Evergreen idols, eminent coaches
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Venerable veterans and charismatic coaches star in FIFA.com’s latest statistical review, with landmarks for Ahmed Hassan and Sol Campbell highlighted along with the achievements of Jose Mourinho and Eric Gerets. Barcelona also feature as we take our weekly look at the numbers behind the stories.

1348

days after what we all thought was his final Arsenal appearance, Sol Campbell returned to the Gunners’ starting XI on Saturday for the club’s FA Cup tie with Stoke City. It was, however, to be an unhappy homecoming for the 35-year-old as Arsene Wenger’s side crashed out with a shock 3-1 defeat to the Ricardo Fuller-inspired Potters. Among the consequences is that, for the first time in 13 years, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have all failed to make it past the fourth round of the world’s oldest cup competition. United at least made the most of their non-involvement by returning to the summit of the Premier League with a 4-0 win over Hull City in which the division’s leading marksman, Wayne Rooney, scored all their goals. The 24-year-old has now scored 12 times in his last ten league matches.

170

caps was the new African record set by Ahmed Hassan in Monday’s 3-1 CAF Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final win over Cameroon. The Egypt captain, who made his first international appearance 16 years ago, eclipsed another Pharaohs legend, Hossam Hassan, and moved up to third place in the global standings behind Saudi Arabia’s long-serving keeper Mohamed Al-Deayea (181) and Mexican stalwart Claudio Suarez (178). Hassan was also able to mark the occasion with two goals as Egypt marched on to the last four, extending their unbeaten sequence at the Cup of Nations to 17 matches and, in the process, smashing a record set by Nigeria between 1992 and 2002.

50

per cent of the Spanish league season has elapsed and, still, Barcelona have yet to taste defeat. In the history of La Liga, only six teams had ever managed to survive 19 rounds of matches without loss until the Catalans became the seventh with a 3-0 win at Real Valladolid on Saturday. Already assured of top spot, the reigning European and world champions maintained their five-point advantage, a position that does not bode well for the chasing pack. After all, since the current La Liga format was introduced in 1997, only one team – Real Sociedad in 2002/03 – have failed to win the title after leading the table by five points or more at the halfway stage.

7

years, 11 months and 110 matches have now passed since Jose Mourinho last lost a home league fixture. Chelsea were never beaten in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge during the Portuguese's three-year stint in their hot-seat, and he has continued this incredible record since switching to Inter Milan in 2007. Indeed, Mourinho’s last league loss came all the way back on 23 February 2002, when Beira Mar emerged from the Estadio das Antas with a shock 3-2 win over Porto. AC Milan had been widely tipped to bring this sequence to an end on Sunday, but instead suffered the ignominy of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of a team who were a man down for over two-thirds of the match. Inter have now won five ‘home’ Milan derbies in succession, their best-ever record since the modern Serie A was established in 1929.

5

different clubs in 4 different countries have now won league titles with Eric Gerets at the helm after the Belgian led Al Hilal to glory in Saudi Arabia. Gerets had previously tasted championship success in Belgium with Lierse and Club Brugge, then with Dutch giants PSV and, most recently, in Turkey with Galatasaray. The 55-year-old, who came so close to adding a French Ligue 1 winner's medal to his collection at Marseille last season, clinched this latest success with three games to spare, having built up 13 and 14-point leads over Al Shabab and Al Ittihad respectively. Al Hilal duly claimed their 12th league title, cementing their status as the most successful club side in Saudi Arabia’s history.