Legends’ landmarks and devils’ despair
© AFP

Goals and success are the prevailing themes of FIFA.com’s latest stats review, with Manchester United the sole exception as we reflect on the latest achievements of Barcelona, Celtic, Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo.

750

La Liga wins at the Camp Nou was the milestone celebrated by Barcelona on Sunday with a 4-0 victory over Elche. This latest home league triumph was the Spanish champions’ 24th in succession and ensures that they lead the Spanish table for a 56th consecutive matchday. Star billing went to Alexis Sanchez, who scored the first hat-trick of his Barça career, adding to solitary trebles at each of his previous clubs: Cobreloa, Colo Colo and Udinese. The Chilean is enjoying his most impressive season yet in Spain and, with 11 goals in 2013/14, has already equalled his best previous goal return for a single La Liga campaign. It was also a notable encounter for Victor Valdes, who marked his 250th competitive appearance at the Camp Nou with a 126th clean sheet in those matches.

400

goals was the landmark reached by Cristiano Ronaldo in Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Celta Vigo on Monday. The Portuguese icon celebrated this impressive milestone in his 653rd appearance for club and country, with his goals having been spread across Real (230), Manchester United (118), Sporting Lisbon (5) and Portugal (47). A further breakdown of those strikes show that 259 have come from his right foot, 99 have been penalties or free-kicks, and that they have come against 109 different teams. Intriguingly, the Real No7 – known as CR7 - has scored in every minute from one-to-90... except seven. Ronaldo’s 400th goal was his second in the win over Celta; earlier in the same match, his first had taken him past Hugo Sanchez as the fifth-highest league goalscorer in the club’s history.

100

AC Milan goals was the milestone reached, and then passed, by Kaka in his side’s 3-0 win over Atalanta on Monday. The Brazilian claimed his 11th top-flight brace to finish the match on 101 for I Rossoneri, ten years and three months after opening his account for the club against Inter Milan on 5 October 2003. The most significant result of the week, though, was registered in Turin, where Juventus equalled their club record sequence of ten straight top-flight wins, first set in 1932, with a 3-0 victory over title rivals Roma. It was the capital club’s first defeat under Rudi Garcia, and first in 20 league matches, and they also ended a Serie A match with two red cards for the first time in almost two years. The consequence of all this is that Juventus are ‘winter champions’ for the 27th time and, worryingly for Roma and the rest, I Bianconeri have gone on to win the Scudetto in 20 of the 26 previous occasions.

22-0

is the aggregate score that has been racked up by Celtic in their last eight Scottish Premier League matches. The Bhoys bolstered that tally with a 4-0 win at St Mirren on Sunday and extended to eight games their run of clean sheets in the nation’s top flight. Neil Lennon’s side, in fact, have yet to taste defeat in 20 league matches this season, establishing them as one of just five European sides - the others being Bayern Munich, Olympiakos, Sparta Prague and Steaua Bucharest - still undefeated. This fine run has left Celtic 13 points clear of closest challengers Aberdeen and heavy favourites to add championship number 45 to the club’s list of honours.

4

home defeats in six matches is the run currently being endured by David Moyes’ Manchester United. The Red Devils never once suffered such a poor sequence of results at Old Trafford during Sir Alex Ferguson’s 27-year reign, but Sunday’s FA Cup defeat to Swansea City guaranteed Moyes an unwanted piece of history. In total, United have been beaten five times at home since the start of the season – the first time in 24 seasons that they have suffered so many defeats before February. Swansea’s 2-1 success also consigned the English champions to a third-round FA Cup exit for just the third time in 29 years. Things only got worse for Moyes' side last night, when Sunderland beat them 2-1 in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final. United have now lost their opening three matches in a calendar year for the first time since 1932 - 82 years ago.