What a weekend for the best two players in the world. The top two scorers at the 2022 World Cup, collecting the Golden Boot and Golden Ball between them, supplied five of the six goals in the final. And on Sunday it was the three goals they shared which made history as Paris Saint-Germain hammered Marseille 3-0 in Le Classique.
With his 29th-minute tap-in from a Kylian Mbappe assist, Lionel Messi became only the second footballer ever to reach 700 club goals playing in the top five leagues. The brilliant Argentine now stands just two away from overhauling Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 701, and the form he has been in this season for the Parisians suggests those pair of strikes won’t be long in coming.
And just 26 minutes later Mbappe made his own bit of history. His second-half volley was his 200th goal for PSG since his 2017 transfer from Monaco, taking him level with Edinson Cavani as the top marksman in the capital club’s record books. His second goal of the match, Mbappe’s effort made him a double-centurion in just 246 appearances compared to the Uruguayan’s return of 200 in 301 games.
The fact that Messi assisted both of Mbappe’s goals and the Frenchman returned the favour for Messi’s tally was lost on nobody on a historic occasion as PSG moved themselves eight points clear of second-placed Marseille at the top of Ligue 1.
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Over in the Bundesliga, Eric Choupo-Moting set Bayern Munich on their way to a vital 3-0 win over Union Berlin in their continued quest to record an 11th straight German title success.
The former Stoke City and PSG star headed home the opener as Bayern struck three times in 15 first-half minutes against a Union side who have stunned the continent by sticking with the perennial champs for much of the season so far.
Kingsley Coman and birthday boy Jamal Musiala made the game safe before half-time, and there was a welcome return for Sadio Mane in a 25-minute cameo after the break having missed almost four months of action – including the World Cup – due to a leg injury.
A beautiful gesture. ❤️
Barcelona went down to their first La Liga defeat since the Classico loss to Real Madrid last October as they failed to make the most of Los Blancos’ 1-1 draw with neighbours Atletico Madrid.
La Blaugrana were beaten by relegation-threatened Almeria thanks to a sole first-half goal from El Bilal Toure, with Xavi Hernandez’s side dominating possession and territory but failing to threaten the home club’s goal nearly enough in what the manager later called “the worst game of the season”.
Just 24 hours earlier, Madrid had needed a late goal from teenager Alvaro Rodriguez to share the spoils with 10-man Atletico, with the gap at the top now at seven points in Barca’s favour with 15 games to play.
Napoli’s inexorable march to the Serie A title continued with a 2-0 win at Empoli as Victor Osimhen’s 19th goal of the campaign put them 18 points clear of Inter, who lost 1-0 at Bologna.
Meanwhile, there were emotional scenes in Turkey as Besiktas fans threw thousands of soft toys onto the playing surface in the opening moments of their Super Lig clash with Antalyaspor.
The interruption in play was timed four minutes and 17 seconds in, to coincide with the 04:17 timing of the February 6 earthquake in Turkey and Syria, with the toys being donated as gifts for child survivors of the disaster which has claimed over 50,000 lives and left in excess of two million homeless.
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