Picture : Roque Santa Cruz , the Goleador of Olimpia Asuncion.
ROQUE SANTA CRUZ : THE GOLEADOR !
Roque Santa Cruz, aged 38, won last week his fourth consecutive Champion title as captain of Olimpia Asuncion in Paraguay (Apertura 2018 and 2019, Clausura 2018 and 2019) scoring 52 goals in 130 matches since his return in 2016 at his former club ! He won also for Apertura and Clausura 2019 the title of The Best Goal Scorer of the Paraguayan Primera Division with 11 and 14 goals !
Roque Luis Santa Cruz Cantero is also the record goal scorer (32 goals) and has earned over 100 caps (112) for the Paraguay National Team. He is regarded as one of the best players in the nations history. He represented Paraguay at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup tournaments and at the 1999, 2007, 2011 (where Paraguay finished runners-up) and 2015 Copa America tournaments.
Santa Cruz started his career with Olimpia Asuncion, progressing to the first-team squad where he made his debut at the age of 15 in 1997. He finished his career with the club having scored 13 goals in 24 Primera Division appearances where Olimpia claimed the 1997, 1998 and 1999 Primera División titles. Santa Cruz scored three goals in four appearances for Paraguay at the 1999 FIFA Youth World Cup before debuting for the Paraguayan national team at the 1999 Copa America , where he scored three goals in four appearances. He immediately joined German Bundesliga club FC Bayern München in August 1999 , where he scored five goals in 28 league appearances in his first season. He faced a series of injuries which limited his impact but he made there a fantastic career.
Roque with FC Bayern München : UEFA Champions League Winner 2001 !
Santa Cruz was part of a successful team for Bayern, winning 5 Bundesliga Champion titles, 4 German Cup titles, playing 238 matches and scoring 54 goals ! He also won the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League and the 2001 Intercontinental Club (FIFA Cub World Cup). He left Bayern Munich in July 2007 to join Blackburn Rovers , where he scored 19 goals in the first Premier league season. In June 2009, he joined FC Manchester City. Since this transfer, he was loaned out to Blackburn and Real Betis before joining Malaga where he realised excellent results. In 2016, he returned to his first club Olimpia Asuncion, winning four titles in a row and becoming the Top Goals Scorer in Paraguay. At 38 ! He has played until now 651 club matches in his career with 197 goals.
RECORD – FATI THE YOUNGEST GOAL SCORER
Ansu Fati, the striker of FC Barcelona, became last week (10 December 2019) THE YOUNGEST GOAL SCORER in the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HISTORY with 17 years and 40 days ! The record holder was before him Peter Ofari-Quaye, a Ghana Player from Olimpiakos, who was 17 years and 195 days old the 1 October 1997.
Youngest UEFA Champions League scorers
17 years 40 days: Ansu Fati (Inter Milan – FC Barcelona 1-2, 10/12/2019 17 years 195 days: Peter Ofori-Quaye (Rosenborg – Olympiakos 5-1, 01/10/1997) 17 years 216 days: Mateo Kovačić (Dinamo Zagreb – Lyon 1-7, 07/12/2011) 17 years 218 days: Cesc Fàbregas (Arsenal – Rosenborg 5-1, 07/12/2004) 17 years 218 days: Bojan Krkić (Schalke O4 – FC Barcelona 0-1, 01/04/2008) 17 years 241 days: Martin Klein (Panathinaikos – Sparta Praha 2-1, 27/02/2002) 17 years 263 days: Breel Embolo (FC Basel – FC Ludogorets 4-0, 04/11/2014) 17 years 300 days: Aaron Ramsey (Fenerbahce – Arsenal 2-5, 21/10/2008) 17 years 352 days: Karim Benzema (Lyon – Rosenborg 2-1, 06/12/2005) 18 years 44 days: Alex Oxlade-Chambelain (Arsenal – Olympiakos 2-1, 28/09/2011)
RECORD – MAARTEN VANDEVOORT, THE YOUNGEST GOALKEEPER
Maarten Vandevoort (Belgium), 17 years, and 287 days, is the YOUNGEST GOALKEEPER in THE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HISTORY. Last week, he played with Genk against Napoli and broke the Record of Mile Svilar (Benfica), who holds the record from 2017 with 18 years and 52 days.
