million euros was the reported record fee paid out by Real Madrid on Monday to sign Gareth Bale. The Welshman is now the most expensive player in history, a tag he inherits from his new Merengue team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo. Real, in fact, have been responsible for all five of the last record-setting transfers, with Luis Figo (€45m, 2000), Zinedine Zidane (€65m, 2001), Kaka (€70m, 2009) and Cristiano Ronaldo (€94m, 2009) having preceded Bale. One hundred was also a significant number on the other side of Spain’s great divide this week, with Lionel Messi completing a century of away league goals and setting a new Liga record, edging one ahead of Real legend Hugo Sanchez. The Argentinian reached this milestone with a first-half hat-trick in the 3-2 win over Valencia, his third such treble after dazzling Arsenal in the opening 45 in April 2010 and Mallorca in October 2011.
matches unbeaten was the run that came to a shock end for Guangzhou Evergrande on Saturday. The runaway Chinese Super League leaders hadn’t been beaten since a 3-2 AFC Champions League loss to Urawa Reds in April and, domestically, had gone over ten months since going down 1-0 to Beijing Guoan on the final day of last season. Relegation-threatened Tianjin Teda were unlikely candidates to bring the Guangzhou juggernaut to halt, but Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu’s solitary 16th-minute goal was enough to secure a surprise victory. Not that the defeat has done much to dent the title hopes of Marcello Lippi’s beaten side, who remain a massive 14 points clear of their nearest challengers.
coaches have now won the UEFA Super Cup with two different clubs after Pep Guardiola followed in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson and Louis van Gaal. The former Barcelona coach also helped end an unwanted record for German clubs, who had been beaten in every one of their previous seven Super Cups. Bayern alone had been responsible for three of those defeats, giving them the worst track record of any club in the tournament’s history, and only a 121st-minute equaliser from Javi Martinez – unsurprisingly, the latest-ever goal in a Super Cup – prevented them extending that sequence. As it was, they ended the match having completed their collection of all four UEFA club trophies, a feat only previously achieved by Juventus, Ajax, Barcelona and Chelsea.
wins, all by a 1-0 scoreline, and all secured by a single Daniel Sturridge goal, are responsible for Liverpool’s best start to a season in 19 years. Only twice in English top-flight history – Manchester City (1912/13) and Huddersfield Town (1920/21) – have a team begun their campaign with three successive 1-0 wins, and neither previous run was achieved by goals from just one player. Sturridge is also the first player to score in each of Liverpool’s opening three Premier League matches since Robbie Fowler in 1994/95, and his latest – the winner against Manchester United on Sunday – came on his 24th birthday. It ensured a miserable afternoon for United manager David Moyes, who has yet to register a win at Anfield in 12 attempts.
goals have been contributed by Marek Hamsik to each of Napoli’s Serie A matches thus far, making him the only player – besides Alessandro del Piero in 2002/03 – to begin the Italian season with successive doubles. Hamsik’s brace helped bring to an end Verona’s six-match unbeaten run and left the Slovakian one short of 75 goals for I Partenopei. Another player on target over the weekend was Carlos Tevez, whose goal in Juventus’s 4-1 win over Lazio maintained the forward’s five-year unbeaten run in league matches in which he has scored. In the last 46 top-flight games marked by a Tevez goal, his team have won 42 of them and drawn the other four. Both the Argentinian and Hamsik contributed to a bumper week in Serie A, with a total of 43 goals shared across ten matches. This represented the league's highest tally since 2005.