PSG’s 5 Worst Transfer Signings of the Decade
Over the last decade, Paris Saint-Germain has transformed from a sleeping giant into one of the most feared teams in all of Europe. The Qatar Sports Investment takeover in 2011 started it all. Their financial investment made it so PSG could compete financially in the transfer market and build up a squad capable of winning the UEFA Champions League. Eight years in though, that particular trophy continues to elude them, but it’s not due to lack of trying. Every transfer window, PSG is one of the most active clubs and they have spent a lot of cash on world-class players. However, when you spend money at the rate PSG has, not all transfers are going to turn out as good as Kylian Mbappé. With that in mind, I have created a list of PSG’s five worst signings of the decade. The criteria for this list are simple. we looked at how much the player cost, his statistics while at PSG, and the number of seasons with the club, all data as per iSports football API. So let’s begin looking back at the top five worst transfers this decade for Les Parisiens. Jesé The often forgotten Spaniard kicks off the list as one of the worst signings of the decade. Before coming to Paris, Jesé spent two seasons with Real Madrid, appearing in 63 matches where he scored 13 goals and 12 assists. As a result of putting up these numbers at a club like Real Madrid, it made Jesé, a desirable player. PSG would be the club willing to pay to bring the winger in. Les Parisiens forked over €25 million (Marca) in 2016, which is a reasonable fee for someone like Jesé at the time; however, the club would never come close to recouping any of that money. Jesé would go on to flop with PSG, playing 10 Ligue 1 matches and only scoring one goal. Also, the Spaniard would appear for 16 matches in all competitions during his time with PSG and would produce two, that’s right, two goals. Since the 2016-17 season, Jesé has spent his time out on different loan stints. Appearing for clubs like UD Las Palmas, Stoke City, Real Betis, and Sporting CP but never finding a home. Currently on loan at Sporting, the now 26-year-old is worth €5 million, according to Transfermrkt, but it’s hard envisioning anyone paying that sum. Finally, in his time with PSG, Jesé is more known for producing a Reggaeton music video rather than the two goals he scored. Hatem Ben Arfa The only positive of this transfer was that Hatem Ben Arfa arrived at PSG on a free transfer in 2016 (ESPN). The season before arriving in the capital club, Ben Arfa scored 17 goals in 34 appearances for OGC Nice. On the surface, obtaining an attacker who was coming off a free was smart business. Then it went south, pretty fast. The 2016-17 season would mark Ben Arfa’s first and last season with PSG. In 32 appearances, he only scored four goals. That would be all for the Frenchman as the following season; he wouldn’t appear for PSG in any competition after falling out of favor with then manager Unai Emery due to his attitude. Ben Arfa’s rift with Emery will be the lasting memory for PSG supporters. The two would meet in the UEFA Europa League last season, where Ben Arfa laughed at Emery for looking agitated as Arsenal FC fell to Stade Rennais in a surprise result. This season, the 32-year-old is without a club and currently suing PSG over lack of playing time. Grzegorz Krychowiak The 2016 summer transfer window is the worst of the decade for PSG. Along with Ben Arfa, the club brought in defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak from Sevilla FC. While at Sevilla, the now 29-year-old played two seasons for the club and made 90 appearances in all competitions for the club. In his final season with Sevilla, Krychowiak had impressive numbers. Winning 66 percent of his total duels and averaging 7.8 total duel wins per game, according to SofaScore. Other defensive numbers that stood out were his clearances per game (3.0), interceptions per game (4.5), and tackles per game (2.5), according to iSports API. With Thiago Motta at the end of his career, the Polish midfielder looked like a suitable replacement. PSG would pay €30 million to bring over Krychowiak (The Guardian). In his lone season with Paris, Krychowiak saw a dip in all his defensive numbers, which were his calling card. His total duels, interceptions, clearances, and tackles all went down. As the defending part of his duties took a hit, PSG supporters saw his other flaws, like his passing game. Then there was the rift with former manager Emery too. With Emery not playing him and his form not being up to par, it was a disaster from the start. After the 2016-17 season, Krychowiak went on loan twice. His first loan spell was to West Bromwich Albion, who would see relegation after that season. Krychowiak would then head to Russia on loan to FC Lokomotiv Moscow. Over the summer, he would make the move a permanent one as PSG were able to sell him to the Russian club for €12 million (iSports API). Benjamin Stambouli The 2016 summer window is one that keeps on giving as Benjamin Stambouli is the next name from that disastrous transfer window. The only positive about Stambouli is that the fee wasn’t high with PSG spending €8.6 million, according to Goal. Also, once they realize that Stambouli wouldn’t be a player for the long-term, Les Parisiens were able to recoup most of the money by selling him to FC Schalke 04 for €8 million as reported by ESPN. During his time with PSG, the Frenchman averaged 55 minutes per game and couldn’t cement a spot in the starting lineup for then-manager Laurent Blanc. Add in that Stambouli fell in the pecking order and was behind Krychowiak, Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi, and Adrien Rabiot, it made sense for PSG to move on from him and try to recoup some of the transfer fee. It’s not as bad as the other transfers I’ve mentioned since the club regained their money; however, seeing a transfer spend only one season with the club is never a good look. Layvin Kurzawa My choice for the fifth-worst transfer of the decade may be a debatable one. Unlike the previous four spots, there’s no clear-cut worst transfer. This choice will spark debate, but in this slot is Layvin Kurzawa (hey, at least I didn’t pick Neymar Jr. like ESPN!) When Kurzawa came over from AS Monaco, it appeared that PSG wouldn’t have to worry about the left-back position for a while. That wouldn’t be the case. After a few seasons, Kurzawa began breaking down. Since the 2014-15 season, the 27-year-old’s highest number of appearances in Ligue 1 is 20, as per iSports API. As a result of having an unreliable left-back, PSG has brought in competition for Kurzawa. In 2017-18, the club brought in Yuri Berchiche, who would take over the position. However, due to Financial Fair Play, Les Parisiens needed to offload Berchiche to make their numbers a little more palatable for investigators looking into their books. It looked as though Kurzawa would regain his left-back position, but PSG brought in someone cheaper to compete with Kurzawa. Juan Bernat would arrive ahead of the 2018-19 season to provide some depth and competition. During the summer, it didn’t look as though the Spaniard would usurp Kurzawa. Bernat was a flop with FC Bayern Munich but was able to eventually take over PSG’s left-back position, even scoring significant goals in the Champions League. Kurzawa’s inability to stay healthy and losing his starting position twice to newcomers is to why he will earn a spot for the worst transfer. For more details about sports event API, please visit iSportsapi.com. More articles, please follow https://www.isportsapi.com/blog-list/-1.html
Barcelona's Ansu Fati become the youngest Champions League goal scorer ever
