Friday 02 June 2017, 08:01

South American superstars and calcio’s new cape

  • Has calcio got a new, adventurous image?

  • The long-standing landmark of ‘The Little Cannon’ finally explodes

  • A club based by world's largest ice cave melting rock-like records 


years after Real Madrid’s Ferenc Puskas became the last player to score in three consecutive Copa del Rey finals, Neymar repeated the feat. Against Athletic Bilbao in 2015, Sevilla the following year and Alaves this one, the Brazilian netted Barcelona’s second goal in a victory. Lionel Messi was also on target on Saturday, becoming the first player to score in four Copa del Rey deciders since Telmo Zarra bagged in his fifth in 1950. The result made Barcelona the first side to win three straight Copa Del Rey crowns since 1953, when they themselves, inspired by Ladislao Kubala, did it, and saw Luis Enrique leave Camp Nou having won all six of his single-match finals in the hot-seat.


successive seasons had astonishingly ended with the Bundesliga producing the most goals per game in Europe’s top five leagues – until it came third in 2016/17. The last time the German top flight had not been the most prolific of the quintet was in 1989/90, when it came second (2.53 goals per game) to the English one (2.6), whose figure was indebted to Gary Lineker, John Barnes, Kerry Dixon, Matt Le Tissier, David Platt, Ian Rush and Rod Wallace scoring 140 goals between them. The Bundesliga, which averaged a whopping 3.16 goals per game in 2013/14 – and that despite no player scoring more than 20 goals – managed 2.87 this term. That would usually have been enough, but La Liga averaged 2.94 and Serie A – the birthplace of Catenaccio – 2.96. A whopping 44 goals in the final round (4.4 per game) saw the Italian top tier record its highest tally (1,123) since 1950/51 (1,192).


goals in six appearances at Wembley is Alexis Sanchez’s proud record after his opener helped Arsenal upset Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final. ‘El Niño Maravilla’ scored both Chile’s goals as they beat England 2-0 at the hallowed London venue in a 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ warm-up, and has netted five in as many games there – all victories – for the Gunners. Victor Moses handicapped the Blues by becoming just the fifth player to be sent off in an FA Cup final after Kevin Moran, Jose Antonio Reyes, Pablo Zabaleta and Chris Smalling, with Aaron Ramsey, who hit the winner the penultimate time his club played in the fixture, repeating the feat. That resulted in Arsenal outranking Manchester United to become the FA Cup’s outright record champions (13 titles) and Arsene Wenger surpassing George Ramsay as its most successful manager (seven).


matches without victory in the FIFA U-20 World Cup is what record six-time champions Argentina fell on to in Korea – amazingly after going ten years without defeat in the competition. After Pablo Zabaleta, Lucas Biglia, Lionel Messi and Co lost 1-0 to a Freddy Adu-inspired USA in their Netherlands 2005 curtain-raiser, the Argentinians went 19 games without losing – one shy of the all-time record held by Brazil – until a 3-2 reverse by Ghana in 2015. Argentina carried a four-match winless streak into Korea Republic 2017, and began it with back-to-back losses by England and the hosts. Argentina extinguished the possibility of going seven matches without a win at the tournament for the first time with a 5-0 thrashing of Guinea, but it was insufficient to prevent them making it opening-round exits at back-to-back U-20 World Cups for the first time.


consecutive league-and-cup doubles is what Red Bull Salzburg became only the third European team in history to achieve. Dinamo Tirana were the first, between 1950 and ’53 in Albania, while Dinamo Tbilisi – inspired by Kakha Kaladze, Georgi Kinkladze and Giorgi Demetradze – conquered Georgia’s two biggest trophies in six successive seasons from 1992 to ’97. Salzburg edged Altach on the final day of the Austrian Bundesliga on Sunday to finish 18 points clear on 81 points – the second-highest total in the competition’s history. They consequently tied Austria Vienna’s record of winning four straight Bundesliga titles, set between 1978 and ’81. The side coached by Oscar Garcia, who played alongside his brother Roger for Barcelona in the 1990s, then beat Rapid Vienna 2-1 in the Austrian Cup final on Thursday. The 1933-founded club had never won the tournament until 2012, but have now conquered five of the last six editions. Salzburg have also won their last 22 matches in the Austrian Cup, scoring 102 goals and conceding just 16.

Quick hits 11 Czech Golden Balls now belong to Petr Cech. The 6ft 5ins goalkeeper has failed to lift the player of the year award only twice since first claiming it in 2005, with Pavel Nedved and David Lafata triumphant in 2009 and 2016 respectively.

5 red cards in a Serie A season: that is the all-time record, set by Parma’s fiery redhead Luigi Apolloni in 2000/01, AC Milan’s Gabriel Paletta tied by being sent off against Cagliari on the final day.

0 per cent: that was Liga de Quito’s record in Uruguay until they avoided defeat there, at the seventh time of asking, on Wednesday. The 2-1 reverse of Defensor Sporting at the Centenario sent LDU into the last 32 of the Copa Sulamericana.