In FIFA.com’s latest stats review, we reflect on a week that witnessed the boosting of Pep Guardiola’s record trophy haul, fresh scoring feats from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Raul, mixed omens for Manchester City, and disaster for one of Colombia’s most successful clubs.
days after his last Bundesliga hat-trick, Raul returned to treble-scoring ways on Saturday in a record-breaking Schalke victory. Die Königsblauen’s 5-0 win over Werder Bremen was their most resounding yet under current coach Huub Stevens, and their biggest ever in fixtures against Werder. Raul, meanwhile, now has six goals in his last six appearances, form which has prompted talk of a possible international recall. The Spanish striker wasn’t the only man making headlines in Germany over the past week, though, with Bayern Munich’s 3-0 win over Cologne on Friday enabling coach Jupp Heynckes to claim a record 455th Bundesliga win and surpass Otto Rehhagel’s previous benchmark.
years of uninterrupted top-flight football was the long and proud sequence that came to a shock end for Colombia’s America de Cali on Sunday. In a climax to the season that had echoes of River Plate’s dramatic drop from the Argentinian top flight, Los Diablos Rojos were consigned to second-tier football after a nerve-jangling relegation play-off. The Cali outfit lost 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate draw, completing a startling fall from grace for a club whose 13 titles make it Colombia’s record champions alongside rivals Millonarios.
Premier League goals was the landmark reached by Manchester City on Sunday, establishing Roberto Mancini’s side as the first English team in 49 years to reach the half-century mark after just 16 games. Not since Tottenham Hotspur managed this same feat in just 15 matches at the start of the 1962/63 season has anyone made such a prolific start to a top-flight season, with City having accrued 13 goals more than their second-placed Manchester rivals. Mancini’s side also find themselves on 41 points and in the history of the Premier League, only three teams have accrued 40 points or more at this stage of the season – and all three have gone on to win the title. There is, however, one note of caution. City have, after all, led England’s top tier at Christmas in three previous seasons, and in each of those have failed to go on to win the championship.
out of 16: that is Barcelona’s amazing haul of major trophies in the competitions they have competed in under Pep Guardiola. Their latest, the FIFA Club World Cup title secured on Sunday, means that Guardiola’s side have now won five trophies this year, having already collected their domestic championship and the Spanish Super Cup along with the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA European Super Cup. Arguably even more impressive is the fact that they became the first team to win two FIFA Club World Cups with a team that included 11 homegrown players. Of the 14 who competed in their record 4-0 final win over Santos, only three – Eric Abidal, Dani Alves and Javier Mascherano – did not come through the club’s youth system. Among the stars who have rolled off the La Masia conveyer belt is Sergio Busquets, and the midfielder enjoyed a performance that was literally flawless, with all 66 of his passes against Santos finding a team-mate. Lionel Messi was better still, and his latest brace – which took his tally for the season to 29 goals from 26 appearances – established the Barça No10 as the first player to score in separate FIFA Club World Cup finals.
consecutive Serie A fixtures have now witnessed a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal, the first time the Swede has enjoyed such a consistent scoring run in Italy’s top flight. The AC Milan striker was on target once again last night in his team’s 2-0 win at Cagliari and duly became the first Rossoneri player since Filippo Inzaghi in 2008 to find the net in five successive league matches. While Ibrahimovic, with seven goals from his last six appearances, unsurprisingly tops Milan’s scoring chart, Antonio Nocerino’s position in second place is less expected. The former Palermo man scored his sixth Serie A goal of the season in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Siena, ensuring that he is already enjoying the most prolific season for a Milan midfielder since Massimo Ambrosini scored seven across the entire 2008/09 campaign. However, while I Rossoneri are enjoying an 11-match unbeaten run, they still trail a Juventus side who remain the only team in Europe’s big five leagues still to taste defeat. The last time Juve stayed unbeaten for so long at the start of a Serie A season was back in 1949.