Ansu Fati's record-breaking season continued, as he became the youngest player to score in the Champions League when he netted Barcelona's winner against Inter Milan on Tuesday. The teenage forward came off the bench at the San Siro to score in the 87th minute to seal a 2-1 victory that saw Inter Milan drop into the Europa League. Aged 17 years, 40 days, the goal sees Fati take the record from Peter Ofori-Quaye, who was 17 years, 194 days old when he scored his first Champions League goal for Olympiacos in 1997, according to iSports football API. "I've just been told [I have broken the record]. I am super happy with the goal and with the win," Fati said after the match. "It's a dream. Everything seems to be happening so quickly. It's just about enjoying myself and learning from the best. Every time I get a chance, I will try to take it, either by scoring goals or by working hard." Describing the goal, Fati said: "I gave the ball to Suarez, and he gave it back to me. And when I scored, I was surprised because the whole stadium was silent. I was thinking: 'What have I just done?' But I am really happy." Ansu had already become the youngest La Liga scorer for Barcelona earlier this season. He was 16 years, 304 days old when he netted against Osasuna in August. That record had been held by Bojan Krkic, whose first league goal for Barca came when he was 17 years, 53 days old. Lionel Messi's first arrived at 17 years, 331 days old, according to iSports API. A week after his goal against Osasuna, Ansu became the youngest player to score and assist a goal in the same game in La Liga when he made his first start for Barcelona against Valencia. His form this season was rewarded with an improved contract last week. For more information about sports event API, please visit iSportsapi.com. More articles, please follow https://www.isportsapi.com/blog-list/-1.html
Five of the best players never to win the Champions League
It is the pinnacle of European football, with every player dreaming of getting their hands on the Champions League trophy. However, not even some of the game’s greatest players manage to get their hands on Europe’s biggest prize. Five of the best players never to win the Champions League, according to iSports football API. Ruud van Nistelrooy Ruud van Nistelrooy is one of the most prolific goal scorers in European history, finding the net 60 times in Europe over the course of his playing days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. Joining United in 2001, the Dutchman’s move to Old Trafford two years after the club had famously conquered Europe in 1999, establishing himself as one of the most deadly strikers on the continent, winning the Champions League top goalscorer award in 2002, 2003 and 2005. His move to Real Madrid meant that he missed out on a winners medal when United won the Champions League in 2008, with Real Madrid not getting their hands on the trophy again until 2013, three years after the Dutchman’s departure. Zlatan Ibrahimovic Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Manchester United. All clubs who have won the European Cup on numerous occasions. They are also all clubs that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played for with great distinction at some point in his illustrious career. With that in mind, it’s pretty incredible to think that the Swedish striker hasn’t managed to get his hands on the most famous trophy in European football, in spite of his 49 European goals. Ronaldo One of the greatest strikers to have ever graced the game. Ronaldo, the original, the Brazilian, the Phenomenon. Like Zlatan, he has also played for plenty of clubs with European pedigree, including Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan. However, despite his clinical goalscoring talent, he only managed to find the net 14 times in the Champions League, with his infamous hat-trick against Manchester United one of his best nights on the continental stage, as per iSports API. Francesco Totti While the rest of the players on this list so far have played for clubs with plenty of European pedigree and a plethora of titles to their name, Roma icon Totti has not. Failing to get his hands on the biggest trophy in Europe is perhaps the ultimate price of his loyalty to his hometown club, where he spent all of his 25-year career. While he doesn’t have a Champions League winners medal to his name, it doesn’t take anything away from the career of one of the greats of European football. Gianluigi Buffon While Totti never even got close to being a European champion, the once most expensive goalkeeper in the world has come agonisingly close on a number of occasions, incredibly losing all three of the Champions League finals he has featured in. The first defeat came at Old Trafford in what was one of the most boring finals in living memory against AC Milan in 2003. More recently, he has suffered defeat at the hands of Barcelona in 2015 and Real Madrid in 2017. His brief move to PSG didn’t see his UCL fortunes improve, and has since returned to Juventus where his search for a winners medal goes on. Again, his lack of a European winner’s medal though takes nothing away from what has been a stellar career for this absolute legend of the game, who can of course console himself with a World Cup triumph and a boatload of Serie A winners medals. For more information about sports event API, please visit iSportsapi.com. More articles, please follow https://www.isportsapi.com/blog-list/-1.html
Ranking the six most expensive signings in La Liga history
Spanish clubs were once again Europe’s biggest spenders this summer, with La Liga’s top three of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid the three highest spending teams on the continent. Another host of expensive recruits have headed to Spanish football in 2019, but how have the country’s all-time priciest purchases fared since their big-money moves? We’ve looked back at Spanish football’s most expensive signings, and ranked the costliest six in La Liga history, according to iSports API data. Eden Hazard – €100m The Chelsea superstar finally secured his dream move to Real Madrid this summer, the Spanish giants having held a long-standing interest in the Belgian international. In seven seasons in English football Hazard had established himself as one of the Premier League‘s finest talents, winning two league titles and earning a host of individual accolades including the PFA Player’s Player and FWA Footballer of the Year awards. Hazard headed to the Bernabeu last summer for an initial fee of around €100m, and has been tasked with replacing the creative and goalscoring void left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2018 departure. His start has been underwhelming thus far, showing only glimpses of his talent with many questioning his work-rate. Hazard himself admits he arrived at the club overweight, and having scored just once in his first 11 appearances for the club in all competitions he will need to start performing soon to avoid being labelled a flop. Few players are under as much pressure as the marquee man in Madrid, and Hazard will hope his dream move does not turn into a nightmare. Gareth Bale – €94m Ignoring his recent troubles in the Spanish capital, it is hard to argue that Gareth Bale is not one of Britain’s greatest footballing exports. The Welsh international moved to Real Madrid in a then world-record deal from Tottenham in 2013, helping the club end their long wait for La Decima by scoring the winner as Madrid won their tenth European Cup. Since then Bale has added one La Liga title and three further Champions League trophies, including an incredible match-winning display off the bench to beat Liverpool in the 2018 final of the latter tournament in Kyiv. In 234 appearances he has scored 104 goals for the club, winning 13 honours in a trophy-laden period in Madrid. His failure to truly integrate into Spanish life and difficult relationship with manager Zinedine Zidane makes his future uncertain, though his achievements have been matched by few on this list. Ousmane Dembele – €105m Neymar’s world-record departure to Paris Saint-Germain saw Barcelona spend big in a bid to bolster their attacking options, making Borussia Dortmund star Ousmane Dembele the then second-most expensive player in football history in 2017. The France international had spent just one season at the German side after joining from Rennes, though Barcelona were sufficiently impressed to bring the winger to the Nou Camp in a club-record deal. Dembele would win a La Liga and Copa del Rey double in an injury-hit first season, making just 23 appearances in all competitions. His output improved in 