Kings, queens and a young prince
This was a week in which football history was made, with Barcelona’s historic triumph in Abu Dhabi followed by Marta’s landmark coronation at the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich. These momentous moments are complemented by a Jamie Carragher milestone, a Bayer Leverkusen success story and another appearance from young Romelo Lukaku in 2009's final 'Week in Numbers'.
Liverpool appearances was the landmark reached by Jamie Carragher on Saturday. The 31-year-old is only the ninth Reds player to achieve this milestone, and every one of the previous eight debuted under either Bill Shankly or Bob Paisley. Ian Callaghan’s club record of 857 appearances is likely to prove beyond him, but Carragher has set his sights on climbing to second in the all-time standings by surpassing Ray Clemence’s tally of 665. Carragher has won two FA Cups, two League Cups and one UEFA Champions Leage since making his debut in a 2-1 defeat by Middlesbrough 13 years ago. However, the one honour that has eluded the Bootle-born centre-half – a Premier League winner's medal – looks more elusive than ever after Liverpool slumped to eighth following a 2-0 loss at rock-bottom Portsmouth.
per cent of the Bundesliga season has gone and, still, Bayer Leverkusen have yet to taste defeat. The inevitable consequence of this excellent record is that Die Werkself have claimed just their second-ever Herbstmeisterschaft by leading the table at the midway stage of the season. In doing so, Bayer have become only the third team in history to remain unbeaten throughout the first half of a Bundesliga campaign. Yet although only 15 Herbstmeisters have failed to go on to win the title since the league’s formation in 1963, the current pacesetters will recall only too well that they were one of the teams to falter, surrendering top spot to Borussia Dortmund in season 2001/02.
years and 218 days was the age at which Romelu Lukaku became the third-youngest goalscorer in the history of European club competitions on Thursday. The Anderlecht prodigy’s exploits this season have ensured frequent appearances in FIFA.com’s statistical reviews, and last week’s strike against Ajax saw him become only the ninth player under the age of 17 to score in a UEFA club fixture. Remarkably, the youngest-ever European goalscorer was also on the books of Anderlecht, with Ghanaian Nii Lamptey on target for the Belgians against Roma in March 1991 at the tender age of just 16 years and 100 days.
major trophies in 2009 have ensured a special place in football folklore for Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. The all-conquering Catalans are, after all, the first team in history to accrue such an impressive array of honours in a single calendar year. Their historic sextuple was completed on Saturday when Guardiola’s side added the FIFA Club World Cup to their La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League, Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Super Cup crowns. In overcoming Estudiantes in a dramatic final, Barça also became only the third club to have won every major European trophy and the Intercontinental Cup or FIFA Club World Cup.
successive FIFA Women’s World Player awards was the unprecedented feat achieved by Marta on Monday, strengthening the Brazilian’s claim to be considered the greatest-ever female player. Still just 23, the Los Angeles Sol star has now surpassed legendary predecessors Birgit Prinz and Mia Hamm, who won the award for three and two consecutive years respectively. Lionel Messi broke new ground too, becoming the first-ever Argentinian to claim the men’s title and only the 11th player to celebrate a Ballon d’Or-FIFA World Player double in the same year.