Domestic joy for Penarol, Blackpool and Toluca, a continental conquest by Inter Milan, and a major acquisition at Camp Nou provide the focus for FIFA.com’s latest statistical review.
Uruguayan championships was the landmark reached by Penarol last week, when a 1-1 draw with old rivals Nacional sealed a 2-1 aggregate success in the season's overall final. Adding to their mammoth tally of titles has merely cemented the Montevideo outfit’s place among the game’s most successful clubs, with only Scottish giants Rangers (53) and Northern Ireland's Linfield (49) having won their domestic crown more often. Nacional fans will point out that Penarol’s total includes five championships won by predecessors CURCC (Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club), but what cannot be disputed is that Los Manyas have maintained a remarkable record of success. Underlining that fact is that the seven-year gap between this title and their last equals the longest period they have ever gone without claiming Uruguay’s top prize.
million euros is the considerable sum Barcelona parted with last Friday to bring David Villa to Camp Nou. The Spain international thus became the first major signing of a traditionally frenetic European summer, taking his place at number seven in the top ten most expensive transfers of all time. The price tag may have been hefty, but Barça at least know what they are getting for their money. Villa, after all, leaves Valencia having scored 107 goals in 166 league matches - including 49 in 65 over the past two seasons – and has never finished a La Liga campaign with fewer than 15 goals.
league titles was the milestone reached by Toluca on Sunday, after a nerve-shredding Mexican Clausura play-off final against Santos Laguna. As with the most recent of their previous championship successes, penalties were required to settle the outcome, with Los Diablos Rojos holding their nerve to win the shootout 4-3 after a 2-2 aggregate draw. Toluca now stand within a single title of matching Guadalajara, whose 11 championships make them the most successful club of Mexico’s professional era. Real Club Espana still hold the overall record, having won the title 15 times, but 14 of those came prior to the dawn of professionalism 67 years ago.
years is all it has taken for Blackpool to make the journey from England’s fourth and bottom tier to the country’s top flight. The Seasiders’ fairy tale ascent was capped on Saturday, when over 35,000 of their fans – a quarter of the town’s population – travelled to Wembley and watched Ian Holloway’s team twice come from behind to beat Cardiff City 3-2 in the Championship play-off final. With so much at stake, including an estimated £90m worth of Premier League riches, these matches are generally tight affairs. But Blackpool and Cardiff ended a three-year stretch of 1-0 scorelines by netting five goals in the first half alone – a new Championship play-off record. Holloway’s side had been tipped for relegation at the start of their season but the result of their manager's bold attacking philosophy is that the Seasiders, whose Bloomfield Road stadium holds just 12,555, are looking forward to their first season in the top flight since 1971.
clubs can now boast a European and domestic treble after Inter Milan joined this exclusive club over the weekend. Before Saturday, only Celtic (1967), Ajax (1972), PSV (1988), Manchester United (1999) and Barcelona (2009) had ever added European club football's top trophy to a national league and cup double, and no Italian side had ever achieved the feat. Jose Mourinho’s side rewrote the history books, however, and in doing so took Milan past Madrid as the most successful city in the history of the continent's premier club competition, with ten crowns - seven seized by arch-rivals AC - to the Spanish capital’s nine. Mourinho also became only the third coach, after Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld, to win the tournament with two different clubs, while Samuel Eto’o became the third player to lift the trophy with different employers in successive seasons, following Paulo Sousa and Marcel Desailly. However, the star of the show as Inter ended their 45-year wait was Diego Milito, whose match-winning brace saw him join Hector Rial (1956) and Hernan Crespo (2005) as the only Argentinean players to have scored twice in the final.
With most club competitions around the world having reached their conclusion, FIFA.com’s 'Week in Numbers' will be taking a break in the coming weeks. However, our statistical analysis of the beautiful game will merely gather momentum as the FIFA World Cup™ approaches, and anyone visiting our dedicated statistics section will be able to read intriguing insights from South Africa and compare player performances using the innovative Castrol Index.