2018/19, scoring 14 times in all competitions as a second successive league title was secured. In two seasons he is yet to truly justify his significant fee, whilst questions have also been asked over his attitude. The World Cup winner certainly possesses the talent to shine at the highest level and at just 22, Barcelona will hope he can fulfil his undoubted potential. Antoine Griezmann – €120m Having scored 94 La Liga goals in just 180 appearances during a five year spell at Atletico Madrid, Spanish champions Barcelona decided to raid their divisional rivals to secure the signing of the World Cup winning star in 2019. The French forward moved to the Nou Camp in a deal worth €120m, where he joined a potent attacking line-up including the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Regarded as one of the finest forwards in Spanish football, it was hoped Griezmann would perfectly compliment the Catalan side’s existing options but it has been a difficult adaptation so far. Despite scoring four times in 11 La Liga appearances, it has been questioned whether Griezmann’s style is suited to getting the best out of Messi – the key for any Barcelona boss – whilst his favoured position as a second striker does not exist in the club’s current set-up. More is expected of Griezmann than what he has currently produced, but undoubtedly an elite talent, he is likely to improve as he continues to settle into life at the club. Joao Felix – €126m Despite being regarded as one of European football’s most promising talents, Atletico Madrid’s record-breaking capture of the Portuguese starlet shocked the continent. The talented teenager had spent just one full season in the Benfica first-team, though after watching the forward score 20 goals in all competitions, Atletico smashed their transfer-record to bring Felix to Spain. The 19-year-old became the fourth most expensive signing in football history, moving to the Spanish capital to replace the outgoing Antoine Griezmann. Felix made his senior international debut for Portugal this past summer and has impressed in his first appearances for Atletico colours, opening his La Liga account with a goal against Eibar in September and scoring three times in 11 appearances so far, as per iSports API. The youngster will have to continue adapting to the incessant demands of Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who often places a huge work-load on his attacking players. A versatile player capable of playing as a forward or a deeper role, he looks to have the potential to develop into one of Europe’s leading players. Philippe Coutinho – €160m The most expensive signing in La Liga history, Brazil international Coutinho described his 2018 move to Barcelona as a ‘dream come true’. The midfielder had established himself as one of the best attacking talents in the Premier League during a five-year stay at Liverpool, before opting to move to Spain after a protracted chase by the Catalan side. Having initially adapted impressively to life in La Liga, helping the club to a league and cup double following his record-breaking January move, Coutinho’s performance dipped drastically in his first full season. The former Inter Milan star had been a key figure at Anfield but struggled to find his role in the Barcelona side, his influence minimal and saw him often targeted for criticism after a series of below-par displays. After just 18 months in Spain he was deemed surplus to requirements and allowed to leave the club, joining Bayern Munich on a season-long loan deal.
Barcelona’s five highest goalscorers in Champions League history
Few teams have enjoyed more success on the European stage in modern times than Barcelona. Crowned winners in the final edition of the European Cup, the Catalan side have since lifted the Champions League on a further four occasions since its rebranding in 1992, with only Liverpool, AC Milan and rivals Real Madrid having ever enjoyed greater success on club football’s biggest stage. The club’s Nou Camp home has played host to some of the tournament’s most iconic figures, and we’ve decided to look back at some of the greatest goalscorers to have donned the club’s famous colours. Here are Barcelona’s five highest goalscorers in Champions League history, according to iSports API. Neymar – 21 goals The Brazilian international arrived at the Nou Camp in a highly anticipated deal in 2013, and after a season of adaptation to life in Europe began to demonstrate his undoubted talents on the Champions League stage. Forming part of a famed attacking trio alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar would help fire Barcelona to a continental treble in 2014/15, scoring in the club’s Champions League final success over Juventus and finishing as the equal highest scorer in the competition. He would be instrumental in one of the club’s greatest ever results, the miraculous 6-1 comeback victory over Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, eventually moving to the French side later that year in a world-record deal after scoring 21 goals in 40 European appearances for Barcelona. Patrick Kluivert – 21 goals Kluivert would announce himself to world football following his emergence as a teenager as part of Ajax’s Golden Generation, famously scoring the winning goal as an 18-year-old as the Dutch side won the Champions League in 1995. Like many of that side he would depart for Europe’s giants, firstly to Milan before moving to Barcelona, where he continued to score prolifically. In six seasons in Spain Kluivert would strike up a prolific partnership with Rivaldo and score 124 goals, 21 of those coming in the Champions League, as per iSports API. Despite his best efforts, however, the semi-final stage would be as far as the forward would go in Barcelona colours, as his bid to add a second European Cup to his haul ultimately failed to materialise. Luis Suarez – 22 goals The second of the famed Neymar-Messi-Suarez trio to make our list, the Uruguayan has been a formidable presence in the Barcelona forward line since moving to Spain from Liverpool in 2014. His first season saw the club conquer Europe, forming a brilliant partnership with the aforementioned duo which saw Suarez score seven Champions League goals as Barcelona secured a treble under former boss Luis Enrique. Unpredictable but often brilliant, Suarez’s goalscoring exploits in Europe have dipped somewhat in recent seasons, though he remains key to Barcelona’s hopes of winning a sixth title and will hope to add to his record of 22 goals in 50 appearances during the current campaign. Rivaldo – 25 goals One of Brazilian football’s greatest players, Barcelona probably saw the peak years of Rivaldo during a hugely successful spell at the Nou Camp between 1997 and 2002. That five-year spell saw Rivaldo crowned as World Player of the Year in 1999, as he led the club to back-to-back La Liga titles and twice into the latter stages of the Champions League. Creative, skilful and with a penchant for the spectacular, Rivaldo would become a huge fan’s favourite to an adoring Nou Camp crowd. Whilst success would ultimately not come in the form of a Champions League winner’s medal at the Nou Camp, Rivaldo would make his impact on the biggest stage and scored 25 goals for the club, the second-highest amount in Barcelona history, according to iSports API. Lionel Messi – 112 goals Who else? Possessing more goals than the other four players on this list combined is Lionel Messi, who continues to expand the boundaries of what we thought was possible from an elite footballing talent. A four-times winner of the competition, Messi has hit 112 Champions League goals in just 137 appearances, second only to great rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the tournament’s history. The Argentine superstar has finished as the competition’s top scorer on six occasions, whilst no player has ever scored more than his eight Champions League hat-tricks. Averaging 0.82 goals per game, Messi has comfortably the best ratio since the rebranding of the old European Cup. He continues to thrive on Europe’s biggest stage, and will be the central figure in the club’s pursuit of a sixth Champions League title this season.
Real Madrid’s five highest goalscorers in Champions League history
For many clubs the Champions League is the pinnacle, but for Real Madrid it remains an obsession. The Spanish giants have a special relationship with Europe’s premier competition, with no side in history having been crowned champions of the continent on more occasions than Los Blancos. The club’s Bernabeu home has played host to some of the game’s most iconic stars, with several having produced their most memorable moments on Champions League nights. We’ve decided to look back at some of the club’s greatest, with a look at Real Madrid‘s five highest goal scorers in Champions League history, as per iSports API data. 5. Gareth Bale; Luis Figo; Guti – 16 goals The Welsh winger may be enduring an unhappy time in the Spanish capital at present, but there can be no denying Bale’s contribution to Real’s unprecedented success in the Champions League in recent seasons. Having arrived in a world-record deal in 2013, Bale would help the La Liga side to win the elusive La Decima title in 2014, scoring in the final victory over city rivals Atletico. The former Tottenham Hotspur man would then play his part in a hat-trick of consecutive titles between 2016 and 2018, the latter of which he came off the bench to score twice against Liverpool – the first of which was arguably one of the greatest goals in the competition’s history, according to iSports API. A four-time winner, Bale has scored 16 Champions League goals in 53 appearances since moving to the Bernabeu, a figure also matched by two midfield talents of the club’s first Galactico era – Luis Figo and Guti. 4. Fernando Morientes – 17 goals Part of the Real Madrid side who won three Champions League trophies between 1998 and 2002, Morientes enjoyed a hugely successful eight-year spell at the club after joining from Real Zaragoza before being squeezed out as the Galactico era began at the Bernabeu. A goalscorer in the competition’s first ever final between two teams from the same country in 2000, Morientes scored 17 Champions League goals for the club before departing on loan to Monaco, where he famously finished as the tournament’s top scorer and scored in both legs of their victory over parent club Real Madrid. The Spaniard joined Liverpool the next season, but he was cup-tied for their miraculous Champions League final triumph over AC Milan in Istanbul. 3. Karim Benzema – 48 goals An arguably underrated presence in a Real Madrid side that has dominated the Champions League in recent seasons, Karim Benzema has won the competition four times since moving to the Bernabeu from Lyon in 2009. Having helped Carlo Ancelotti’s side to La Decima in 2014, Benzema would be part of the side that would become the first of the Champions League era to retain the trophy by winning three consecutive editions between 2016 and 2018. A goalscorer in fortuitous circumstances in the latter final victory against Liverpool, Benzema has often scored goals at crucial moments in big European fixtures and has an impressive one in two record, scoring 48 Champions League goals in just 96 appearances for the club, as per iSports API. 2. Raul – 66 goals An iconic figure at the Bernabeu, the former Spain striker would come through the ranks at the club before establishing himself as one of their greatest ever goalscorers, whilst he would also become the Champions League’s most prolific forward until the arrival of the Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo era. Raul would help the Spanish giants to three Champions League titles with five years between 1998 and 2002, scoring in deciders against Valencia and Bayer Leverkusen respectively. Named as UEFA Club Forward of the Year for three successive seasons at the turn of the millennium, the former club captain is regarded as one of the best players in Real Madrid’s long and illustrious history and scored 66 goals in the famous white shirt. 1. Cristiano Ronaldo – 105 goals The greatest goalscorer in the history of both Real Madrid and the Champions League, the Portuguese superstar has often turned Europe’s elite tournament into his own personal playground during a glittering career at some of the continent’s leading clubs. Having moved to the Bernabeu in a world-record move from Manchester United in 2009, Ronaldo would hit a staggering 105 Champions League goals in just 101 appearances during nine seasons in the Spanish capital, helping the club to lift the trophy on four occasions and extend their record to 13 European Cups, recorded by iSports API. He would become the first player to win the trophy five times in the Champions League era, whilst also becoming the first player ever to score in three separate finals. His incredible list of records include the most goals in a single Champions League campaign (17), becoming the only player to score in 10 consecutive games and the most assists in the tournament’s history.
