Behind the beautiful game called football is a long list of facts most people don’t know about. For starters, do you know which goalkeeper has five premier league assists? Or which two players have scored penalties with both feet?
In all fairness, not every day you hear about some of the stats. But that’s why we are here. So, sit back and chew on these exceedingly unique football facts and stats.
#1: Only one player has scored in 7 competitions in the same season: Fernando Torres
Spanish forward Fernando Torres might have had successful careers in Atletico Madrid and Liverpool but he didn’t fare well in Chelsea. He scored 45 goals in all competitions for the Blues, a significantly low number compared to the 81 he scored for Liverpool in fewer games.
Despite that, Torres left a football record that might take a while before anyone in the bridge breaks it. He scored at least one goal in the Premier League, the Champions League, the Community Shield, the FIFA Club World Cup, Capital One Cup, the Europa League and the FA Cup.
With the record, Torres broke the previous record of goals scored in six tournaments in the same season. Surprisingly, the record had been sent by club and country teammate Pedro.
#2: Pele is the youngest player ever to have won a World Cup
Pele is an indisputable legend with tons of records to his name. One of his most impressive stats came while he was just getting started as a footballer.
The year was 1958 and Brazil had travelled to Sweden for the World Cup. Pele was the youngest member of the team and didn’t feature in the competition’s first two games. Instead, he got his chance in the third game against USSR.
He scored his first goal of the tournament in the quarterfinals. He was 17 years and 235 days at the time. In the semis, the Brazilian scored a hat-trick against France. Then he turned up in the finals and scored to goals to help his country lift the World Cup trophy for the first time.
For the record, French ace Kylie Mbappe won the world in 2018 while 19 years. On the other end, the youngest player to feature for the tournament Northern Ireland’s Norman Whiteside in 1982. He was 17 years and 41 days.
#3: The 2018 World Cup attracted €2.1 Billion in wagers made per game
Gambling is increasingly playing an essential role in football: financing clubs and national teams. However, bookmakers wouldn’t have money to sponsor teams without the ridiculous amounts of cash people spend on betting.
Take the 2018 World Cup as an example. People wagered up to €2.1 Billion per game and over €7 billion during the finals. Croatia was bettors’ favourite team with odds as high as 34.0. With the betting culture on the rise, the 2018 record will probably be broken in Qatar.
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#4: Dundee United have a 100% win rate against Barcelona
Scottish premier league team Dundee has played against Spanish giants four times. And on all occasions, Barcelona never won once. It’s such a rare feat that Dundee is the only British club that has the record.
Dundee first defeated Barcelona in the 1967 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. The two sides met again in the 1987 European Cup quarterfinals. To the surprise of many, Dundee won home and away.
Since 1987, Barcelona have only lost home and away in a Champions League contest once. They got crushed by Bayern Munich in the 2013 semifinals.
#5: Only goalkeeper with five assists: Paul Robinson
Goalkeepers seldom get involved with goals. But when they do, it’s usually a match-winner or a title-deciding goal. Paul Robinson is a great example.
During his nearly two-decade-long career, the former England international recorded five assists for Lees, Blackburn and Spurs. He’s also on record for scoring one of the longest goals ever: a 95-yard goal against Watford.
#6: Brazilian Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimović have never won the Champions League
So many legendary players retired without a Champions League medal. But some players were so great that it’s surprising when you realize they’ve never won the UCL.
Brazilian Ronaldo for example never won the UCL despite playing for Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Barcelona—all which have won the competition. Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimović has never won the tournament as well despite his incredible football record.
#7: Birmingham City was the first English team to reach a European Cup Finals
Birmingham is no longer an English football giant. But guess what? The Championship side holds the record for the first team in England to participate in a European cup (1956 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
They also hold the feat for being the first English team to reach the final of a European competition (1960 Fairs Cup).
#8: Bolivia beat Argentina 6-1 in 2009 in a game Messi also played
As shocking as that sounds, Bolivia stunned Argentina in 2009 with 6-1 goals in front of home fans. The Argentinian squad was packed with star players, including Barcelona ace Lionel Messi.
In all fairness, however, Bolivia’s altitude is so high that most foreign players find it difficult to play in the country.
#9: Denmark won the 1992 European Champions despite not qualifying
After Denmark failed to qualify for the 1992 European Championship, they got a second chance ten days before the tournament began. FIFA banned Yugoslavia and gave Denmark the slot. To the surprise of many, the Danish team went on to win the competition.