UEFA Champions League Anthem

The UEFA Champions League Anthem, officially titled simply as “Champions League”, is the official anthem of the UEFA Champions League, written by English composer Tony Britten in 1992.

In 1992, UEFA commissioned Tony Britten to arrange an anthem for the UEFA Champions League which commenced in August 1992. He composed a ‘serious’ classical piece, in a style similar to some of George Frideric Händel’s works. The composition is heavily influenced by Händel’s Zadok the Priest. Tony Britten acknowledged that “there’s a rising string phase which I pinched from Handel and then I wrote my own tune. It has a kind of Handelian feel to it but I like to think it’s not a total rip-off”.[3] For the recording used in television transmissions of UEFA Champions League matches and events, the piece was performed by London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chorus. The chorus is in UEFA’s three official languages: English, French, and German.

The anthem’s chorus is played before each UEFA Champions League game, as well as at the beginning and end of television broadcasts of the matches. Special vocal versions have been performed live at the Champions League final with lyrics in other languages, changing over to the host country’s language for the chorus. These versions were performed by Andrea Bocelli (Italian) (Rome 2009) and (Milan 2016), Juan Diego Flores (Spanish) (Madrid 2010), All Angels (Wembley 2011), Jonas Kaufmann and David Garrett (Munich 2012), and Mariza (Lisbon 2014, unlike the previous final performers, Mariza sang the main lyric of the anthem). In 2013 final at Wembley Stadium, the chorus had played twice.

The complete anthem is about three minutes long, and has two short verses and the chorus. The anthem has been released commercially in its original version on iTunes with the title of Champions League Theme. Also, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields chorus can be heard singing the influential piece “Zadok the Priest” on the 2002 album World Soccer Anthems.

Lyrics (German)

Ce sont les meilleures équipes
Es sind die allerbesten Mannschaften
The main event
Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes équipes
The champions
Une grande réunion
Eine große sportliche Veranstaltung
The main event
Ils sont les meilleurs
Sie sind die Besten
These are the champions
Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes équipes
The champions
Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes équipes
The champion

English Translation

They are the best teams
They are the best teams
The Main Event
The master
The best
Great teams
The Champions
A big meeting
A great sporting event
The Main Event
They are the best
They are the best
These are the champions
The master
The best
Great teams
The Champions
The master
The best
The Champions

Real Madrid (2-1) Bayern Munich — Champions League Quaterfinal

ronaldo-scored-double-against-bayern-munich

Ronaldo, the Champions League’s record goalscorer, scored twice in the second half to end an 11-hour wait for a goal and put the 11-times winners in charge.

Arturo Vidal had headed Bayern ahead but then wasted a chance to double their lead when he blasted a penalty over the crossbar.

And Ronaldo then twice clinically converted from crosses either side of Javi Martinez’s red card to move to 97 Champions League goals.

Bayern were kept in the game after going down to 10 men by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who saved brilliantly from Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo.

But the Germany international will feel he should have done better for Ronaldo’s winner as the Portuguese stabbed a shot through his legs from close range.

Real may also leave with regrets, as they could have taken a commanding lead into next week’s second leg at the Bernabeu.

As well as Neuer’s string of saves, captain Sergio Ramos had a last-minute header correctly ruled out for offside before Ronaldo lost his footing when seemingly well placed to meet a cross when unmarked four yards out.

Ronaldo Run

Ronaldo was anonymous in a first half which was controlled by Bayern but the former Manchester United man dominated after the break to carry his side into a strong position.

The forward had not scored in the Champions League since a draw with Borussia Dortmund in late September but found space brilliantly 97 seconds into the second half to steer Dani Carvajal’s precise cross into the bottom corner.

Real have now scored in each of their 53 games in all competitions this season.

Ronaldo was then the key figure as Martinez picked up two bookings in three minutes, both for needless fouls around the halfway line on the Real number seven.

Bayern, who had won their last 16 Champions League games at the Allianz, were forced into survival mode by the red card and only Neuer’s excellence prevented the Spanish side from forging ahead.

But Ronaldo found the winner Real deserved when he poked substitute Marco Asensio’s cross through Neuer’s legs with the studs of his right boot.

Most Goals in UEFA Competitions

             Player                 Games
Cristiano Ronaldo                      143
Lionel Messi                      118
Raul                      158
Filippo Inzaghi                      114
Andriy Shevchenko                      142

Vital miss from Vidal?

Without injured striker Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 38 goals in 40 appearances this season, Bayern were reliant on midfielder Vidal to carry a goal threat as they edged a scrappy first half.

The Chilean powered in a header to open the scoring and was on the end of Arjen Robben’s clever cross to head their next best chance over the top.