Five most expensive signings in Bundesliga history
Germany’s Bundesliga clubs broke their record transfer spend in the 2019 summer transfer window, with the 18 clubs splashing out around £670m on new talent. Notable arrivals to the division included the likes of Atletico Madrid defender Lucas Hernandez and Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho, whilst stars such as Benjamin Pavard, Mats Hummels and Thorgan Hazard transferred between divisional rivals. Following another summer of spending, where do the new additions rank in terms of the Bundesliga’s biggest ever buys? Here are the six most expensive signings in Bundesliga history, and it’s a list unsurprisingly dominated by one club, as per iSports API data. Arturo Vidal Juventus to Bayern Munich – €37m The powerhouse midfielder had spent four impressive years in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen before departing for Serie A and Juventus, before Bayern Munich opted to bring the Chilean back to German football in a €37m deal n 2015. Three seasons in Munich would deliver three successive Bundesliga titles, with Vidal bringing tenacity to his role as a box-to-box midfielder. He would also win one German Cup and two German Super Cups, scoring 22 goals in 123 appearances for the club before leaving for Barcelona in 2018, as per iSports API. Mario Götze Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich – €37m Having been a key figure in the Dortmund side which won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012, emerging star Götze shocked the club in 2013 by announcing he would be leaving for rivals Bayern Munich. The timing of the announcement sparked anger and came on the eve of the club’s Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid, with the news that the Dortmund starlet would defect for the Bavarian giants. Götze’s decision was in part due to the arrival of Pep Guardiola as manager in Munich, though the attacking midfielder struggled to establish himself as an undisputed first choice. Three seasons at Bayern brought three successive titles, though having found himself on the periphery and returned to Dortmund in 2016. Gotze looks like he will never quite fulfil that early promise, although he can console himself with having scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup. Javi Martinez Athletic Bilbao to Bayern – €40m Bayern Munich broke the Bundesliga transfer-record to sign midfielder Javi Martinez in 2012, activating the Spaniard’s €40m release clause in his Athletic Bilbao contract. Since his arrival from La Liga seven years ago, Martinez has won a host of trophies in Munich, including seven successive league titles, four German Cups and the 2013 Champions League, according to iSports API. Now 31, he continues to play an important role in the Bayern squad, with his ability to be equally adept in central midfield or at centre-back proving invaluable. Corentin Tolisso Lyon to Bayern Munich – €47.5m Despite boasting a wealth of midfield talent, serial Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich once again broke the league’s transfer-record in 2017, as Lyon midfielder Tolisso moved to Munich in a deal worth up to €47.5m in 2017. The 25-year-old scored 10 goals in 40 appearances during his debut season at the club, before a ruptured cruciate ligament injury hindered his progress and saw him miss the majority of the 2018/19 season, as per iSports API. An athletic box-to-box midfielder who is comfortable in a variety of midfield roles, Tolisso will hope to re-establish himself in the Bayern side this season as the club seek a record-extending 29th league title. Lucas Hernandez Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich – €80m The most expensive signing of Germany’s 2019 summer transfer window and the most expensive in Bundesliga history, champions Bayern Munich secured the signing of Atletico Madrid’s French international Hernandez for a fee of €80m. The 23-year-old played a key role as France were crowned world champions in 2018 and had impressed in La Liga during his time in the Spanish capital, also helping Diego Simeone’s side to the 2018 Europa League. Comfortable centrally or at left-back, he bolsters a defensive line already including the likes of Niklas Süle and Jerome Boateng and will be looking to establish himself as a leading figure in Niko Kovac’s side. A knee injury delayed his start to life in Munich but having now returned to full fitness, will be hoping to make a major impact following his arrival in Germany.
Rating the six players with the most Champions League hat-tricks
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski joined an exclusive list of players on Tuesday night, scoring four times against Red Star Belgrade to become just the sixth player in history to score three or more Champions League hat-tricks. Lewandowski’s fine form has seen him score 10 times already in this season’s group stage, but how does the prolific Pole compare to the players with the most Champions League trebles? Here are six players with the most Champions League hat-tricks, according to iSports API data. Mario Gomez – 3 hat-tricks The veteran forwards three hat-tricks all came during a successful and trophy-laden four-year spell at Bayern Munich, in which Gomez helped the club to seven honours including the 2013 Champions League. Gomez’ first treble came in a 4-0 group stage thrashing of CFR Cluj in November 2010, before repeating the feat almost a year to the day the following season in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Napoli at the Allianz Arena. The German got his third hat-trick during a 7-0 humiliation of Basel in the last-16 in 2012, helping himself to a four goal haul as Bayern recovered from a 1-0 first leg defeat to set a new record for biggest ever knock-out stage victory. A regular goal scorer at Champions League level, Gomez has scored 26 goals in 44 appearances in the tournament for Stuttgart and Bayern, recorded by iSports API. Luiz Adriano – 3 hat-tricks Perhaps a surprising name on this list, the Brazilian was for some time Shakhtar Donetsk’s go-to man as the Ukrainian side looked to make an impression on Europe’s biggest stage, netting his first Champions League treble in a 5-2 group stage victory over FC Nordsjælland in 2012. Adriano gained notoriety two years later however, becoming the first player in history to score hat-tricks in back-to-back games, a feat since matched by only Cristiano Ronaldo. Bate Borisov were the forward’s victims on both occasions, being thrashed by an aggregate score of 12-0 over two group stage fixtures, whilst the first of those meetings saw Adriano become just the second player in the tournament’s history to score five times in a single fixture. The former AC Milan and Spartak Moscow forward can be proud of his records, however, his lack of impact at the business end of the tournament counts against him in our rankings. Filippo Inzaghi – 3 hat-tricks An iconic penalty-box poacher of European football, Inzaghi would enjoy a stellar career at the likes of Juventus and AC Milan. Only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Raul have scored more than Inzaghi’s 70 goals in European club competition, with 46 of those strikes coming at Champions League level. That total is boosted by a record of three hat-tricks, the first coming in 4-1 victory against Dynamo Kiev for Juventus in 1998 before also netting a treble for the Turin side in an entertaining 4-4 draw with Hamburg two years later, according to iSports API. The Italian’s greatest success on the European stage would come with Milan, however, twice lifting the trophy which included scoring a match-winning brace in the 2007 final against Liverpool in Athens. Inzaghi scored a third Champions League hat-trick prior to that, hitting a treble in a 4-0 away victory at Deportivo La Coruna. A prolific scorer on football’s biggest stage and a two-time Champions League winner, Inzaghi scores highly in our ratings. Robert Lewandowski – 3 