Curious European Cups curiosities explained
The European continent plays host to a number of the world’s most important football competitions. The UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, and the UEFA Super Cup are the football tournaments that people in Europe watch and go to the most. Millions of viewers from all over the world tune in each year to watch these competitions, and nothing else can match the level of excitement and thrill they provide.
But who exactly is the most popular phenomenon in these competitions? What is it about them that makes them stand out? In this article, we will investigate the odd European Cup occurrences and explain why they have become a cultural phenomenon.
1.Pedro is a serial winner
Most of the matches are played at night, and sometimes the continental competitions even take the field in the afternoon, but over the years there have still been many other players who have particularly distinguished themselves when it came to playing the European cups.
An example above all? Pedro. When the matches get important, the Lazio footballer never fails to sign his name.
In the semi-finals and finals, he played and scored nine times, including goals in the 2011 Champions League final and the 2015 European Super Cup with Barcelona, as well as one in the last act of the 2019 Europa League when he played with Arsenal.
Another who has written great pages of his career in cups is Simone Inzaghi. Before Ciro Immobile caught up to him, the current Inter coach was Lazio’s leading scorer in European competitions.
“Simoncino” was a hard worker who never stopped scoring in the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. His poker at Olympique Marseille was a memorable moment, and he finished his time with the Biancoceleste with 20 European goals.
2.The stars of the moment
The first is certainly Erling Braut Haaland, the goal machine. Of course, one could argue that the Norwegian actually scores at any time and in any competition, but his relationship with the Champions League is something special.
In fact, it was his continental performances with the Salzburg shirt that launched the center forward among the stars of world football, when in just 6 group games he scored 8 times.
Haaland also did very well in the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund, becoming the competition’s top scorer in the 2020/21 season despite his team’s exit in the quarterfinals.
And even with the Manchester City shirt, the cyborg managed to maintain his crazy average, which speaks of more goals scored in the competition than games played. But Haaland is not the only player on Guardiola’s team who boosts himself on European nights.
If in the last few years the Citizens have often come close to playing for the Champions League, they often have to thank Riyad Mahrez. In the 2020/21 season, when the English team played in the final, the Algerian led the team to both the quarter-finals and above all in the semi-final against PSG, scoring three of City’s four goals in the double-header.
Last season, Mahrez scored 7 goals, and also in the current season, he was fundamental in the group stage for his home club at the Etihad.
3.Vinicius Junior always scores in the Champions League
It would then be impossible not to think about Real Madrid and the one who decided the last Champions League, or Vinicius Junior. The Brazilian from Los Blancos has established himself more and more in Ancelotti’s rotations, and in the 2022–23 season, he confirmed himself as a man of the cup, consistently scoring both in the group stage and in the knockout stages.
In particular, Vinicius has made Liverpool a target: in the last three years, the Reds have let him score five goals in four games, including the goal that also decided the final in Paris…
Next to Vini, there is also Rodrygo, another who gets excited if he sees the Champions League. In fact, there are more goals for him in Europe than in La Liga with Real, including the two that last season allowed Los Blancos to reach the final, beating Manchester City in extra time.
4.The specialist technicians at international cups
And among the coaches? Who has a particular relationship with the cups? Certainly Carlo Ancelotti, who is the only one to have won the big-eared cup four times and who always gives his best at gala evenings.
Then there would be Josè Mourinho, the only one who can say he has won all three current UEFA competitions, having done so with four clubs and never losing a final. The only thing missing from the Portuguese is the Cup Winners’ Cup, which however was no longer played when he became coach.
On the other hand, he won it as a second to Robson at Barcelona!
Sir Alex Ferguson should also be included in the list, who in addition to the cups won with Manchester United also boasts a Cup Winners’ Cup won with Aberdeen by beating Real Madrid in the final, which is not exactly something everyone can think of achieving.
And it’s impossible to close this list without mentioning Unai Emery.
His palmares, which include four Europa Leagues (three with Sevilla and one with Villarreal) and a Champions League semi-final with Villareal, demonstrate the Basque coach’s expertise in European competitions. Just to prove that when it’s evening and you play around the Old Continent, few can compete with him…