But perhaps the key moment of the night came right at the end of the half. Referee Nicola Rizzoli awarded a penalty when Franck Ribery’s shot hit Carvajal at the top of his arm, but after a lengthy wait Vidal fired it well over the top.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side barely registered after the break, managing just two attempts on goal in contrast to their 11 in the first half, and they must hope that Poland goal-machine Lewandowski can recover from a shoulder problem to lead the line in Madrid next week.

Man of the match – Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Ronaldo’s double turned the game on its head but without Neuer’s show of defiance Real would already be assured of a place in their 28th European Cup semi-final.

In the first half he touched a Benzema header onto the underside of the crossbar before, in a matter of minutes, turning Bale’s header over from just four yards out, saving from Benzema with his legs and then making a superb one-handed save to keep out Ronaldo’s drive from eight yards out.

Four superb saves – but then he was beaten by Ronaldo’s second from close range.

“It’s a big result, it isn’t easy to come here and win.

“It always comes down to small margins, you have to believe until the end and we did that. When they went down to 10 men we created plenty of chances and it was a shame that we didn’t get the third. Their keeper was in top form.

“A third goal would have been a bonus.”
Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid Manager

“It will be difficult in 90 minutes in Madrid but we are still alive. We missed the penalty which would have put us 2-0 up and then within three minutes it was 1-1.” Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern Munich Boss

Roberto Carlos’ Physics-Defying Free Kick

Brazilian Roberto Carlos’s 1997 free-kick against France curved so sharply that it left goalkeeper Fabian Barthez standing still and looking puzzled.

Now, a study published in the New Journal of Physics suggests that the long-held assumption that the goal was a fantastic fluke is wrong.

A French team of scientists discovered the trajectory of the goal and developed an equation to describe it.

They say it could be repeated if a ball was kicked hard enough, with the appropriate spin and, crucially, the kick was taken sufficiently far from goal.

Roberto Carlos scored his wonder goal during the inaugural match of the Tournoi de France, a friendly international football tournament that was held in France ahead of the 1998 World Cup.

Follow the curve

Many pundits referred to it as “the goal that defied physics”, but the new paper outlines the equation that describes its trajectory exactly.

“We have shown that the path of a sphere when it spins is a spiral,” lead researcher Christophe Clanet from the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris told the press.

roberto-carlos-impossible-free-kick

Dr Clanet described this path as a “snail-shell shaped trajectory”, with the curvature increasing as the ball travels.

Because Roberto Carlos was 35m (115ft) from the goal when he kicked the ball, more of this spiral trajectory was visible. So the apparently physics-defying sharp turn of the ball was actually following a naturally tightening curve.

Dr Clanet and his colleague David Quere were studying the trajectory of bullets when they made their sporting discovery.

They used water and plastic balls with the same density as water to “simplify the problem”.

Long flight

This approach eliminated the effects of air turbulence and of gravity and revealed the pure physical path of a spinning sphere.

“On a real soccer pitch, we will see something close to this ideal spiral, but gravity will modify it,” explained Dr Clanet.

“But if you shoot strongly enough, like Carlos did, you can minimise the effect of gravity.”

The crucial aspect of the wonder strike, according to the scientists, was the distance the ball had to travel to beat Fabian Barthez.

“If this distance is small,” said Dr Clanet, “you only see the first part of the curve.

“But if that distance is large – like with Carlos’s kick – you see the curve increase. So you see the whole of the trajectory.”

Lionel Messi

A player who is still playing in Europe and still at the height of his powers. In spite of trying not to exalt and ‘jinx’ a player midway through his career, so beyond doubt is his legendary status already that there is not really a good or bad time to write a profile feature on the life and career of Lionel Messi. As the incomparable, complete playmaker-forward hybrid that Messi is, there have already been countless features on his life on and off the pitch. The only thing is, it can’t really be overstated just how privileged we are to watch his journey unfold, and just how easy it is to take Messi for granted. We’ve had eras and glimpses of total football all over the globe at different points in time: 1960s and 70s Ajax and Holland, 1970s Brazil, Barcelona for the last decade. Bottle everything that these teams have possessed going forward – pace, power, elite technique, superior tactical knowledge and telepathic understanding of tempo, space, and positioning – into one enigmatic freak of football, and you get Messi.