hat-tricks The latest player to join this list courtesy of a four-goal haul against Red Star Belgrade, the Bayern Munich forward is arguably enjoying the finest form of his career at present. The Polish international has long been recognised as one of the great forwards in the world game, having hit 63 goals in just 85 Champions League appearances during spells at Borussia Dortmund and Bayern. It would be Lewandowski’s first treble that would truly announce himself as a superstar, producing one of the great individual Champions League displays to hit four goals against Real Madrid in the 2013 semi-finals. Lewandowski’s performance would help Dortmund advance to a final meeting with Bundesliga rivals Bayern, ultimately ending in defeat in agonising fashion at Wembley. Since making the switch to Munich his incredible goalscoring exploits have continued, the 31-year-old hitting his second treble against Dinamo Zagreb in 2015 before his one-man demolition of Red Star. His latest showing saw him score four times in just 14 minutes, Lewandowski joining Lionel Messi as only the second player to score four or more Champions League goals in two different matches. Cristiano Ronaldo – 8 hat-tricks Holding the joint record for most Champions League hat-tricks is Juventus superstar Cristi**ano Ronaldo, with perhaps no player in history having thrived quite as much on European club football’s biggest stage. The most prolific goalscorer in the history of the competition, Ronaldo became the first player in the Champions League era to win the trophy five times, also becoming the only player to score in three separate finals. Ronaldo’s feats include scoring back-to-back hat-tricks against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the knockout stages as Real Madrid would win the second of three consecutive titles in 2017, remarkably netting two trebles within the space of 14 days in the latter stages of the tournament. Ronaldo would score seven hat-tricks during his spell in the Spanish capital before adding an eighth during his debut season at Juventus, the five-times Ballon d’Or winner having scored an incredible 127 goals in 167 appearances in the Champions League, as per iSports API. His move to Juventus was confirmed with the hope Ronaldo could inspire the Turin side to an elusive Champions League title, few would back against the forward delivering. Lionel Messi – 8 hat-tricks Level with Ronaldo is generational rival Lionel Messi, the duo having vied for the position of world’s best player for over a decade. The Barcelona star has lifted the trophy on four occasions with the Catalan side, scoring 113 Champions League goals in just 139 appearances during a glittering career at the Camp Nou. Those goals include eight hat-tricks, memorably dismantling Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal with a four-goal haul in a quarter-final in 2010 for his first Champions League treble, before becoming the first player in the competition’s history to score five times in a single fixture against Bayer Leverkusen two years later. The first of those performances led to former Arsenal boss Wenger describing Messi as the greatest player he had ever seen, and who are we to argue with that assessment?
Rating the 10 managers to have won the Premier League title
Only 10 managers have tasted the ultimate success since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, owing largely to the serial success of a certain Scot at Old Trafford. Remarkably no English manager is yet to win the country’s top flight since the formation of the Premier League, Howard Wilkinson at Leeds the last Englishman to have seen his side crowned champions in the season prior to the competition’s inaugural campaign. That said, several coaching greats have plied their trade in English football in the years since, and we’ve decided to rate each of the exclusive eight title-winning managers. Here is the Football Faithful‘s rating of the eight managers to win the Premier League, according to iSports API. Sir Alex Ferguson The Manchester United great would guide the club to the league title in the Premier League’s first-ever season, ending the club’s long title drought before overseeing two decades of domestic dominance. During his 26-year dynasty at the club he would win 36 trophies, including a record-breaking 13 Premier League titles as he evolved his winning machine at Old Trafford. Ferguson once famously said his greatest challenge was knocking arch-rivals Liverpool ‘off their f** perch’, a promise he made good on as he eclipsed their 18 title landmark before retiring following United’s 20th league success in 2013. From the iconic hairdryer to the manipulative mind games, they simply don’t make them like Fergie anymore, arguably the greatest manager in the history of the game. Rating: 10/10 Kenny Dalglish The first side to challenge the dominance of Manchester United were Blackburn Rovers, who backed by Jack Walker’s millions began an ambitious project to conquer English football. Guided by former Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish and propelled by the goals of Alan Shearer, Blackburn would deliver the ultimate success following a tantalising title race that would go down to the final day. Dalglish had guided the club to promotion to the top flight and on to a Premier League title triumph, but his switch to a Director of Football position coincided with the club’s decline. He would later enjoy less successful spells at Newcastle and Liverpool, though remains one of a select few managers to have won titles with two different English clubs, having won the old Division One three times in his first spell with Liverpool pre-Premier League. Rating: 5/10 Arsene Wenger An unknown upon his arrival at Highbury from Japanese football, Arsene Wenger would go on to become a revolutionary figure in the history of the Premier League. The Frenchman would help end Arsenal’s famed drinking culture and introduced innovative sports science methods, whilst his ability to unearth unheralded gems from foreign soils helped him develop a formidable side in North London. His early years would see him twice win a league and FA Cup double, before embarking on one of the most memorable campaigns in the history of English football by guiding Arsenal to an unbeaten season in 2003/04, becoming the first side in 115 years to complete a season without defeat. Wenger would spend an incredible 26 years at the club, though his latter years were hindered financially by the club’s move to the Emirates Stadium and saw Arsenal endure a nine-year trophy drought, as per iSports API. New challenges following billionaire takeovers of Chelsea and Manchester City also made silverware more difficult to obtain, though Wenger undoubtedly produced one of the Premier League’s great teams in the early 2000’s. Rating: 8.5/10 ** Jose Mourinho** From the moment Jose Mourinho declared himself as ‘The Special One’ at his unveiling as Chelsea manager, the Premier League sat up and took notice. The charismatic Portuguese coach arrived at Stamford Bridge after guiding underdogs Porto to Champions League glory, and backed by Roman Abramovich’s millions turned Chelsea into a force in English football. His first season saw Chelsea end a 50 year wait for a league title, remarkably conceding just 15 goals in the process, before back-to-back titles were secured the following year. However, as has been the way for much of Mourinho’s career, his spell was short, sweet and then a little sour and he departed in surprise circumstances in 2007. Successful spells in Italy and Spain followed before a return to Chelsea, where he again guided the West London club to the league title. After leaving Stamford Bridge for a second time he would join rivals Manchester United, though despite League Cup and Europa League success a runners-up finish would be as good as it got at Old Trafford, Mourinho famously declaring their second-placed finish as amongst his greatest achievements. Undoubtedly a