“Records are meant to be broken” is a phrase used quite often and it applies to many a football record as well. The careers of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi indicate that almost no record is safe in football.
Be it Ronaldo’s 807 (and counting) career goals or Messi’s seven Ballons d’Or, both look intimidating and will not be broken shortly.
Some football records are unique and probably even more difficult to break, for a myriad of reasons. This article will look at five such records.
1. Richie De Laet’s double title record
On Saturday, May 7, 2016, Richie De Laet probably had the happiest day of his career. The Belgian defender won the Championship title with Middlesbrough, whom he had joined on loan in the January 2016 transfer window.
On the same day, a few hundred kilometers away, his parent club Leicester City were celebrating their legendary Premier League title. They were handed the trophy after defeating Everton 3-1.
De Laet made 12 appearances for the Foxes before leaving on loan. This meant he met the minimum requirements needed to officially receive a league winner’s medal. According to ESPN, the defender drove down to Leicester after celebrating with Boro at their stadium and then joined his former club’s celebrations.
He thus holds the record of being the only player to win a second division title and a first division title in the same season. To top it off, he received both medals on the same day as well. It seems unlikely that he will be joined anytime soon in the club of players to have achieved such a double.
2. Chelsea’s European Double
Chelsea won the 2012 Champions League in what many consider to be a surprise victory. They defeated Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties in the Final.
However, their outing in the next edition of the UCL did not go to plan. The Blues finished third in their group, behind Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk.
This meant that they would drop to the UEFA Europa League. In Europe’s second division, they went on a great run that saw them ultimately face Benfica in the Final.
In the Final that took place on May 15, 2013, the Blues defeated Benfica 2-1 after Branislav Ivanovic scored a stoppage-time header.
The Champions League Final was still 10 days away, which meant Chelsea were still technically the reigning UCL champions at the time. This made the Blues the first and only team to simultaneously hold both the Champions League and the Europa League titles. For 10 days, Chelsea enjoyed this status.
It only ended when Bayern Munich lifted the UCL on May 25, 2013, and became the new champions of Europe.
This football record might be impossible to match since it is unheard of for any UCL-winning giants to drop into the UEL.
3. Almoez Ali’s global scoring record
Qatar striker Almoez Ali may not be a familiar name, but he holds a football record that, in all likelihood, will never be broken or matched. He is the first and only player to score in three different intercontinental national tournaments.
His team, Qatar, plays in the AFC region and he scored a record nine goals in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Qatar was also invited to play in the 2019 Copa America in Argentina, where Ali was the only Qatari player to score in three group stage games.
Qatar was also invited to play the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021 as a result of a strategic partnership between CONCACAF and AFC. The Asian country went to the semi-finals and Ali scored four goals.
His strike against Panama in Qatar’s first group stage game etched his name in the history books. His football record will be incredibly hard to match.
Countries playing in two continental tournaments is not that unfamiliar, as Copa America regularly invites guest teams. However, three different continental tournaments seems like a reach for any nation in the future. It will be very difficult for a player to remain consistent enough to match Ali’s football record.
4. Dejan Stankovic’s World Cup football record
The former Inter Milan star holds a football record made possible only by the kind of geopolitical turmoil that is rare nowadays.
As a young midfielder, he appeared for the Yugoslavia football team in the 1998 FIFA World Cup at the age of 20. They were knocked out in the Round of 16, and it was the team’s final appearance at a World Cup.
In 2003, years after the country broke up, the old Yugoslavian team ceased to exist. Many new teams, including Serbia & Montenegro, emerged and carried on.
The team qualified for the 2006 World Cup and Stankovic was in the squad as the captain. As the tournament was happening, Serbia and Montenegro was divided into two separate countries.
Four years later, Stankovic was on the plane to South Africa as the captain of the Serbian football team. They were met with a group stage exit.
However, captain Stankovic wrote his name in the history books, having played for three different countries in three editions of the World Cup. He remains the only player to do so, and it looks like he will be the only one with this football record for a long time.
5. Demark’s 1992 Euro win
Denmark finished runners-up in their qualification group behind Yugoslavia and had seemingly missed out on making it to the tournament. However, Yugoslavia was under political turmoil as civil war raged across the nation, which ultimately ended with the country breaking up.
The Yugoslavian team were disqualified from the tournament and the Danes, as the group runners-up, were called up to fill in. They were given barely 10 days notice to form a squad and sort out the logistics.
They started off the tournament with a draw and a loss, and needed a win in their final group game vs France. The Danes pulled off an upset 2-1 victory. They followed it up with another upset, defeating favorites Netherlands in a penalty shootout after initially drawing 2-2.
They came up against a formidable Germany in the Final. Peter Schmeichel made multiple saves to keep Denmark in the game. The Danish side defeated the Germans 2-0.
This fairytale victory meant Denmark were the only team till date to win a major international tournament without having qualified for it. This is another football record that is unlikely to be repeated.
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