It is sometimes said that Messi would have struggled to break through as a senior professional had it not been for the medical treatment he underwent as a tiny 11-year-old to help battle his growth hormone deficiency. Born in Rosario, Argentina on 24 June 1987, Messi spent his childhood as a physically underdeveloped footballing phenomenon, impressing so much at Newell’s Old Boys that he earned a move to Barcelona’s La Masia at the age of 11. But it’s hard not to think that even a physically stunted Messi who lacked the pace and power he currently possesses would still have made it at an elite level in world football. Instead of being the lethal penetrative dribbler, playmaker and finisher that he is now, Messi would still have been able to make use of his vision and passing ability to fit into a deeper playmaker role that has been occupied by the likes of the Xavi and Pirlo. Even as a tiny 10 year old, watching him play at La Masia, it’s clear that he already had the touch, the complete control. He had ‘it’

It was at Barcelona where Messi’s career truly took off and flourished. He became the youngest player ever to play and score in La Liga for Barcelona, coming on as a substitute against Espanyol in October 2004 and scoring against Albacete Balompié in May 2005 at the age of 17 years, ten months and seven days. The next season, Messi’s hattrick in Barcelona’s 3-3 draw with Real Madrid forced Diego Maradona to declare that “I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentinian football and his name is Messi. Messi is a genius.”. As if to fulfil Maradona’s prophetic claim, just over one year later Messi scored one of his most memorable and historically significant goals of his career. Replicating Maradona’s famous goal in the 1986 World Cup against England, Messi dribbled from the halfway line past 5 players and the goalkeeper to score a scarcely believable goal against Getafe in the 2006-07 Copa del Rey. As teammate Deco described it, “These are the goals that go down in history. It is the most beautiful goal I’ve ever seen.”

By the time 21-year-old Messi ditched his number 19 shirt for the coveted number 10 (made available by the departing Ronaldinho), he had already racked up 42 goals, two La Liga titles, two Supercopas, and a Champions League title in 110 matches. It was at this point, though, that Messi’s career went into overdrive. Rather than bow under the pressure that the historic number 10 Barcelona shirt brought with it (players like Ronaldinho and Rivaldo made history wearing it), Messi instead made it impossible for anyone else to live up to the shirt in the future. From 2008-09 onwards for Barcelona, Messi has scored 370 goals and registered over 100 assists in 372 matches. It’s a mindboggling statistic, particularly due to the fact that Messi has that many assists whilst also being the primary scorer in the team.

These goals since 2008 have won his Barcelona side five La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys, three Champions League titles, and have personally earned him a record four consecutive Ballon d’Ors. Every year since this incredible record began, Messi has improved. Every goal, every assist, every play is bettered the next week, next month, or next season. His drive to improve is comparable only to that of Ronaldo. Messi’s relentless improvement has been no clearer to see than during this season. Messi’s goal against Bayern Munich in this year’s victorious Champions League campaign was hailed as possibly the best he has ever scored. The context certainly elevated the significance of the already impressive goal, as he dribbled past Jerome Boateng with humiliating ease to then dink a delicate finish over Neuer to give Barcelona a 2-0 away lead at Bayern Munich that effectively sealed their place in the Champions League semi-final. And it probably was his best ever goal, until his goal in the Copa del Rey Final three weeks later. This time the opposition were Athletic Bilbao, and this time he humiliated four players, not one.

But forget goals. Forget assists. Forget dribbles… Just the fact that someone has been able to make a 12-minute video of Messi successfully taking on 3 defenders or MORE shows that we are lucky to witness such a supremely talented technician every week. And even then, dribbling past players is only one of his many many strengths.

We will most likely never see anyone so naturally perfect at such an impossibly complex sport, and this view is shared by a large number of football’s greatest ever players. The scary thing is that, at 28, there is still a lot to come from Messi. Needless to say, his greatness will transcend time and eras in football. As Arsène Wenger simply put it, “Who is the best player in the world? Lionel Messi. Who is the best player ever? Lionel Messi.”

 

Top 10 Soccer Goal Scorers of 2016

With just a few days to go in 2016, we are looking at the players to score the most league goals (across Europe’s top ten leagues) in this calendar year.

In 2015 the man at the top of the chart was Cristiano Ronaldo (with Alex Teixeira second and Lionel Messi third). Ronaldo was also the main man in 2014 (ahead of Messi) and in 2013 (ahead of Luis Suarez and Messi), while in 2012 it was Messi who topped the list with Ronaldo in second.

In fact, the last time neither Ronaldo nor Messi topped the chart was 2009, and the man at the top of that chart was Suarez. Could he do it again? Or could Zlatan pip him with a hat-trick against Middlesbrough on Saturday?

10) Fedor Smolov (Krasnodar) – 24
While Islam Slimani and Andrea Belotti have also scored 24 league goals in 2016, they have needed 34 and 38 games respectively. Smolov has needed only 23. Phwoar. He missed a month through injury and the Russian league is now in hibernation, and yet still he sits above Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mauro Icardi and Harry Kane in this list. The most astonishing thing about this ridiculous 2016? He was signed by Krasnodar for nothing in 2015 after three goals in 68 games for Dynamo Moscow. You won’t remember him from Euro 2016 because some fool played him on the wing.

9) Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – 27
Five goals in his last four Bundesliga games have catapulted the Pole up the rankings, though a record of a goal every 100 minutes of league football looks pretty shabby next to the records of the sub-90 men at the top of the list. Lewandowski has now scored an astonishing 133 goals in 210 Bundesliga games and yet there are still many who dismiss him as ‘just a finisher’. Maybe. But what a bloody finisher.

8) Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – 27
Just the 17 goals in the second half of last season (including a hat-trick against Chelsea) and now ten in 12 under Pep Guardiola. Logic says that he would be higher up this list if he hadn’t insisted on doing two utterly stupid things already this season. He was on our list of top ten Premier League players of 2016 because you simply cannot ignore the statistics, but Guardiola is not alone in wanting to see a little bit more from the Argentine. Though a goal every 95 minutes is none top shabby.

7) Edinson Cavani (PSG) – 27
To the naked eye, he can look like a clown. And yet he has scored 18 goals in 17 games for PSG this season, thriving after stepping out of the giant, big-nosed shadow cast by Zlatan. Yes, it’s only the French league but six Champions League goals suggest that this is not the form of a flat-track bully. Unai Emery may be under pressure in Paris, but Cavani is the reason he is still in a job. He has scored 47% of their league goals this season.

6) Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon) – 28
It still seems astonishing that his 15 Ligue Un goals since the turn of the year did not bring a) a summer transfer or b) a call-up by France. To Lacazette’s credit, he has just kept on keeping on, and has scored 13 goals in 14 league games this season – though it’s worth noting that he scored every 100 minutes in 2016 while Cavani notched every 87. Will anybody pay the reported £60m transfer fee for a 25-year-old with one international goal?

5) Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli and Juventus) – 30
Should a 28-year-old striker have cost £78m? After 36 Serie A goals last season (with 20 goals in the 2016 run-in), Juventus clearly thought the Argentine was worth the outlay to truly challenge for the Champions League. His ten goals in 17 Serie A games this season is a decent record, but the Old Lady will expect rather more bang for their buck. You don’t pay £78m for a striker to score fewer goals than Dries Mertens. But score the goal to win the Champions League and all will be forgotten.

4) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – 31
This looks like a poor year from Ronaldo until you look closely at the figures and see that those 31 goals have come in just 30 La Liga games, giving him a record of a goal every 84 league minutes this calendar year. Which means he has actually been more efficient than during a goal-laden 2015. Oh and he won Euro 2016, the Champions League and is well on the way to winning La Liga. So it’s not been all bad.

3) Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 32
The total is higher but Messi has actually played five more games than Ronaldo and only Lacazette and Lewandowski on this list have a higher minutes-per-goal rate than Messi. As usual with the Argentine, it’s his consistency that is astonishing – he has only had ‘endured’ one three-game league spell with no goals in the whole of 2016. He is joint top scorer in La Liga this season with Luis Suarez, but it’s his Champions League record that is astonishing: Just the ten goals in five games then…

2) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG and Manchester United) – 35
He left PSG with a ridiculous burst of 15 goals in eight games. Easier league, oui, but bloody hell. By his own admission, he has found life harder in the Premier League, but he has still scored 12 goals in his first 17 league games in England and only Diego Costa has been more prolific in England in 2016/17. Not bad for a man who has just turned 35. And he has one more game against Middlesbrough to ease past the man at the top of this list…

1) Luis Suarez (Barcelona) – 37
Ronaldo obviously won all the prizes in a year in which he has won both Champions League and European Championship, but Suarez is undoubtedly European football’s form striker. Fourteen goals in five games as Barcelona wrapped up La Liga in May has been followed by 12 goals in 15 games at the start of this season as they attempt to keep pace with Real Madrid once again. A goal every 80 sodding minutes in the league? Wow. Just wow.

Messi’s Athletic Bilbao Wonder Goal — ESPN Sports Science Analysis

Argentine footballer Lionel Messi who plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona has scored a whole lot of mesmerising goals. And right up there with the best of the lot was his strike against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey 2015 final. He scored two in that match, but the first one came at the end of a 60-yard mazy dribble which deserves to be replayed over and over again.

The sports scientists over at ESPN have analysed the tremendous solo run and their data proves just how wondrous a feat of athleticism it was.

They found that the little magician showed acceleration to match that of Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles as he went from 0-19 mph in just 2.7 seconds.

The control that Messi maintained is also flabbergasting as the analysis found that the ball only left his feet by more than two feet on two occasions throughout the dribble and that the Argentine needed just 1.2 seconds to beat the three Bilbao men on the near sideline.

But perhaps the most impressive element of the goal comes with the shot itself as the scientists found that, had Messi been more than 1.5mm off when striking the ball, it wouldn’t have gone in.

Another really interesting fact is that during the 60 yard dribble to goal, the ball is only more than two feet away from Messi’s body twice, which is an amazing testament to his close control at speed.

So, the hypothesis is… Messi’s good at football.