brilliant manager who often gains the full respect and admiration of his players, however, Mourinho’s magic often fades a little too fast. Rating: 8.5/10 Carlo Ancelotti Few managers in European football possess a CV as impressive as that of Carlo Ancelotti, who has won league titles in four countries and lifted three Champions League trophies during an illustrious career in charge of some of the continent’s leading sides. It was no surprise then that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich turned to the serial winner to take charge following unsuccessful spells under Avram Grant and Luiz Felipe Scolari, and the Italian certainly delivered instant results. Ancelotti’s debut season began with the club winning the Community Shield, before he guided Chelsea to the club’s first ever domestic double, becoming the first team in the Premier League era to score over 100 goals as his attacking side pipped Manchester United to the title. The following year, however, saw Chelsea finish without silverware and Abramovich’s trigger-happy nature was once again evident, sacking Ancelotti at the end of the 2010/11 campaign despite him boasting the third best win percentage in Premier League history, according to iSports API. Rating: 7/10 Roberto Mancini The second of four Italian’s to have lifted the Premier League title, Roberto Mancini will be an ever-popular figure at Manchester City after guiding the club to their first silverware since their billionaire takeover in 2008. Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of the club catapulted City into the elite of English football, and Mancini was the winner who oversaw their transition to regular contenders for the game’s biggest prizes. Having ended the longest trophy drought in the club’s history the previous season, Mancini would lead City to the Premier League title in the most dramatic conclusion to a season in history in 2011/12. Needing to win to pip rivals Manchester United to the title, City trailed at home to QPR in stoppage-time before scoring twice late on to snatch the title on goal difference, Sergio Aguero immortalising himself in Premier League history with an iconic late winner. He would, however, fail to build on that success and was sacked at the end of the following season, though his place in the club’s history is assured. Rating: 6/10 Manuel Pellegrini The first and so far only non-European manager to win the Premier League title, Manuel Pellegrini was the second Manchester City manager to see his side crowned champions of England in 2013/14. The former Real Madrid boss saw his side pip a Luis Suarez-inspired Liverpool to the title, Steven Gerrard’s now infamous slip handing City the title initiative and a flawless end of season run delivered the club’s second Premier League title. Pellegrini would spend three unassuming years in charge at the Etihad and whilst always a likeable character, was never truly regarded as the man to take the club to the next level as they sought Champions League success. Ushered out of the door and replaced by Pep Guardiola, he is currently in charge of West Ham where he has overseen an indifferent beginning to his time at the London Stadium. Rating: 5/10 Claudio Ranieri Perhaps the hardest of the eight managers to rate, given his relatively mediocre Premier League career was crowned with arguably the biggest anomaly in the history of English football. The former Chelsea boss was appointed as Leicester City manager in 2015, a decision which was questioned by many given the Italian’s relevant lack of success in recent roles. With Leicester having performed a miraculous recovery to escape relegation the previous season many anticipated another season of struggle despite the new coach at the helm, though what followed will live long in the memory for football fans worldwide. A strong start to the season saw Leicester build momentum, momentum which would not slow as Ranieri guided his team of underdogs to an unthinkable title triumph, the Foxes being crowned champions for the first time in their 132-year history despite being odds of 5000-1 at the season began. Their success would not transfer to the following season, however, and Ranieri was sacked, later being appointed at Fulham but lasting less than four months after winning just three of his 17 games in charge. Ranieri’s managerial career in the Premier League may be entirely forgettable, but for one unforgettable season, though that’s enough for a solid score from us. Rating: 7/10 Antonio Conte Another Chelsea manager who brought instant rewards, only to be swiftly shown the door as things began to take a turn for the worse. Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2016 having previously guided Juventus to three Serie A titles, and would deliver Chelsea the ultimate success in his maiden campaign in charge. The Italian’s title-winning season was notable for a defining mid-season change in tactics, switching to his preferred 3-5-2 formation following a humbling defeat at Arsenal which proved the catalyst for a 13-game winning streak, as per iSports API. Conte would become the first manager in history to win three consecutive Premier League Manager of the Month awards, securing the title with two games to spare and setting a new record for most wins in a season in the process. Despite FA Cup success the following year the club the wheels had already begun to come off for the fiery Italian, and he was sacked amid unrest in the dressing room in July 2018. Rating: 6/10 Pep Guardiola The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager arrived in English football with a reputation as one of the greatest coaches of his generation, with the Manchester City hierarchy convinced the Spaniard was the right man to finally deliver Champions League success. Whilst that is yet to happen in Guardiola’s first three seasons at the Etihad, there can be no denying that the current City boss has left an everlasting mark on the Premier League. His first season saw the club finish third as he acclimatised to the demands of the English game, though having identified his side’s weaknesses, he would strengthen to form arguably the best team the division has ever seen. That second campaign would see City romp to the Premier League title, breaking a whole host of records including most wins, most goals, biggest winning margin and becoming the first side in history to reach 100 points. They would follow that up with another similarly impressive campaign, pushed all the way by Liverpool but delivering back-to-back titles and a huge 98 point haul. That title was joined by FA Cup and League Cup success, making City the first side ever to complete English football’s domestic treble. Aside from the extensive silverware Guardiola has implemented innovative and attractive football, his City side a relentless winning machine in what is often regarded as the most competitive league in world football. Rating: 9/10
Five of the most iconic football kits of all-time
