Titles, trebles and a Wembley wizard
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Scoring feats dominate FIFA.com’s latest stats review, with Lionel Messi, Didier Drogba, Diego Milito and Yoan Gouffran taking starring roles alongside championship-winners Ajax and Anderlecht.

72

goals in a single season is the incredible haul that has enabled Messi to set a new world record. By following up his treble against Malaga last Wednesday with all four of Barcelona’s goals in Saturday’s defeat of Espanyol, the Argentinian phenomenon not only surpassed Gerd Muller’s European benchmark of 67, but the overall record set when Archie Stark found the net 70 times for USA’s Bethlehem Steel in 1924/25. Two La Liga hat-tricks in the space of four days also took Messi on to 14 overall and beyond the club record set by Cesar Rodriguez between 1942 and 1955. Remarkably, Messi’s has scored now more league goals (50) this season than Johan Cruyff managed in his entire Barça career, and also boasts a higher tally than 13 La Liga’s 20 clubs. The only record that might yet prove beyond his grasp is the 60 league goals scored by English legend Dixie Dean’s in the 1927/28 season, which remains unmatched across all of Europe’s big five leagues.

31

league titles was the landmark reached by Ajax last Wednesday, extending their national record and setting a new benchmark for the Benelux. That was until Sunday, when Anderlecht replicated the Amsterdam giants’ achievement, cementing their status as the most successful side in Belgian history with a 31st championship of their own. Les Mauves sealed the title in the most dramatic of circumstances, a 94th-minute penalty from Guillaume Gillet earning a decisive 1-1 draw against closest challengers Club Brugge, who also rank a distant second in the all-time table, with 13 championships. Over in the Netherlands, meanwhile, Ajax’s late charge for the finish line culminated in a 2-0 win over VVV Venlo – the club’s 14th victory in succession. Frank de Boer’s side duly became the first Ajax team since the European Cup winners of the mid-90s, in 1995 and 1996, to successfully defend the Eredivisie crown.

13

seconds of Bordeaux’s match at Auxerre had elapsed on Monday when Yoan Gouffran scored the fastest Ligue 1 goal in over six years. The 25-year-old’s speedy strike fell just short of the record, set by a Bordeaux predecessor, Denílson, who found the net after just 11 seconds on 26 March 2006. Early goals seem to be an established speciality for Les Girondins; Monday’s first-minute effort was their fourth of the season, the highest tally of any side in France’s top flight. Gouffran went on to add a second just four minutes later, and Bordeaux were 3-0 up within another five – the shortest period any Ligue 1 side had taken to build up a three-goal lead in the past 15 years. They went on to win 4-2, becoming the just the second team in 597 Ligue 1 matches to score four times at Auxerre’s Stade de l'Abbe-Deschamps.

8

goals in as many Wembley appearances is Didier Drogba’s impressive record after he became the first player to score in four different FA Cup finals on Saturday. By scoring Chelsea’s second in their 2-1 win over Liverpool, the Ivorian maintained his unblemished record of scoring for the Blues in each of his six appearances in domestic finals. The Londoners possessed another lucky mascot in Ashley Cole, who boosted his already-record tally of FA Cup winners’ medals to seven, the first three of which were won during his time with Arsenal. Excluding defeats on penalties, Chelsea have now lost just one of their last 34 FA Cup matches and have taken home the trophy in four of the last six seasons.

3

goals in a league derby is a feat that, before Sunday, only one Inter Milan player had ever managed. Diego Milito managed to double the membership of that exclusive club in a 4-2 win on Sunday, becoming the first man to score a Serie A treble for I Nerazzurri against their great rivals since Istvan Nyers in November 1953. No-one from either side of the Milan divide had scored a league hat-trick in this fixture for over 52 years, with Jose Altafini’s for AC Milan in March 1960 the most recent prior to Milito’s. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was also on target, and with 28 Serie goals now to his name – five more than his nearest challengers – he seems certain to become the first player to top Italy’s scoring chart with two different clubs. However, for the first time since 2003, the Swede will end the season without a championship medal, this after Juventus – still unbeaten after 37 league games - extended to 28 their record tally of Italian titles.