Omens, possession & Fenômeno's farewell
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Ronaldo’s retirement, Napoli’s Roman conquest and opening-weekend action in Argentina feature alongside Wayne Rooney and Marcelo’s happy goalscoring habits in FIFA.com’s latest statistical review.

726

minutes without an away goal was the run that came to a long-awaited end for Newell’s Old Boys on Friday. Nonetheless, while Juan Manuel Cobelli was finally able to end the Rosario outfit’s five-month wait for a competitive strike on the road, the big forward's effort wasn’t enough to get his team’s Clausura campaign off to a winning start. While La Lepra went down 2-1 at Estudiantes, Boca Juniors fared even worse, crashing 4-1 at home to Godoy Cruz. With expectations high following the arrival of coach Julio Falcioni and the return to fitness of Juan Riquelme, the defeat came as a major shock, although history should have told us that El Expreso are something of a bogey team for Boca. Godoy, in fact, are now unbeaten in their last six matches against Los Xeneizes, and have never been beaten at La Bombonera, winning two and drawing two of their four visits to Boca’s fabled arena.

420

goals in 620 appearances for club and country is the colossal tally with which Ronaldo bid a tearful farewell to the beautiful game. O Fenômeno retires as one of only two players - the other being Zinedine Zidane - to have won the FIFA World Player award on three separate occasions, while his 62 Brazil goals leave him second only to Pele (77). Of course, one tournament in which Ronaldo’s scoring exploits know no equal is the FIFA World Cup™. In 19 appearances in the competition, he notched 15 goals and set up another four, surpassing Gerd Muller’s previous goalscoring record and leaving a lofty target for future striking greats to aim at.

71

goals is the freshly-bolstered tally that has re-established Raul as the all-time leading scorer in UEFA club competitions. The Schalke striker nudged back in front of long-term rival Filippo Inzaghi by marking his return to Spain with a third UEFA Champions League goal for the Germans in a 1-1 draw at Valencia. With a glittering Real Madrid career having yielded 69 Champions League goals and one apiece in the European Supercup and Intercontinental Cup, last night’s equaliser at the Mestalla was sufficient for Raul to knock Inzaghi off top spot. Out for the season with a knee injury, the 37-year-old AC Milan striker remains stuck on 70, while fellow veterans Andriy Shevchenko and Ruud van Nistelrooy follow behind on 64 and 62 respectively.

41

Premier League matches at Old Trafford have included a Wayne Rooney goal, and all 41 have ended the same way: in victory for Manchester United. The Red Devils’ run of never losing a home top-flight fixture in which Rooney has scored continued on Saturday when his sublime scissor-kick sealed a 2-1 win over Manchester City. Ten of the England’s striker’s last 11 goals have now come at the Theatre of Dreams, while United – having gone ahead through Nani – continued a run of nine Manchester derbies in which the team scoring first has gone on to take all three points.

32

per cent was the share of possession enjoyed by Real Madrid at Espanyol on Saturday – the lowest they have managed in a La Liga match over the past five seasons. Not that it mattered. Despite losing Iker Casillas to an early red card, Jose Mourinho’s side made maximum use of what little ball they had, registering ten shots on target and securing a crucial 1-0 win. Marcelo was Mourinho's match-winner and, to date, Real have won every one of the eight league matches in which the Brazilian has scored. Elsewhere, and as if to reinforce that possession isn’t everything, Barcelona enjoyed 82 per cent of the ball away to Sporting Gijon – their second-highest tally of the season - only to draw 1-1, ending their record 16-match winning run.

17

years and five months without an away win over Roma was the run that came to an end for Napoli on Saturday. A 2-0 triumph, their first victory at the Olimpico since a 3-2 thriller on 12 September 1993, was secured – predictably – by two goals from Edinson Cavani, the fifth Serie A brace of the Uruguayan’s career. With 20 goals to his name this season, Cavani has already surpassed Careca’s Napoli tally from the 1988/89 season and needs just three more to set a new club record and surpass the benchmark set in the 1930s by Antonio Vojak. The 24-year-old is also in line to become the first Napoli player to finish Serie A top scorer since the one and only Diego Maradona managed it with just 15 goals in the 1987/88 season. Cavani’s closest challenger is Antonio Di Natale, who also grabbed a brace over the weekend – in Udinese's 3-0 win at Cesena – to take his overall Serie A tally to 120, leaving him just three short of Gianluca Vialli and David Trezeguet in the all-time list.