Lionel Messi's latest records are a highlight of FIFA.com's latest stats review, which also reflects on a good week for Antonio Di Natale, Stefan Kiessling and Cruzeiro, and bad one for Egypt and Nigeria.
minutes without a goal, the longest drought of his Bundesliga career, was the run that came to an end for Stefan Kiessling on Saturday. The Bayer Leverkusen striker found the net for the first time since his team's opening match of the season in a 3-1 at Hannover, and he was far from the only player in Germany experiencing such relief. Nicklas Bendtner ended an even longer wait, scoring a league goal for the first time since New Year's Day - when he scored for Arsenal against Cardiff City - and opening his Bundesliga account for Wolfsburg in the process. It was a landmark strike for his new club in more ways than one as it was the 900th of Die Wölfe's top-flight history. There were also celebrations at Hertha Berlin, who ended a very different kind of drought, beating Cologne 2-1 to end a run of nine months without an away win.
Serie A games, 200 Serie A goals. Those were the neatly symmetrical milestones reached by Antonio Di Natale on Sunday after he found the net in Udinese's 1-1 draw with Chievo. This latest strike, which came 12 years, two months and nine days after the veteran striker's first-ever top flight goal against Como, saw him become just the seventh player in Serie A history to reach the double century. Di Natale now needs just five more goals to draw level with the great Roberto Baggio in the league's all-time standings. Italy's other Bianconeri, meanwhile, continue to set the championship pace, with Juventus winning by a three-goal margin away to Lazio for the first time since 1961. That scoreline topped up the champions' goal tally this season to 28 after 12 rounds of matches, making for their second-most prolific start to a season in the last 60 years. They have also kept nine clean sheets so far, a record that only Bayern Munich can match across Europe's top five leagues.
editions of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations have been held, and only twice have the reigning champions not participated. However, that statistic will change to three in 30 after 2013 winners Nigeria failed in their bid to reach the 2015 showpiece. A 2-2 draw with South Africa last Wednesday sealed the fate of the Super Eagles, who miss out on Africa's elite competition for the second time in a decade-and-a-half. The holders, though, won't be the only notable absentees from next year's AFCON, with the tournament's record champions also having failed to make it through. Egypt, in fact, have now missed out on the last three editions, and this having won each of the previous three.
hat-tricks and two major records have been claimed by Lionel Messi over the past five days. The first came in a 5-1 win over Sevilla on Saturday, when the Barcelona star surpassed Telmo Zarra's 59-year-old La Liga scoring record with his 251st, 252nd and 253rd goals in the Spanish top flight. And while Zarra, an Athletic Bilbao legend and six-time Pichichi winner, reached his erstwhile record tally of 251 in just 278 appearances - 11 fewer than Messi - no-one would dispute that the Argentinian is a more than worthy successor. Indeed, La Liga's all-time leading scorer is just the latest title to have been earned by a player who is already the top marksman in Barcelona's history (368 goals), the most prolific player ever in El Clásico (21), a record four-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner and someone who has scored more goals in a single La Liga season (68), calendar year (91) and in more consecutive La Liga matches (21) than anyone else. To that list we can now add all-time UEFA Champions League top scorer after Messi, having equalled Raul in his last European outing, surpassed the Real Madrid icon last night. Having claimed the La Liga record with his 30th career hat-trick, it was treble number 31 that earned him Champions League top spot on 74 goals overall, although this one was a little unusual. All three efforts came, after all, with his supposedly weaker foot - the first time Messi has ever scored an entirely right-footed hat-trick.
successive Brazilian championships have been won by Cruzeiro for the first time in their history after they retained the crown on Saturday. The Belo Horizonte outfit crossed the finishing line with two games to spare and became the first team since Sao Paulo - who won three-in-a-row between 2006 and 2008 - to win consecutive Brasileiro titles. Including their 1966 Taça do Brasil triumph, this was Cruzeiro's fourth national title overall, establishing them as the country's most successful club outside the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. For one of their players, though, the 2014 crown was his fifth. Indeed, Dagoberto, A Raposa's 31-year-old forward, has now equalled the record of Brasileiro titles shared by Andrade and Zinho, having previously lifted the trophy with Atletico Paranaense in 2001, Sao Paulo in 2007 and 2008, and Cruzeiro last year. In the history of Brazilian football, only the former Santos trio of Lima, Pepe and Pele - with six each - can lay claim to more national championships.