18-year-old Kylian Mbappe and AS Monaco’s youth revolution has garnered the headlines throughout the club’s thrilling run to the Champions League semifinals, but there’s a similar movement taking place in Europe’s less prestigious club competition, the Europa League, at AFC Ajax.
Ajax dismantled Lyon 4-1 in their Europa League semifinal first leg at the Amsterdam ArenA, and, after landing 16 shots on target, they’ll be disappointed that they didn’t add more to their total before the return leg.
For all of Real Madrid’s dominance in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal with Atletico Madrid, it looked as though Atleti would escape to the Vicente Calderon with only a one-goal deficit. But then Cristiano Ronaldo happened. And then again.
Ronaldo scored goals number 101, 102 and 103 to extend his all time record in the Champions League, and Atletico’s inability to grab an away goal, or to really trouble Real for that matter, makes the possibility of a comeback next Wednesday seem extremely farfetched.
Less than 10 minutes into the first leg of the Madrid derby Champions League semifinal, Cristiano Ronaldo did what he always does in this competition: he scored UCL goal number 101. Flying nearly two heads above every Atletico defender, Ronaldo buried a perfect cross from Casemiro.
Christian Atsu is one of the horde of 30-something Chelsea players out on loan for all eternity. After impressing at Portugal’s Rio Ave, Chelsea shelled out £3.5 million for the 21-year-old Ghanaian winger and immediately loaned him to the extremely Chelsea-friendly confines of Vitesse Arnhem.
He played well there, but not well enough to make Pedro or Willian fear for their Chelsea careers. So off Atsu went, making loan stops at Everton, Bournemouth and Malaga while making headlines at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations by scoring this banger.
This is probably a somewhat contentious decision given that Marta, the five-time FIFA World Player of the Year, has scored over 100 goals for Brazil and over 300 in her club career, but personally, I think this is Marta’s finest hour.
She's had two short stints with Santos in Sao Paulo, and Marta scored this ridiculous solo goal during her time there. It’s extravagantly Brazilian.
Emre Can, Liverpool's roving German midfield destroyer, is more than meets the eye, like a transformer. On the surface, he's a big, athletic, crunching central midfielder. When you look a little closer, though, he can do this:
Fans of MLS will remember Camilo Sanvezzo from his time with the Vancouver Whitecaps, during which he did this:
That goal was nominated for the Puskas Award, but Sanvezzo, now with Queretaro in Liga MX, has quite possibly outdone himself.
Mario Balotelli hasn’t appeared as often as he would’ve liked for Nice this season due to three red cards and a smattering of various injuries, but when he has played he’s been unplayable.
Super Mario made it 14 goals in only 18 Ligue 1 starts as Nice stomped Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, effectively handing the league title to Monaco.
You don't see many 5'8" goalkeepers in soccer. You don't see many 44-year-olds anywhere but the tactical area. You definitely don't see 5'8", 44-year-old goalkeepers doing things like this: