As 2013 draws to a close, FIFA.com looks over some of the year’s most eye-catching football stats.
days after taking charge at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson announced on 8 May that he would be retiring from the game at the end of this season. His final match against West Bromwich Albion was Ferguson’s 1500th at United and brought down the curtain on a success-laden spell at Old Trafford that brought the Scot 38 trophies and 625 top flight victories.
competitive appearances was the milestone reached by the ageless Ryan Giggs in March. The Manchester United veteran, still going strong at 40, is now on 1024 - a record for the Old Trafford outfit.
Brazil goals was the impressive landmark reached by futsal icon Falcao in December. The evergreen 36-year-old’s latest feat came just over a year after Falcao became the highest-scoring Brazilian in history, reaching the magic number of 337 en route to inspiring his team to a fairy tale triumph at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012.
goals was the long-standing world record, set by the legendary Mia Hamm, that Abby Wambach surpassed in June. The current USA talisman eclipsed her idol and former team-mate with a 29-minute hat-trick in the Americans’ 5-0 victory over Korea Republic, taking her tally to 160 in 207 appearances.
international goals was the landmark reached by Miroslav Klose in September, taking him level with Gerd Muller as Germany's all-time leading scorer. The Lazio striker equalled Muller’s 39-year-old record with the opener in the Germans' 3-0 win over Austria, and goes into 2014 with his sights set on Brazil - and Ronaldo’s record tally of 15 FIFA World Cup goals.
consecutive matches was the point at which Barcelona’s mammoth La Liga scoring run came to an end in October. The Spanish champions drew 0-0 at Osasuna, bringing to a close a streak that began in January 2012 and almost doubled the previous record of 35, set by Real Madrid.
goals is the all-time Portugal national team scoring record, first set by Pauleta, that Cristiano Ronaldo equalled with his hat-trick in the 3-2 FIFA World Cup™ play-off second leg win over Sweden. Ronaldo’s four strikes over the tie were among 69 he accumulated during a hugely impressive year for both club and country.
red cards was the astounding, world-record career total Independiente’s Gerardo Bedoya reached in a 2-0 defeat by Olimpia in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores semi-final in July. The 38-year-old, who has played for clubs in his native Colombia, Argentina and Mexico, as well as for his country, had been without a sending off since the previous September - his longest such run in over 15 years.
international goals was the mark reached by Robin van Persie in October with a hat-trick in the Netherlands’ 8-1 demolition of Hungary, taking him past Patrick Kluivert and top of his country’s list of all-time leading marksmen. With 11 goals, the 30-year-old Manchester United striker finished as the top scorer in European qualifying for Brazil 2014, one clear of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Edin Dzeko.
competitive matches unbeaten: that was the world record that came to an end for Spain against Brazil in June’s FIFA Confederations Cup Final. The previous best was 27 games, set when France went without defeat in non-friendlies between 1994 and ’99. La Roja’s last loss in a competitive fixture had been a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in their 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ opener, and they had gone on to win 24 and drawn five across that competition, UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying and its finals, the Brazil 2014 preliminaries and the Confederations Cup.
goals were scored by Nigeria en route to winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013, creating a new tournament record. The previous benchmark of 24 had been set by Germany in the 2011 edition.
years and 358 days was the age at which Sergio Ramos became the youngest European player to accumulate 100 caps in March. Ramos eclipsed Lukas Podolski in the continental standings by 21 days, although the global record is still held by Korea Republic legend Cha Bum-Kun, who was just 139 days past his 24th birthday when he reached the century-mark.
CAF Champions League titles was the tally reached by Al Ahly after the Egyptian giants boosted their already-record haul in November. A 2-0 second leg win over South Africa’s Orlando Pirates enabled the Egyptians to retain the trophy and extend their advantage over old rivals Zamalek, who have five African crowns, in the all-time standings. Earlier in their campaign, Ahly had lost at home in the Champions League for the first time in 11 years – beaten 3-0 by the same Pirates team they would later see off in the final.
successive UEFA Women’s European Championships was the run extended by Germany in September. A 1-0 win over Norway – who, in nine editions, are the only other nation to have lifted the trophy – secured the latest title for a team whose run of continental supremacy began way back in 1995. Earlier in the tournament, the Norwegians had ended the Germans two decade-long, 59-match unbeaten EURO run with a 1-0 victory during the group phase.
major trophies, three defeats: that was the story of 2013 for Bayern Munich, who finished the year by adding the FIFA Club World Cup to their Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup titles. The Bavarians won 49 and drew four of their 56 competitive matches. For Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, the Club World Cup was his 16th trophy in just five-and-a-half years as a coach, and saw him equal Alex Ferguson and Carlos Bianchi’s record of eight major international prizes.
successive FIFA Ballon d’Ors is the sequence that allowed Lionel Messi to set yet another record in January. In landing the game’s most coveted individual prize once again, the Barcelona talisman eclipsed the mark he shared with Michel Platini, who won three Ballon d’Ors in consecutive years between 1983 and 1985.