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5 records in world football that may never be broken

Olumide Adegoke
By Olumide Adegoke
5 records in world football that may never be broken

Modern football was first developed almost 200 years ago- in the early 1840s. While the concept of football is simple, there are many stats and rules which allow for many records to be had in the game. 

As such, it is natural that several records are made and broken through time, as with any other sport. However, some records in football are so outlandish that they may even stand the test of time.

Having said that, we take a look at five records in world football that may never be broken.

1. Most number of goals in a calendar year - Lionel Messi

Most number of goals in a calendar year - Lionel Messi

The year 2012 marked Lionel Messi's greatest year so far as he demolished defences across Europe with his scintillating goalscoring exploits.

That year, Barcelona's diminutive talisman scored 59 goals in 38 La Liga appearances, five goals in 8 Copa del Rey matches, 13 goals in 12 UEFA Champions League outings and two goals in the Supercopa. He also netted 12 goals in 9 games for his national team, Argentina.

That adds up to a tally of 91 goals in a single calendar year in 69 official appearances for the then 25-year-old Lionel Messi. In doing so, the attacking ace made history, breaking Gerd Muller's record (85 goals in a calendar year) that had previously stood for 40 years.

For context, Robert Lewandowski scored the highest number of goals in 2019, with 54 goals in 58 matches in all competitions. These numbers are, however, pale in comparison to Messi's 91 goals in a single year, which is a testament to how much of an outlier the Argentine's 2012 was.

In short, Lionel Messi's incredible goalscoring feats in 2012 will never be replicated again, and it is highly unlikely that anyone will even come close to scoring as many goals as him in a year.

2. Highest attendance at a football game - 1950 World Cup final

Highest attendance at a football game - 1950 World Cup final

The 1950 World Cup Final is undeniably one of the most memorable games of all time, having been played in the Maracana Stadium, between hosts Brazil and their rivals Uruguay. The latter won the match in one of the biggest upsets in football history, as they scored two goals in the second half to clinch an unprecedented 2-1 victory against the Selecao.

However, the game is also known for having the largest attendance in football history, with 173,830 paid spectators and an actual attendance estimated to be well over 220,000 spectators.

In comparison, the current largest stadium in the world, the 'Rungrado 1st of May Stadium' in North Korea only houses 114,000 people, which is only about half of the estimated attendance at the 1950 FIFA World Cup Final.

Nevertheless, many safety regulations and security concerns prevent the gathering of such large amounts of spectators nowadays, so it is highly unlikely that this record will ever be broken.

3. Most trophies won by a football manager - Sir Alex Ferguson

3 Most trophies won by a football manager - Sir Alex Ferguson

In 1974, a young 33-year old manager named Alex Ferguson began making waves with St. Mirren, transforming the club from a lower-half outfit in the Scottish second division to first division champions two seasons later.

After winning his first trophy with the Paisley-based club, the legendary tactician went on to manage Aberdeen, with whom he was able to win his first European Cup Winners' Cup.

However, Ferguson is most well-known for his 26-season tenure as Manchester United's manager, from 1986 to 2013. In his time with the Red Devils, the disciplinarian won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League trophies, 5 FA Cups, and two UEFA Champions League titles, which cemented his legacy as one of the best managers of all time.

In total, Ferguson has won 48 competitive trophies, 14 more than Mircea Lucescu, who has won the second-most trophies as a manager.

Since modern managers tend to have shorter managerial careers due to the new-found stresses of the job, it is unlikely that any manager will come close to beating Sir Alex Ferguson's record in the future.

4. Most goals by a single player at a World Cup - Just Fontaine

4 Most goals by a single player at a World Cup - Just Fontaine

The 1958 World Cup might be remembered by most for marking the debut of a 17-year-old Pelé on the world stage. While Pelé led Brazil to their first World Cup win, it was Frenchman Just Fontaine who stole the headlines during the tournament, by scoring 13 goals in just 6 games at a whopping 2.2 goal-per-game ratio.

A short and physical player with a keen eye on goal, Fontaine was a prototypical striker who was capable of scoring goals in any situation. With Raymond Kopa and Roger Piantoni behind him, Fontaine was able to utilise his incredible shooting abilities time and time again to score for France.

However, with modern defences becoming much better, winners of the Golden Boot- which is the award for the top goalscorer of a World Cup- typically get no more than 6 or 7 goals per tournament, which pales in comparison to Just Fontaine's record of 13 goals.

Additionally, Ronaldo's 8 goals scored at the 2002 World Cup is the closest anyone has ever gotten to topping Fontaine's record in 50 years.

With nobody having come close to scoring 13 goals in a single edition of the World Cup and modern defending only getting better by the year, it is safe to say that Just Fontaine's record will not be beaten anytime soon.

5. Most successive Champions League victories - Real Madrid

Di Stéfano’s five European Cups

In 1956, the first European Cup tournament (now known as the UEFA Champions League) took place, pitting European league champions against each other for the first time in history.

Real Madrid won this tournament pretty handily, thanks to an incredible performance by Alfredo Di Stefano in the final against Reims.

This was a sign of things to come as the striking prowess of Di Stefano, together with Hector Rial and Ferenc Puskas leading the midfield, transformed the Madrid giants into a dominant force in Europe. With the help of the spectacular trio, Los Blancos went on to win five consecutive European Cup titles in a row.

No club has come close to surpassing the record in 63 seasons since, with the closest being the Johan Cruyff-led Ajax team who won three consecutive campaigns from 1971 to 1973, and Real Madrid themselves, who also won three consecutive campaigns from 2016 to 2018.

Due to the ultra-competitive nature of football today, it is unlikely that any club will win five consecutive Champions League titles any time soon, which cements Real Madrid's place in history.