In FIFA.com’s latest stats review, Manchester United’s latest league title features alongside a remarkable goal spurt from Valencia, a record transfer fee in Germany, the emulating of a legend by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a day to remember for Salzburg’s star player.
minutes of Salzburg’s Austrian Bundesliga encounter with Wolfsberger had elapsed when Jonathan Soriano arrived at the Red Bull Arena. It had been a busy morning for the former Barcelona striker, who had come directly from attending the birth of his daughter, Abril. The occasion seemed to inspire though because, after being thrown on at half-time with the score locked at 2-2, Soriano put his side in front after just four minutes and went on to score a brilliant hat-trick in a 6-2 victory. He later described the day as “incredible”, adding: "I don't think I'm going to forget it in a hurry." The treble was the Spaniard’s first of the season, although he has now scored eight times in his last four appearances and, with 25 for the campaign, is just two behind Austria’s current leading scorer, Philipp Hosiner.
million euros is the fee that Bayern Munich will pay Borussia Dortmund for Mario Gotze, it was revealed yesterday, making the 20-year-old the most expensive German player in history. The Gotze deal surpassed the record of €30m set when his future team-mate, Mario Gomez, joined Bayern from Stuttgart in 2009. Gomez helped repay a large chunk of his fee last night by getting himself on the scoresheet as the German champions claimed a stunning, record-equalling 4-0 victory over Barcelona. It was the Catalans’ joint-heaviest defeat in European competition, and the first time they had been beaten by a four-goal margin in any arena since crashing 4-0 to Getafe in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg in 2007. Naturally, the omens do not bode well for Barça. In the entire history of European club competitions, only three teams – Leixoes in 1961/62, Partizan Belgrade in 1984/85 and Real Madrid in 1985/86 - have ever progressed having lost a first leg by four goals or more. No-one has ever managed it in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League.
Ligue 1 goals have already been scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic this season, making the Swede the first player to reach this mark in France’s top flight since Jean-Pierre Papin 21 years ago. Papin finished as his country’s top scorer for five successive seasons, and his highest tally of all – 30 in season 1989/90 – is still well within reach for Ibrahimovic. And while their star striker has been excelling, Paris Saint-Germain have also been impressive at the other end of the park, keeping 21 clean sheets this season – more than any other team in Europe’s big five leagues.
league championships was the landmark reached by Manchester United on Monday, strengthening their position as England’s record champions. This latest title was Ryan Giggs’ 13th, a tally that can be put in context by the fact it equals Arsenal’s entire haul over 127 years of league football. For Monday’s hat-trick hero, though, it was his first in 12 seasons as a professional. Robin van Persie has more than earned his winner’s medal too, having been the only player to participate in all 34 of United’s league games thus far. The Dutchman's third goal against Aston Villa was his 120th in the Premier League since arriving in the 2004/05 season. In the same period, only one player – his current strike partner, Wayne Rooney (141) – has scored more. Rooney himself reached a milestone on Monday by making his 400th appearance in all competitions for United, and needs just three more goals to reach the 200-mark.
goals in the space of six first-half minutes was the remarkable scoring burst that set Valencia on the way to a comfortable 5-1 win over Malaga on Saturday. It was the first time in over a decade that any team in Europe’s big five leagues has managed four goals in such a short space of time, with Borussia Dortmund the last to have done so in an identical 5-1 win over Freiburg in March 2002. And you need to look back to October 1957 for the last team in La Liga to have achieved such a feat, with Atletico Madrid responsible on that occasion in a 9-0 thrashing of Las Palmas.