Runs, records and retirement
© AFP

The end of Sir Alex Ferguson’s remarkable career in management features in a FIFA.com stats review that also focuses on mixed fortunes for Greuther Furth, Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain and Porto.

9,680

days after taking charge at Manchester United, Ferguson announced last Wednesday that he would be retiring from the game at the end of this season. Sunday’s trip to West Bromwich Albion will bring down the curtain on a success-laden spell at Old Trafford that has brought the Scot 38 trophies and 625 top flight victories alone. It says everything for his longevity that 45 per cent of the players involved in the Premier League this season, not to mention 17 of United’s first team squad, were not even born when he took charge in 1986. There have also been a staggering 1,278 managerial departures in the English football league in the intervening years. Ferguson's players certainly provided him with a fitting Old Trafford send-off on Sunday as they beat Swansea 2-1, with Rio Ferdinand scoring in the Premier League for the first time in 1,947 days to emerge as the Red Devils’ unlikely match-winner. The centre-half’s decisive strike was the 1535th competitive United goal at Old Trafford since the outgoing manager first took his place in the dugout.

56

league matches without defeat was the combined tally with which Benfica and Porto entered Saturday’s meeting at the Estadio do Dragao. And for much of the match, it appeared that a 1-1 draw would send both sides into the final game of the season with their unbeaten runs intact at 29 games apiece. That all changed in the 92nd minute though, when Kelvin’s dramatic late winner edged Porto ahead in the title race and inflicted their rivals’ first top flight reverse in over 13 months. The result leave the Oporto outfit within touching distance of a third successive title and 27th overall, which would take them to within five of Benfica’s national record.

21

consecutive games was the tally at which Lionel Messi’s remarkable, record-breaking La Liga scoring run came to an end on Sunday. Aided by a recurrence of his hamstring injury, Atletico Madrid succeeded in doing what no other Spanish side had managed since Celta Vigo way back on 3 November, since when Messi has racked up an impressive 33 league goals. There was, however, consolation for the Barcelona star in the shape of another Liga title, his 20th major trophy since debuting in 2004. And even without him finding the net, Barça still managed to conjure up a 2-1 win over Atletico and, in the process, set a new Liga record by scoring in their 27th successive away match.

19

years without a league title was the long wait that came to an end for Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday. This latest championship was just the capital club’s third overall, and they remain seven off the national record of Saint-Etienne, who themselves have not won a top-flight title in 32 years. For three PSG players – David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and MaxwellFrance is the fourth different country in which they have won a championship. Only Mateja Kezman, a former PSG player himself, can beat that tally, with the Serbian striker boasting league winner’s medals from five separate nations. Carlo Ancelotti’s current crop of Parisiens undoubtedly proved themselves to be worthy champions, emerging as Ligue 1’s highest scorers (63 goals for) and tightest defensive unit (21 goals against), with goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu managing an impressive 22 clean sheets.

0

wins in 17 home matches this season is the dreadful record that has earned Greuther Furth an unwanted slice of Bundesliga history. Never before in 50 years of the German top flight had a team gone through an entire campaign without tasting victory at least once in their own backyard. While the league’s bottom side were breaking the wrong kind of records, runaway champions Bayern Munich continue to make headlines for the right reasons. Saturday’s 3-0 win over Augsburg was the 36th consecutive Bundesliga match in which they have scored, equalling a club record. It also took Jupp Heynckes’ side on to an unprecedented points tally of 88 for the season and left them 22 clear of nearest rivals Borussia Dortmund – the biggest gap ever seen between the top two Bundesliga sides.