Thursday, April 18, 2013

FOOTBALL : The unbreakable records in the Modern World Part I

Unbreakable Records

" There were just 10 minutes remaining when Robert Lewandowski finally got himself on the scoresheet in Borussia Dortmund's 6-1 rout of Greuther Furth on Saturday afternoon. 
In the context of the match, the Poland international’s goal meant absolutely nothing, but it was a hugely significant strike all the same, as it means the forward has now netted in 11 consecutive Bundesliga games. 
However, it still seems unlikely that Lewandowski has any hope of achieving world-record status, as Mark Doyle outlines in this look at some of football's seemingly unreachable milestones ... "

Magical Messi

The record that Lewandowski is chasing belongs to a certain Lionel Messi, who has now netted in 19 consecutive league games. We say 'now' because Messi could yet extend his remarkable run, which has been interrupted by injury.

The previous record was 16, set by Teodor Peterek, and had stood since 1938. Therefore, with Messi having not just reached this historic landmark, but gone three games beyond it, one wonders if the Argentine's final tally will ever be matched, let alone bettered

Super Steaua

Steaua Bucharest’s place in history seems even more assured, with the Romanians having gone unbeaten for 106 league games between August 1986 and September 1989. 

To put that in context, the second best unblemished streak in a domestic league stands at 63 (Sheriff Tiraspol). The great Milan side of the early late 1980s and early 90s 'only' managed to go 58 Serie A games without tasting defeat, while Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ fell one game shy of a half-century. Real Madrid, meanwhile, have never even gone more than 30 games unbeaten in la Liga.

Masters of Madrid

Madrid, though, can at least take comfort in the fact they hold two records that will most likely never be equalled. The legendary Blancos line-up of Paco Gento, Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano won the first five European Cups, between 1956 and 1960. It is difficult to imagine any club ever claiming five consecutive European trophies again.

Indeed, not one winner has managed to successfully defend their title since the tournament was rebranded as the Champions League in 1992. In addition, Madrid also went unbeaten at home for a mind-blowing eight years and 121 games between 1957 and 1965.

Milla time

Things have changed dramatically on the field too. The game has sped up significantly over the past 20 years, putting a greater physical strain on players and their bodies. Football is becoming a young man’s game. 

There are, of course, freaks of nature like Javier Zanetti and Ryan Giggs but more and more players are retiring from the international game in order to prolong their club careers. For that very reason, Roger Milla’s record as the oldest goalscorer in World Cup history - he was 42 when he netted against Russia in 1994 - seems set in stone.

The mythical Maracana

That aforementioned Madrid side enjoyed their crowning moment at Hampden Park. The Glasgow ground holds the record for the largest attendance for a European club game in history, 149,433 for the 1937 Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Aberdeen. 

The all-time attendance record, though, is 199,854, for the 1950 World Cup decider between Brazil and Uruguay. Put quite simply, they do not make stadia like Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana anymore, which, in truth, is probably no bad thing as the age of the all-seater has been founded on far higher standards of safety.

 Goal king of Malaysia

With international careers now being willingly curtailed, and increasingly powerful clubs pushing with greater determination than ever before to reduce the amount of international fixtures, it is doubtful whether any player will ever match Mokhtar Dahari’s remarkable goalscoring exploits for Malaysia. 

The little-known forward, who tragically passed away at the age of 37 because of Motor neurone disease, netted an incredible 125 times in 167 appearances for his country. Only one other player has ever hit treble figures, Ali Daei, with 109 goals for Iran.

Goalscoring goalkeeper

The abolition of the passback rule played its part in speeding up the game by keeping the ball ‘in play’ a great deal more. One of the by-products of that law change has been the need for goalkeepers to become more comfortable in possession. 

However, while the post-passback era has championed a new breed of shot-stopper, it still seems highly unlikely that anyone will ever overtake Sao Paulo legend Rogerio Ceni as the game’s most prolific goalkeeper. Why? Well, the tally is a staggering 110 - and counting.

Footballing farce

It is remarkable that the officials did not lose count during AS Adema’s infamous THB Champions League clash with Madagascan rivals Stade Olymique L'Emyrne in 2002. Having been left enraged by a refereeing decision before Adema had opened the scoring, SOE elected to score 148 consecutive own goals in arguably the most bizarre and easily the most self-destructive protest in football history. 

Indeed, Adema managed to win a game 149-0 without touching the ball between the first goal and the last. Of all the records on this list, this looks most secure.

Resolute Roux

In saying that, Guy Roux's name is unlikely to ever be removed from the record books. The legendary French coach was in charge of Auxerre for a frankly unbelievable 41 years, 36 of which were uninterrupted. Roux first took the helm in 1961 but he left to do his military service a year later. However, he returned in 1964 and stayed until 2005, even though he served as a sporting director for a short spell at the turn of the century.

Given the way in which coaches nowadays can lose their jobs for three bad results, we will never see the likes of Roux's reign in the professional game ever again.

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