As all fans know, a football shirt is more than just a shirt. The plainest kit can become a vessel for euphoric emotion when worn by a winning side, while even the most lavishly designed shirt can’t cover up the disappointment of a dismal defeat. That’s why the combination of a classic shirt and a truly exceptional team feels so special to football fanatics – when you find a truly iconic kit, just looking at it can summon up memories of winning goals and incredible skills, and wearing it is like putting on a piece of sporting history. With this in mind, the team from iSports API have put together a rundown of five of the most iconic football kits of all time, digging into what they have come to represent for fans all over the world – and why they will never be forgotten. Liverpool FC – 1982 As any Reds fan will tell you, Liverpool FC are a club with more than their fair share of historic moments to choose from, and an equally generous selection of iconic kits to pick out. However, few are more instantly memorable than the instantly recognisable pinstriped design they sported during their glory days in the 1980s. Emblazoned with the distinctive Crown Paints logo, this striking shirt conjures instant memories of the Red Machine in full effect, with players like Ian Rush, Alan Hansen, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and King Kenny Dalglish driving the side to First Division and European Cup glory, as per iSportsAPI football data. Although the white pinstripes on the famous red would only last for a few years, from 1982 to 1985, it has become so associated with success at Anfield that the side has revived the look for the 2019-20 season – and Scousers everywhere will be hoping that they prove to be a lucky omen as they compete once again for a long-overdue league title! Brazil – 1970 This list is all about picking out legendary kits worn by legendary players – so how can we leave out the one worn by the man who perhaps remains football’s most enduring icon? To be fair, there are endless reasons why the Brazil side who competed in this classic yellow-and-green kit at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico ended up as superstars of the sport. From the attacking talents of players like Jairzinho, Rivelino and captain Carlos Alberto, to their defeat of reigning champions England, there was much to remember about the side who earned Brazil the right to keep the Jules Rimet Trophy for good. But even so, it’s hard to see this shirt without thinking of one name – Pelé. For this was the World Cup that Edson Arantes do Nascimento cemented his reputation as maybe the greatest player of them all, being named player of the tournament and becoming the only man ever to win the World Cup three times. What could be more iconic than that? Barcelona – 1974 You couldn’t have a list of the most iconic football kits of all time without at least one entry from the legendary FC Barcelona, purveyors of the greatest red-and-blue kits of all time (with apologies to Crystal Palace fans). The incredible purity of that classic striped kit is such that the Catalan club were able to maintain a tradition of keeping the shirt free of commercial sponsorship for 111 years, creating a real sense of timelessness around their aesthetic, according to iSports API. With so many iconic Barca kits to choose from, we’ve gone for the edition worn by their 1973-74 side. Why? Because this was the shirt worn by the indelible Johan Cruyff in the year that he led the Blaugrana to their first La Liga title since 1960, thrashing bitter rivals Real Madrid 5–0 at the Santiago Bernabéu and being named European Footballer of the Year along the way, that’s why! Argentina – 1986 The blue-and-white stripes of the Argentina national side are difficult to ignore in any conversation about iconic kits – especially those worn by Diego Armando Maradona, one of Pelé’s few rivals for the title of football’s greatest icon. Even so, it’s hard to think of a football shirt with so many specific memories attached as the kit worn during Argentina’s 1986 World Cup campaign in Mexico, during which Maradona created some unforgettable moments – both good and bad! – as he practically single-handedly hauled Argentina to the title Although the 3-2 final victory over West Germany was a hugely memorable encounter, the tournament will always be best known for Argentina’s intense 2-1 victory over England in the quarter-final – during which Maradona first scored the infamous “Hand of God” handball goal, before following it four minutes later with a virtuoso solo effort that became known as the “Goal of the Century”. That’s a lot of legacy for one player and one shirt to hold! England – 1966 Perhaps it’s true that England’s unassuming red long-sleeved kits from 1966 don’t have the same cultural weight worldwide as many of these others – but for those born and raised with stories of Gordon Banks, Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore, there is no shirt that means more. For generations of England fans, the kit worn by the national team’s only World Cup-winning team has become both a promise and a curse. It’s a constant reminder of the 50-plus years of despair and disappointment that fans have felt as England have fallen short in every subsequent tournament – but it’s also a beacon, a symbol of what’s possible, and how much it would mean if history were to repeat itself. That’s why generations of England fans will continue to revere and wear this shirt for years to come, even if their fathers weren’t even alive during that 4-2 final victory over West Germany in 1966 – because it’s come to represent everything they hope for, as per iSports API. And if that’s not the true meaning of the word “iconic”, we don’t know what is!
Five of the best all Premier League Champions League games
Sure, we already have the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and even the Charity Shield but there’s something about All-Premier-League games in the Champions League that really get the juices flowing. With that in mind, we thought we might as well take a walk down memory lane and revisit some of the best ever All Premier League Champions League games, according to iSports API! Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea 2005 Funny enough, Liverpool and Chelsea actually feature heavily in this list and this game at Anfield was an absolute doozie! Liverpool fans will often talk about the atmosphere at their ground on “Big European Nights” and never was that more true than in this game when the home crowd, hassled and harangued Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team while also driving their side on. Luis Garcia scored the goal that would go on to be known as the “ghost goal” that settled the game and helped Liverpool to a first final in twenty years and the rest, as they say, is history… Manchester Utd 1-1 Chelsea 2008 Another tough one for Chelsea to take here as Manchester United won the Champions League final having being brought the distance. Ronaldo gave the Reds the lead before Frank Lampard equalised and when John Terry placed the ball down to score what would have been the winning penalty it looked as though they would finally get their hands on the iconic trophy. A slip. some tears and another missed penalty from Anelka later and Sir Alex Ferguson had his second Champions League title. Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United 2009 Manchester United went into this Champions league semi-final looking to make their way to a second final in a row having won the competition the year before. Arsenal meanwhile were hunting a first European title having lost in the final in 2006. The problem for Arsenal was that this was a Manchester United side that featured Cristiano Ronaldo just as he was establishing himself as one of the best in the world. Two goals from the Portuguese superstar, including one long range free-kick, saw United ease past their league rivals. Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool 2009 A Steven Gerrard-less Liverpool were given little chance of overturning a 3-1 deficit from the first-leg when they travelled to Stamford Bridge to face a star-studded Chelsea in 2009. However, Chelsea hearts were soon in their mouths after a cheeky free-kick from Fabio Aurelio and a Xabi Alonso penalty saw the Reds move into a two-nil lead within 28 minutes, as per iSports API. Chelsea seemed to have regained control via a sensationally struck thunderbastard from Brazilian centre-back Alex and goals from Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba. However, Liverpool’s world-class duo of Dirk Kuyt and Lucas hit back in the 81st and 82nd minute to set up a blockbuster finish, only for Lampard to kill off Rafa Benitez’s side hopes of another famous comeback with a fine strike in the last minute. A truly classic game of football. Man City 4-3 Spurs 2019 Man City went into the game trailing Spurs 1-0 from the first leg, and well, words just can’t do what happened next justice.