With the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ now taking its place in the memories of fans, the footballing globe has begun to turn its attentions back to club football. But before attentions were fully switched two giants of the international game bowed out, with numbers to back up their worldwide acclaim, while four domestic champions were crowned and some eye-catching South Americans feature in FIFA.com's weekly stats round-up.
is the combined number of international caps shared between retiring captains Steven Gerrard (114) and Philipp Lahm (113). The England midfielder signed off from duty third in his nation's all-time appearance list, behind Peter Shilton and David Beckham, while Lahm trails just Lothar Matthaus, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski in the colours of Germany. Lahm's final game saw him become the fourth Bayern Munich captain to lift the trophy and bows out with the astounding record of having started every single one of his 113 games for his country. Gerrard meanwhile leaves the Three Lions having never lost during the 18 games he has scored in, winning fourteen of them, while ending with an impressive win ratio of 62.3%, with only 16 games for his country ending in defeat.
years after Freddy Rincon become the first Colombian to play for Real Madrid, James Rodriguez is set to become the second after completing his mega-money move from Monaco. Los Merengues did sign Bogota-born Edwin Congo for €5m in 1999, but despite signing a six-year contract at the Bernabeu, the striker never made a first-team appearance. Since Rincon last appeared for Real in 1996, 28 South Americans have done the same – 12 Argentinians, 12 Brazilians, three Uruguayans and one Chilean – while 19 La Liga clubs have been represented by a Colombian.
years and 175 days is the age at which Rogerio Ceni scored this week, a feat made all the more remarkable for the fact the Brazilian is a goalkeeper. The Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador saw some incredible action this summer at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, including Spain 1-5 Netherlands, Germany 4-0 Portugal and Switzerland 2-5 France, but none of those matches saw a keeper step up to take a spot kick. 13 minutes into Sao Paulo’s clash with Bahia, Ademilson broke through the home side’s defence and was brought down in the box by Avine. It was down to set piece specialist Ceni to trot up from the back and fire the penalty expertly into the top left-hand corner, past his opposite number Douglas Pires. The Sao Paulo stopper has over 100 career goals to his name and, unsurprisingly, was the oldest goalscorer in the world of club football this week.
different sides were crowned champion of their respective country this week. With most of the footballing world waiting in eager anticipation for the European club season to resume after an action-packed summer in Brazil, teams in far stretches of the globe have been putting the finishing touches to their victorious league campaigns. In Bangladesh, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi saw off their nearest challengers Abahani Ltd. 1-0 to extend their lead at the top of the table to 12 points with just two games remaining, claiming their second league title. Tafea FC won their second successive National Soccer League title in Vanuatu, seeing off Amicale FC 3-1 in the final. Both sides progress to the OFC Champions League with a dream FIFA Club World Cup appearance a possibility. In the Gran Final of the Liga Mayor in the Dominican Republic, it was Moca who emerged victorious with a 6-1 aggregate victory, their third title in this edition of the league. Finally, Hoang Anh Attapeu are the champions of Laos even though they did not play this week. Their nearest challengers Lao Toyota lost to leave them six points behind with one game left to play.