was saved by the Colombian goalkeeper Miguel Calero.
Sheffield FC and Hallam FC
The world’s first football match between two different clubs was played in England exactly 150 years ago – on 26 December 1860. The game took place at Sandygate Road (the oldest football ground in the world) in the city of Sheffield and featured the oldest football club in the world, Sheffield FC, and the second oldest, Hallam FC. Sheffield FC were found on 24 October 1857 and currently play in the Northern Premier League Division One South (8th division) while Hallam FC were established on 4 September 1860 and currently play in the Northern Counties East Football League Premier Division (9th division).
Barcelona playmaker Xavi has equalled Migueli's record of 549 games for the club with his appearance in the 2-1 home win over Levante in the Primera División on 2 January 2011! The midfield general made his debut for the Catalan giants against RCD Mallorca in the Spanish Super Cup final on 18 August 1998 and taking into consideration the fact that he is only 30-years-old (he will turn 31 on 25 January 2011 ), we can expect that Xavi will record many more games for Barcelona.
Midfield star Keisuke Honda scored Japan's 1,000th goal in the 2-1 AFC Asian Cup win over Syria on 15 January 2011. The CSKA Moskva player beat Syrian goalkeeper Mosab Balhous from the penalty spot on 82 minutes to clinch the three points for his country and move them closer to quarter-final qualification. As far as Japan's first international goal is concerned, it was scored by Ryuzo Shimizu in the 1-2 Far East Championships defeat against the Philippines in Osaka in 1923. Interestingly, the Japan Football Association will celebrate its 90th Anniversary this year and the 1,000th goal will receive special attention at the celebration.
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs recorded his 600th league appearance for the club in the 0-0 stalemate with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on 16th January 2011! Now the Welsh midfielder needs 6 more games to tie the record of Sir Bobby Charlton, who featured in 606 league games for the Red Devils! Interestingly, Giggs already holds the Manchester United record for most appearances in all competitions – the game vs. Tottenham was his 856th! Second on this prestigious list is Bobby Charlton with 758 games for the club.
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