A new month, a new set of footballing highlights for your daily enjoyment. Lionel Messi is getting a few mentions, which is always good fun for everyone involved, meanwhile his Barcelona side endured some serious highs coupled with some serious lows.
That’s football for you. One day jubilation and dejection the next. And on the rare occasions, these happen on the same day in different years! How mad is that, right?
Let’s go ahead and see what those occasions might be…
Ian Rush Joins Liverpool – 1980
One of Liverpool’s all-time greats joined the club on this day, having moved to Anfield from Third Division side Chester City in 1980. His Merseyside journey didn’t start out all too well, going nine games without finding the back of the net for his new side.
Where the 1980/81 season failed, however, the rest took off rather smoothly. His first full campaign saw him net 30 goals, the first of a staggering total of 346.
His 15-year stay with the club was only briefly halted by a one-year stint at Juventus, in what was a marriage made in heaven. Five First Division titles and two European Cups were the highlights of his career, but he also scooped three FA Cups and five League Cups to boot.
Not a bad haul for the Welshman, who remains the club’s all-time leading goalscorer by a considerable distance.
Leonardo Bonucci’s Birthday Celebrations – 1987
The eight-time Serie A winner is turning 33 today, but is showing no signs of his incredible talents waning. 18 trophies have glittered his magnificent career and he could very well add to that now that Serie A is set to fulfill the remainder of the 2019/20 season.
He’s a much-loved figure over at Juventus, even if he did score against them and celebrate pretty wildly during that one-season move to AC Milan. Who cares, though? He’s one half of one of the best central defensive partnerships seen this century, and an absolutely colossal defender in how own right.
Oh, and Alexander Hleb is 39 today, he was pretty good on his day an’ all.
Lionel Messi Announces Himself in the World of Football – 2005
He’s done this plenty of times, but the first time people stood up and thought ‘oh, this kid might be something’ happened on this day in 2005.
Barcelona already knew they had a star in the making, but the rest of La Liga and indeed Europe weren’t aware just yet. Rocking the number 30 against Albacete, his finish was even better than Ronaldinho’s glorious assist.
The Brazilian scooped a glorious chip over the defence and into Messi’s path, who continued the trend with delightful deft chip of his own over the goalkeeper. Incidentally, the pair linked up earlier in the match in almost identical fashion, with Messi’s chip over the keeper being ruled out for a narrow offside.
He’s only gone to score only 627 more goals for the first team over the next 15 years since. Amateur.
Aaron Ramsey Sinks Man Utd – 2011
It was a result that looked like having huge implications for the remaining three rounds of Premier League matches that followed, as leaders Manchester United were deservedly beaten 1-0 by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Aaron Ramsey scored the only goal of the afternoon early in the second half, but it was the jubilation heard in west London that drowned out that of those in north London. The result left Chelsea trailing United by only three points in the table, with the Blues heading to Old Trafford the following week with their title bid back on track.
For Arsenal, the result meant they were in with a sniff too, but truth be told, it looked way out of their grasp.
United didn’t wobble any further, though. Chelsea were beaten 2-1 at Old Trafford, and the 2010/11 season was won by the Red Devils after a 1-1 draw with Blackburn the week after.
Bayern Munich Embarrass Barcelona – 2013
On this day in 2013, Bayern completed a 7-0 thrashing of Barca over two legs in the #UCL semi-final.
One of the most iconic Champions League results ever ? pic.twitter.com/9rKhE6vDkM
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 1, 2020
Barcelona losing SEVEN – 0 on aggregate in any tie, ever? You’re damned right this is getting included in this particular OTD, since it was and still is one of the most shocking results in Champions League history.
The 4-0 thumping Bayern laid on Barça in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final was shocking enough, but to then go on and win 3-0 at Camp Nou in unbelievably convincing fashion took the football world by storm.
Arjen Robben got the ball rolling shortly after half time with a classic curling effort, before Gerard Pique turned Franck Ribery’s cross into his own net and Thomas Muller headed home to complete the 7-0 aggregate rout.
You don’t beat Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate then go on to lose the resulting Champions League final, do you? No, no you don’t, and that’s exactly what Die Roten didn’t do. It was close, mind you, but they emerged victorious at Wembley against Borussia Dortmund.
Sadio Mane Hat-Trick Sinks Manchester City – 2016
Sadio Mane scores plenty of goals. He also likes scoring them in threes. While Liverpool are the beneficiaries of that now, down on the south coast they too are quite familiar with that knack of his.
He bagged a couple of trebles for Southampton, but it’s his one against City that we’re going to focus on here. Why? Because it was four years ago today, obviously. It came at a time when the Saints were chasing European football, which seems mad to think about given their current predicament, meanwhile City were hoping to secure a top four berth.
It was a fine display from the Senegal international, who put the Citizens to the sword with just three rounds of fixtures left to play that season. Kelechi Iheanacho’s double wasn’t enough to prevent a 4-2 defeat on the day.
His total of 15 goals that season were enough to prise him away from St Mary’s, as Liverpool stumped up £34m that summer to lure him to Anfield. Money well spent.
Emre Can’s Outrageous Overhead Kick – 2017
Sometimes when you aren’t playing especially well, you look to the players who you feel at some point during 90 minutes, may come up with something magic to grab your side a goal.
Emre Can, as good as he may be, does not fall into that category. He isn’t going to go on a mazy run, beat four men and slot onto into the bottom corner, nor is he going to making a lung-bursting sprint down the flank and whip an inch-perfect cross onto the striker’s noggin.
Nah, he isn’t going to do that. Instead, he’s going to soar into the air like a trampolinist and hit a stunning overhead kick into the top corner in first half stoppage time. Nobody saw it coming, and that made it all the sweeter.
Chasing a top four place that season, Can’s spectacular goal won the Goal of the Season award as well as helping Liverpool on their way, and if you kept the goal in the following 20 seasons of nominations, he’d win it every time.
‘Obviously that won Goal of the Season’, you’re saying. ‘Look at it’. Yeah, but this is was the season with Mkhitaryan’s scorpion kick, and Giroud’s. It was the season with that Andy Carroll scissor kick, and the one where Eden Hazard spun Francis Coquelin like he barely weighed a thing. Serious competition.
Barcelona Beat Liverpool 3-0 as Messi Nets 600th Goal
This was supposed to be it. Despite not deserving to lose the game 3-0, Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the Champions League final should have been dead and buried there. Trailing by three goals from the first leg of their semi-final? Nope, that should have been curtains.
Luis Suarez was provided the first blow midway through the first half, yet it was the Reds who were in the ascendancy from thereon in, with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah coming within a whisker of grabbing an away goal.
That’s before Messi got involved. Two late sucker punches floored them, but it was his second of the night, an utterly sublime free kick, with eight minutes to play that looked like putting the game beyond doubt. What a way to mark your 600th goal for the club.
Ousmane Dembele’s late fluffed chance spared the scoreline going further, which proved to be crucial as Liverpool produced the comeback to trump all comebacks with their 4-0 second leg victory.
Football is great, isn’t it? Oh how we miss it.
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