Football You Missed

Football You Missed, Oct 16: Fifteen years of Messi, and do San Marino know the rules of the game?

Plus, Oleksandr Zinchenko calmly celebrates Ukraine win, and Football Manager hire their very own wonderkid.

1:19pm on Wednesday 16th October 2019
Martin Macdonald


On this day in 2004, the footballing world changed. In a routine Spanish Primera Division fixture against Espanyol, Barcelona head coach Frank Rijkaard handed a debut to a 17-year-old from Argentina. With his tiny stature and floppy hair, nobody could have envisioned the career that Lionel Messi would go on to have. Fifteen years later, he is considered one of, if not the best footballer in history and has accumulated five Ballon d'Or trophies, four Champions League triumphs, 10 Liga titles, and no less than 604 goals.


San Marino are the worst-ranked side in international football, so much so that even Scotland can put six past them. Conceding six goals must be embarrassing enough for goalkeeer Aldo Simoncini, but what about being accused of not knowing the actual rules of football? Here the accountant (yes, accountant) nonchalantly flicks the ball into his gloves to pick it up - comfortably a yard or two outside the box. Just what are you doing, Aldo?


Oleksandr Zinchenko was a happy man on Monday. As Ukraine defeated Portugal 2-1 in Group B of Euro Qualifying, it sealed their top spot and qualification to the tournament proper. The Manchester City man celebrated afterwards with the giddy gesticulations of a toddler eating sweets. He seemed to be extremely content with life, and not just because the person interviewing him was stunning television presenter and girlfriend Vlada Sedan. We're not jealous of your riches, or your relationship, Olek...


The mythical Holy Grail of playing Football Manager, or Championship Manager back in the day, is that players can become so good that their talents are actually recognised by football clubs. While the rest of us can only dream of being recruited for real, it actually happened for 22-year-old Serbian Andrej Pavlovic, who has recently been hired as chief data analyst for Fk Bezanija, who he guided to the Champions League semi-final after a 16-year stint as boss. Okay, when is the new game out, again?


On Monday night England bounced back from their 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic by demolishing Bulgaria 6-0 away from home in Euro Qualifying. However, the football was not at the centre stage of this fixture - racism was. Players such as Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings were subjected to abhorrent chants from sections of the Bulgarian crowd. The game was subsequently suspended by the referee and some of the guilty parties removed from the stands. It continued, with football figures around the world demanding something further be done as punishment. One consequence has been the resignation of the President of the Bulgaria Football Union, Borislav Mihaylov.


Even though Portugal lost in the aforementioned fixture against Ukraine, it was still a special night for Cristiano Ronaldo as he scored his 700th career goal. In terms of international football, he has scored 95, putting him only behind Iranian Ali Daei for the most goals for his country. Overall, Gerd Muller, Ferenc Puskas, Pele, Romario, Josef Bican have scored more, with the Czech-Austrian netting 805 goals in his career. Would you really put it past Cristiano surpassing that?

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