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Things to Know

Mon 4 Jan by Mark Gleeson

Briefs

MAGUIRE THE BUSIEST

FOOTBALLER IN 2020

No professional footballer played as many minutes in official matches in 2020 as Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire. The England international was fielded for 4,745 minutes (53 matches), ranking him ahead of Manchester City’s Rúben Dias and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi. Others high in the rankings are Bruno Fernandes, Romelu Lukaku and Raphaël Varane. The busiest goalkeeper is Marcelo Lomba from Brazil’s Internacional with 4,740 minutes in 52 official matches. Four goalkeepers playing for European clubs are in the top 10: Lukáš Hrádecký (Bayer Leverkusen and Finnish national team), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan AC and Italy), Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid and Slovenia) and Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany).

 

GAZIDIS SAYS EUROPEAN

SUPER LEAGUE UNLIKELY

AC Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis has downplayed the threat of a European Super League, which recently resurfaced when former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said his club had received an invitation to take part. Gazidis, a former executive board member of the European Clubs Association, said that despite countless stories of a potential breakaway league, he does not expect it to become a reality. “This conversation about the European Super League has been going on for probably more than 20 years,” he said. “The reality is there are many different ways that European football could develop over the next 5 to 10 years. I don’t think there’s a big likelihood that we see a Super League in the way that people talk about it. Do I think that there could be developments in the way that the Champions League develops? Absolutely I do. That’s a conversation we should have and have it with an open mind.”

 

IT MAY BE ABOUT TO GET

A BIT WORSE FOR CHIEFS

Kaizer Chiefs face extending their poorest start to a season tonight, when they meet Primeiro de Agosto away in the second leg of their African Champions League second-round tie. The goalless draw in the first leg just before Christmas stretched their number of games with a single victory to 11 games, a hugely disappointing end to a difficult year for the AmaKhosi. But it is not their worst series of results in recent times. They had a similarly poor return at the tail-end of the 2015-16 Premier Soccer League season and the start of the next, in which they won just a single game in 15 matches that included African Champions League (ACL) matches. Since Chiefs beat Chippa United on 27 October, they have a single win, six draws and four defeats. Their only win came away against Cameroon side PWD Bamenda in the ACL and they have managed just seven goals in those 11 games.

 

BAYERN ARE CHASING A BIG

TREBLE BUT PROFITS DOWN

German giants Bayern Munich, who will go for a treble of national, European and world titles in the same season at the delayed Club World Cup next month, have released financial results for the 2019-20 season showing a revenue drop of 52-million Euros. Total revenue stood at 698-million Euros at the end of the year, down from 750.4 million for the 2018-19 period. Operating profit after tax was down to 9.8 million Euros compared with 52.5 million Euros in 2018-19. The club said that considering the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, revenues could be viewed positively.

 

SHEFFIELD UNITED BREAK

RECORDS OF WRONG KIND

Sheffield United are the first English Premier League team for 118 years to go into a new year without a victory. Two points from 17 games is the joint-worst haul in the history of all four divisions at this stage of the season and leaves them odds on to be relegated half the campaign still to be completed.