Xavi passes Raul for all-time Champions League appearance record

imageXavi Hernandez applauds the fans following his record-setting appearance (Getty Image)

Though he may no longer be a starter for Barcelona, Xavi is still around breaking records.

The 34-year-old midfielder, who’s won the Champions League three times with Barcelona, came on as a second-half substitute in Barca’s 3-2 loss at PSG on Tuesday, marking his 143rd appearance in the Champions League. That broke the tie for the all-time record, which he shared with fellow Spaniard Raul.

Breathing down Xavi’s neck is Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas, who has made 140 appearances to date and is in line for his 141st on Wednesday. Make sure to keep an eye on those two, and the record, as the Champions League continues.

imageXavi in a 2004 Champions League match vs Celtic. (Reuters)


Bayern fans rent out floor in office building to “attend” Champions League match

imageCSKA Moscow played their Champions League match vs. Bayern Munich behind closed doors on Tuesday as part of the sanctions handed down by UEFA for CSKA fans’ racist behavior last season.

However, that did not stop a group of Bayern fans from making the trip to Moscow to watch their boys. A couple incredibly resourceful fan groups rented out an office in a neighboring skyscraper so that around 55 Bayern faithful could still enjoy a nice view of the match:

Now those are real fans!

Tobias Schweinsteiger, a Bayern Munich reserve player and older brother of Bastian also attended, tweeting “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

UPDATE: Following Bayern’s 1-0 victory, German news outlet Sport1 confirmed that the club paid the expenses for the office space.

H/T Abendzeitung

Image provided by Getty


FC Santa Claus promoted to Finnish third division

As the debate over the existence of Santa Claus rages on in kindergartens around the world, one thing we do know for certain: FC Santa Claus is an actual, real football club in Finland. With a very awesome logo, too:


And wouldn’t you know, Santa just got promoted!

Yes, Christmas has indeed come early for the supporters of this small club inside the Arctic Circle (Lapland, more specifically) after clinching promotion to the Kakkonen division of Finnish football. The decisive goal was scored by Kris Kring… — nah, just kidding — Jaakko Paavilainen in the 94th minute of their match vs ORPa, sending the team’s commentators into a frenzy:

Watch out, Kakkonen squads. Santa Claus really is coming to town!

(H/T Metro)


Christoph Kramer’s yellow card rescinded after opponent admits to slip


In a sport where diving and playacting is, sadly, very much old hat by now, Paderborn’s Stefan Kutschke provided a breath of fresh air this weekend.

During Saturday’s Bundesliga match vs Borussia Moenchengladbach, Kutschke drew a yellow card on Christoph Kramer after seemingly getting tripped up by the World Cup star on a counter-attack.

Only it wasn’t a foul. Not even close, actually:

To Kutschke’s credit, even though it certainly looks like he was diving here, the Paderborn forward immediately went over to the referee and explained that he “slipped” rather than gotten fouled. As such, the referee wiped the yellow card off the books and restarted play with a drop ball.

Score one for fair play!


Image provided by Getty


Brazilian goalkeeper scores own goal via diving header


Meet Joao Carlos.

Joao is a Brazilian goalkeeper for Serie B side Boa EC. By all accounts, he’s a rather decent one, too. In his last seven starts (before Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Avai), the 26-year-old gave up just two goals as Boa won all but one of their games.

Alas, even the best know that sometimes, crazy things just happen on the pitch. We’re talking really strange. Things you can’t do anything about, but will bury you with shame regardless.

Things like this: H/T Dirty Tackle


The weekend in soccer on Instagram

Vincent Kompany (Man City)

"Great game of football … again. We’re on track now. @officialasroma on Tuesday! #MCFC"

Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)

"Very good performance today. Big game on tuesday, let’s keep it going."

David De Gea (Manchester United)

"Very proud of having played 100 @premierleague matches with a club such as @ManchesterUnited Thanks for your support!!"

Sergio Aguero (Man City) enjoying the NFL coming to the UK

Tim Cahill (NY Red Bulls)

"Game Day against my old mate Landon. Club @everton @mls and International. Looking forward to playing LA GALAXY today and paying tribute to LD going into his final stages as a footballer. Pioneer of American soccer. Won’t get too many more chances to give him a friendly kick hahaha #LDUSA @newyorkredbulls."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) “Disappointed we didn’t manage to get all 3 points yesterday. Always a great experience playing in the derby and the best feeling in the world to score in it 🙌 #NthLdnDerby 🔴”


Robbie Keane scores stunning chip vs NY Red Bulls


The LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane reached deep into his bag of tricks on Sunday to score an incredible chip against NY Red Bulls. Watch as the 34-year-old striker freezes defender Roy Miller and chips it over Luis Robles in one fluid, sexy motion:

If I had a dollar every time Keane wowed MLS with one of his spectacular goals, well, I probably wouldn’t be managing this blog still.

Like, remember Keane’s chip vs Chivas? That was only a month ago. And now he’s done it again!

As Taylor Twellman said, “Stop it!”

Image provided by USA Today


Bayern players evacuated from Moscow hotel after fire alarm

Bayern Munich are in Moscow to face Russian champions CSKA on Tuesday in the Champions League, and their trip got off to a rocky start as the hotel briefly evacuated everyone in the wee hours of the night due to a fire alarm.

The team were ushered out wrapped in blankets, but judging by Pep Guardiola’s selfie, didn’t seem too bothered by the unexpected wake-up call.

They’ll surely be hoping for no more surprises for the rest of their stay, however, as Bayern are the big favorites even on the road. Bayern won both their Champions League meetings with CSKA last season.