Picture : Mohamed Salah’s great week (200 goals and Club World Champion)
IFFHS STATISTICS AND NEWS OF THE WEEK 51
“EL CLASICO” RECORDS
Last week , the World of Football has viewed the 243th “El Clásico” , the game between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona, considered as one of the biggest club matches and the most seen in the World. It was the 52th draw in the official competition history between the two clubs, Barcelona counting 96 victories and Madrid 95. In the History of La Liga matches, Real and Barcelona have 72 victories each and 35 draws ! A record was beaten last week, Sergio Ramos became the Player to have played the more EL CLASICO in the History, 43 in total, one more than Xavi, Gento, Sanchis and … Lionel Messi, who is the Best Top Goal Scorer of EL CLASICO with 26 goals, 8 more than Cristiano Ronaldo and Alfredo Di Stefano ! Zinedine Zidane has participated at his fifth El Classico as Real Madrid’s Coach and is always unbeaten with 2 victories and 3 draws !
GIANLUIGI BUFFON EQUALS PAOLO MALDINI’S ALL-TIME SERIE A APPEARANCES OF 647
Italy and IFFHS legend, keeper Gianluigi Buffon has hit a par with legendary defender, Paolo Maldini as the players with the most appearances of 647 in the Italian Serie A. The celebrated goalkeeper who left Juventus for a stint at Paris St. Germain in 2018 returned to base last June. His return is paying off as Buffon has kept a clean sheet in 7 appearances, before Juve’s 2-1 win of Sampdoria in his 8th appearance at goal on Wednesday when he equalled Paolo Maldini’s record of 647 appearances.
Last night’s achievement has sent the goaltender thinking and relegating thoughts of any retirement soon as he eyes a 648th appearance next, and a further urge to ultimately claim the conspicuous silverware that has so far eluded him : the UEFA Champions League title that skirted his embrace twice ; in 2015 against Barcelona, and 2018 against Real Madrid.
In a press conference, Buffon tells the football world that retirement is nowhere near and that he feels the emotions for more building in him like never before.
With a FIFA World Cup win in 2006, 8 Serie A titles, and 4 Italian Cup wins, the player who has capped 176 times for Italy, has by hitting a par with Paolo Maldini, further widened his Serie A appearance berth with Francesco Totti (619), Janvier Zanetti (615), and Gianluca Pagluica (592).
LIVERPOOL YOUNGEST-EVER SIDE
Liverpool Under-23 coach, Neil Critchley had the arduous task of standing upto hosts, Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup quarterfinal second leg with Jurgen Klopp and the main squad away in Qatar for the Club World Cup. The results from the field were predictable, contrasting sharply with the predictions on paper.
The youthful exhuberance of the young Reds was summarily depleted when the more experienced home-side scored two first half goals to give the arguments a scientific touch. The hosts further mauled the visitors whose average group age of 19.48 years was the youngest in Liverpool history, surpassing the former one of 21.81 years when they played against Plymouth in the FA Cup in 2016.
It was a field day for Aston Villa whose Jonathan Kodjia emerged the most valuable player of the night as Aston villa reached the semifinals of the competition for the first time since the 2012-2013 season.
The Reds whose team with five debutants nonetheless gave encouraging impressions for a bright future to their managers did go down in history for the wrong reason. It was their heaviest League Cup defeat since the 4-1 loss to West Ham in 1988 and the 6-3 comeback by Arsenal before them in 2007.
SALAH GOAL SCORER
Last week, Mohamed Salah scored two goals in Watford for Liverpool and became the third Egyptian Player to score 200 or more goals in his career : 202 (161 in Club competition, 41 in National team competition). Only Houssam Hassan (301) and Hassan Chadli (246) have more scored. In club competition, Salah is also third in the ranking with 161 goals behind Hassan Chadli (221) and Houssam Hassan (237). He has passed Mohamed Aboutrika in the ranking (160).
OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS AND SEATTLE REIGN FC : THE DEAL
Megan Rapinoe with Jean Michel Aulas
OL Groupe, the parent company of French Ligue 1 team Olympique Lyonnais, has completed the takeover of National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) franchise Reign FC in a deal . OL Groupe will hold an 89.5% stake in Reign whose main player is United States World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe. Four-times NBA champion Tony Parker, a Lyon brand ambassador in the U.S., will have a 3% stake.
Reign, a founding member of the NWSL, has been in the playoffs for the past two seasons and their former coach, Vlatko Andonovski, was named in October as head coach of the US National Women’s World Championship. Lyon’s owner Jean-Michel Aulas said at a news conference that promoting competitive women’s football has long been a priority.“We are here of course in a very humble way, but we are here to win things,” he said
Our ambition has always been to operate the best women’s football club in the world,” Bill Predmore , Reign Seattle FC President, said in a statement. We believe the combination of OL’s experience and expertise with our knowledge of the market and league will allow future investments to deliver the optimal impact to the club and to the NWSL.”
Lyon is four-time reigning winner of the UEFA Women’s Champions League and has won that tournament six times in all since 2011. They have also won 13 domestic league titles and have some of the sport’s biggest names in their squad, including England’s Lucy Bronze, Norway’s Ada Hegerberg and France’s Wendie Renard. Lyon owner Aulas has assembled the on-field dynasty over more than a decade, including bringing Americans like Hope Solo, Alex Morgan and current Reign FC star and Ballon d’Or winner Megan Rapinoe abroad for stints. Rapinoe, the Golden Ball and Golden Boot winner at this year’s World Cup, praised the new partnership.
LIONEL MESSI SCORED 50 GOALS AND MORE FOR THE 9TH TIME IN 10 YEARS
Argentina and Barcelona icon, Lionel Messi is closing the 2019 football season with unprecedented grandeur as he added one more feather on his cap of achievements scoring his 50th goal for the year; his ninth such showing in ten years.
The match with Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou last Saturday wore on till the 69th minute when Messi The Great sent the ball in a curvilinear trajectory from some 20 yards to assure victory for Barcelona, and a step closer to one more La Liga title for his club. The goal entered Messi’s private account as his 50th from 58 games for club and country in 2019.
Going by the figures, he scored 34 goals in 32 la Liga matches, 8 in the UEFA Champions League, 3 in Copa del Rey, and 5 for Argentina in 10 appearances. The achievement, although far from his 91 goals scored in 2012, is being duplicated for the fifth straight year, giving Lionel a stupendous finish to 2019, a year in which he also won a historic 6th Ballon d’Or title, as well as the IFFHS Best Men’s Playmaker award.
His stats : 60 goals in 2010, 59 in 2011, 91 in 2012, 45 in 2013, 58 in 2014, 52 in 2015, 59 in 2016, 54 in 2017, 51 in 2018, 50 in 2019 !
LIVERPOOL CLUB WORLD CHAMPION
Liverpool Football Club became only the second Premier League club to win the FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday when they defeated Brazil’s Flamengo 1-0 at the Doha Khalifa International Stadium. Watched by more than 45,000, the game dragged into extra time before Roberto Firmino nailed in the goal of redemption and brought England under the bright spotlight eleven years after Manchester United won the same silverware.
Having defeated Tottenham Hotspur last June to qualify for the competition that features the various confederations champions and host country, it was a sweet revenge for Liverpool 38 years after losing to Flamengo in the final of the Intercontinental Cup.