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Football in 2021: What men’s records could be broken in the new year?

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Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo moved up to 102 international goals with a header in a friendly against Andorra in November

Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Celtic (in theory) are among the possible record-breakers in 2021.

Euro 2020 being delayed by a year and the late start to the season means there is going to be an awful lot of football this year.

So what men’s football records could we see fall in 2021?

International goalscoring record?

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo only needs seven goals to equal the world record of Iran legend Ali Daei.

Daei is the top scoring player in men’s international football, with 109 goals between 1993 and 2006.

Ronaldo, 35, will have at least 11 competitive games in 2021 – plus friendlies – to break the world record.

He is also chasing several records at Euro 2020.

If he scores a goal he will become the top scorer in the tournament’s history (he is currently level with Michel Platini on nine). He will become the first person to play at five European Championships (presuming he appears in a game).

Two assists would take him past Karel Poborsky’s record of six (in Euros since 1980).

If Portugal reach the final Ronaldo could become the first player to play in three. A win would take him to a joint record two European Championships.

Joint most successful European Cup player?

Ronaldo has his sights set on records at club level too. If he can help Juventus to win the Champions League he would join Real Madrid legend Francisco Gento on a record six European Cups.

That would also take him level with Clarence Seedorf, who is currently the only player to win the tournament with three different teams.

He could also become the first person to win the Golden Boot in Italy, Spain and England if he can finish as top scorer in Serie A.

Most international caps?

Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos had two penalties saved against Switzerland on the night he became the most capped European

Spain defender Sergio Ramos, like his old Real Madrid team-mate Ronaldo, is hoping to seal an international world record in men’s football.

The 34-year-old broke Gianluigi Buffon’s European record in November and now has 178 caps.

He only needs seven caps to beat the record of Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan, who played 184 times between 1995 and 2012.

Ramos has some rivals for the record though – Oman midfielder Ahmed Mubarak, 35, is on 179 and Kuwait forward Bader al-Mutawa, also 35, has 178 – and neither have retired yet.

Ten in a row?

Scott Brown
Celtic’s ninth title in a row came when the Scottish season was finished early

Three European teams are bidding to win a 10th consecutive league title this season.

Celtic – who trail Rangers by 16 points with three games in hand – are attempting to become the first Scottish team to win 10 in a row.

Both Celtic (1966-1974) and Rangers (1989-1997) have managed nine before.

Juventus are also looking to complete a decade of dominance in Italy, having won every Serie A title since 2011-12. Nobody in Europe’s top five leagues has ever won 10 consecutive titles.

Ludogorets are also looking to wrap up a 10th Bulgarian title in a row. Reformed in 2009 and bankrolled a year later, they had never played in the top flight before this run.

All those sides are some way short of the European record though, which is shared by Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar (2003-2016) and Latvia’s Skonto Riga (1991-2004), who both won 14 consecutive league titles.

Golden Boot record?

The most Premier League goals in a season is 34 – managed by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer in 1993-94 and 1994-95 respectively.

Both of those hauls took 40 or more games when the Premier League had more teams.

Mohamed Salah’s 32 in 2017-18 is the record for a 38-game season.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jamie Vardy, Son Heung-min, all with 11, and current top-scorer Salah, who has 13, are all roughly on pace for that amount.

The joint record for assists in a season is 20 – by Thierry Henry in 2002-03 and Kevin de Bruyne last season.

Kane is already halfway there with 10 assists in his first 14 games of the season.

Most Premier League penalties in a season?

Referee Craig Pawson looks at VAR monitor
The introduction of VAR has seen the number of Premier League penalties awarded shoot up

The record for most penalties given in a Premier League season is 2006-07 when 112 were awarded (and 87 were scored).

This season, with the help of the new handball laws and video assistant referees, that figure is likely to be shattered.

So far, with most sides having played either 14 or 15 games, there have been 62 penalties taken and 51 scored.

And a record that probably won’t get broken…

Premier League points record

Manchester City’s record of 100 points in 2017-18 is not in any danger – Liverpool will need to win 23 of their 24 remaining games to match the landmark.

On current form the title winners will finish on 84 points, the joint-ninth lowest points total alongside Manchester United’s inaugural Premier League title in 1992-93.

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