Life begins at 40 for Ronaldo

In many ways, football is a simple game: the team that scores the most goals, wins. Yet in every week, in every league and in every single match, there are intriguing statistical sub-plots that help make the beautiful game the fascinating spectacle that it is.

That's why, every week, we at FIFA.com take a look at the numbers behind the results, highlighting football's biggest winners and losers from the week just past. In this, the latest of our round-ups, we pay tribute to the goalscoring exploits of Messrs Ronaldo, Sukur and Hoff, while explaining why going 29 games unbeaten has still not been enough to take Crvena Zvezda to the top of the Serbian standings.

119

days shy of his 37th birthday, Hakan Sukur became the week's oldest goalscorer when he rounded off a thrilling 5-3 win for Galatasaray away to Sivasspor on Sunday. The Turkish national team's all-time leading marksman, who eclipsed Tanju Colak's top-flight scoring record last September, is now just two Super Lig goals short of the 250 mark. While Sukur has confirmed that he will leave Gala at the end of the season, Nacho Camacho, the week's youngest scorer at 17 years 239 days, is just starting out on what looks certain to be a glittering career with Atletico Madrid. The midfield prodigy scored twice in Sunday's 3-0 win over Recreativo to become Los Colchoneros' second-youngest goalscorer behind Fernando Torres.

40

goals in all competitions over a single season was a milestone previously shared by two Manchester United legends, Denis Law and Ruud van Nistelrooy, before Cristiano Ronaldo reached the landmark on Saturday. Law, the Red Devils' second-highest goalscorer, managed the feat in 1963/64, racking up a tally of 46 goals that has never been emulated at Old Trafford. Van Nistelrooy came remarkably close five years ago, chalking up 44 goals in 52 games in season 2002/03, the Dutchman's most productive campaign in a prolific five-year spell in Manchester. With just two matches remaining of his club's season, one of which is the UEFA Champions League final, it seems unlikely that Ronaldo will match either Law or Van Nistelrooy, but England's Player of the Year can still reflect with pride on having eclipsed George Best's 40-year-old United scoring record for a non-striker.

29

successive matches without defeat would, one might imagine, be sufficient to propel just about any team to the top of their league standings. Not in Serbia, however. There, despite Crvena Zvezda's impressive streak, which has seen them go through the entire season unbeaten, it is Partizan Belgrade who remain at the Superliga summit, three points clear with as many games remaining. With both Serbian title rivals having claimed identical 1-0 away wins at the weekend, it is Partizan - by virtue of their better wins-to-draws ratio - who sit better placed to claim their first league title since 2005.

18

years on from their last successful championship defence, Real Madrid retained their La Liga crown on Sunday with three games to spare. The title, secured by a steely 2-1 win over Osasuna, extends Real's historical dominance of the national top flight, with their running tally of 31 league titles putting the 18 of arch-rivals Barcelona firmly in the shade. And if Barça's frustrated fans thought their season had reached a low ebb with Real's title win, they will now be forced to endure the discomfiting sight of their team forming a guard of honour to applaud the champions on to the park ahead of tonight's Clásico at the Bernabeu.

15

top-flight goals apiece has confirmed Tottenham Hotspur's Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov as one of the most successful strike partnership's in the English Premier League's history. Not since Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney scored 21 and 16 respectively in 2005/06 have both halves of a central pairing managed this feat, which Keane sealed on Saturday with the decisive goal in a 1-0 win away to Reading. It is 10 years since two strikers from any club other than Manchester United have proved so prolific, with Chris Sutton and Kevin Gallagher's combined tally of 34 for Blackburn Rovers in 1997/98 having set the benchmark. Yet this is the third time a Tottenham duo have linked to such impressive effect, with Keane and Berbatov following in the footsteps of the successful Jurgen Klinsmann-Teddy Sheringham and Sheringham-Chris Armstrong partnerships of 1994/95 and 1995/96.

10

minutes was all the time Espen Hoff required to fire home the week's fastest hat-trick, the Lyn Oslo winger racking up his treble between minutes 40 and 50 to inspire his team to a 4-0 win over Aalesunds. The 26-year-old, capped twice for Norway's national team, now has five goals for the season, although four of the former Odd Grenland star's tally - and two of his weekend hat-trick - have come from the penalty spot. With six games played, Lyn find themselves in third, four points behind early pacesetters Stabaek. The week's other hat-trick heroes, meanwhile, included Galatasary's Arda Turan, Florentin Petre of CSKA Sofia and Dynamo Kiev's Guinean striker Ismael Bangoura.