Youngest UEFA Champions League goalkeepers
17 years 287 days: Maarten Vandevoordt (Napoli – Genk 4-0, 10/12/2019) 18 years 52 days: Mile Svilar (Benfica – FC Manchester United 0-1, 18/10/2017) 18 years 118 days: Iker Casillas (Olympiakos – Real Madrid CF 3-3, 15/09/1999) 18 years 125 days: Nikolay Mihaylov (Levski Sofia – Werder Bremen 0-3, 31/10/2006) 18 years 159 days: Igor Akinfeev (FC Porto – CSKA Moscow 0-0, 14/09/2004) 18 years 246 days: Adrian Šemper (Lyon – Dinamo Zagreb 3-0, 14/09/2016) 18 years 262 days: Maxim Kabanov (Spartak – Feyenoord 2-2, 18/09/2001) 18 years 327 days: David de Gea (FC Porto – Atlético de Madrid 2-0, 30/09/2009) 19 years 61 days: Pepe Reina (FC Barcelona – fenerbahce 1-0, 31/10/2001) 19 years 77 days: Timon Wellenreuther (Schalke 04 – Real Madrid CF 0-2, 18/02/2015)
ATALANTA IN THE HISTORY
Atalanta Bergamasco Calcio, fondly called Atalanta has made double history at the end of the qualifying stages of the UEFA Champions League 2019. The 112-year-old Italian club has not only qualified for the first time in its history for the group stage of the competition, but also becomes the first club ever in the UEFA Champions league to qualify for the knockout stage after losing three games in the qualifiers. Atalanta trounced hosts, Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 at OSK Metalist Stadion, Kharkiv on the last playing day of the round to secure the second spot in Group C whose winners are Manchester City, and will now be part of the draws for the round of 16 taking place at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday December 16.
Another historical happening at the end of the qualifiers is the fact that for the first time in the history of the competition, only five different leagues will be represented in the round of 16. Those include: Juventus, Napoli, Atalanta from Serie A; Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City from the English Premier League; Atlético, Valencia, Real Madrid, and Barcelona from the La Liga; Paris St. Germain and Lyon from La ligue; and Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund from Bundesliga.
CAMEROON UNVEIL MASCOT, ANTHEM OF 2020 TOTAL AFRICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Local Organizing Committee, COCAN, for the 2020 Total African Championships, CHAN, has unveiled the propositions for mascot and anthem of the championships in a highly publicized ceremony in the Yaounde Multi-purpose Sports Complex. However, the samples presented still require the approval of the Confederation for African Football, CAF.
Interspersed with dance performances from the country’s four cultural regions, a comedian, and video clips of Cameroon’s performances during their maiden win of the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations, and their 1990 World Cup thriller in Italy, as well as some of President Biya’s memorable quotes during receptions granted the various levels of the national team, the audience watched with relish, video clips of the three anthems and three mascot propositions retained for the final sprint.
The three anthems, “Welcome to Cameroon”, “Mboundja la bas”, “We`re the Champions”, were respectively presented in live performances; and then of the three mascots presented, the one with the caption, “Captain Leo” seemed to have won the hearts of viewers and online voters. But the jury decided to adapt it to the local context and so renamed the mascot “Tara” with jersey number 237, the calling code for Cameroon. Tara thus outclassed “Magnan” and “Mola” as a more original appellation.While the anthem and mascot retained will be forwarded to the Confederation for African Football for approval.
The event that took place last night and covered live by the state-owned Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV, featured, five Government Ministers; former CAF President, Issa Hayatou; IFFHS Legend, Albert Roger Milla; the President of the Cameroon Football Federation; former players of the Cameroon National Football Team; some players of the Cameroon CHAN team, and a cross-section of other stakeholders in Cameroon football.
Mr. Richard Masters has been appointed chief executive of the Premier League, an internal appointment that brings to an end a botched year-long search. Mr Masters has been interim chief of English football’s top division since November 2018, overseeing the league’s operations as it launched three failed attempts to replace Richard Scudamore, who left the top job after almost two decades. After Premier League appointing leading Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh as Brand Ambassador, now it’s LaLiga’s turn. India’s leading cricketer, nicknamed Hitman, Rohit Sharma happy to pose as Brand Ambassador for LaLiga.