Inzaghi's hat-trick of records delights Milan
Friday 05 November 2010
Filippo Inzaghi reached three goalscoring milestones in one match with two strikes in Milan's 2-2 Champions League draw with Real Madrid at San Siro on Wednesday night.
The 37-year-old striker came off the bench to help the hosts overturn a 1-0 deficit only for Pedro Leon's injury-time equaliser to earn the Spaniards a draw. The result left Milan in second place in Group G, a point ahead of Ajax and five behind Real.
It was still a night to savour for Inzaghi, though, who became the record scorer in European competition with 70 goals, beating the 69 of Raul and Gerd Müller; overtook Marco van Basten in Milan's all-time scoring charts by moving on to 125 for the club; and moved ahead of Andrei Shevchenko as the Rossoneri's leading scorer in Europe with 40.
"I'm very happy, it's a great evening for me," said the former Juventus forward. "Setting this record at San Siro in front of my supporters has always been one of my dreams. Now a phase of my 20-year career comes to an end, although the equaliser at the end of the match spoilt the night a little bit.
"I give credit to the supporters for [the records], their cheering gave me an incredible lift when I stood up from the bench," Inzaghi added. "When I'm at San Siro, all the joyful moments I've spent wearing the Milan shirt come to my mind. I knew I was ready to play, I feel in great shape, but in the end the result left me a bit disappointed, even though I scored twice from two shots.
"With these goals I overtook Shevchenko as the most prolific Milan player in European club competitions. I also overtook Gerd Müller and Van Basten. I want to thank everyone who has been close to me, my family, my brother, my girlfriend."
The Milan manager, Massimiliano Allegri, praised his striker. "Pippo is a great player, I'm happy for him," Allegri said. "He played half an hour of intense football. It didn't surprise me. I'm sorry for leaving him out of the line-up, but I know I can always count on him."
Philipp Lahm has agreed a new contract with Bayern Munich that will keep Germany's World Cup captain at the club until 2016, the Bavarians said yesterday.
"We are very happy that we have been able to sign a long-term extension to the contract of an important player in our team," said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the club's chief executive.
Lahm's current contract runs until June 2012 and Bayern said the 26-year-old right-back had agreed to extend for another four years. Lahm has been with Bayern since 1995, although he spent two seasons on loan with Stuttgart, and has played in their last 78 competitive matches, being substituted only once. He has 75 caps for Germany and captained the team to third place at the World Cup in the absence of the injured Michael Ballack.
It was the second piece of good news for the German champions yesterday after the coach, Louis van Gaal, and club president, Uli Höness, put an end to their recent squabble which started when Höness said the Dutchman would not listen to other people's opinions.
Mario Gomez was in danger of becoming Bayern's most expensive flop until injuries forced Van Gaal to give the striker another chance. Gomez has embraced the opportunity and scored his second hat-trick in less than three weeks in a 4-0 win at Cluj on Wednesday that secured Bayern's place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Gomez has eight goals in his last six games and will hope to add to that tally against last-place Borussia Mönchengladbach tomorrow as Bayern turns their focus back to the Bundesliga.
"It's fantastic that we have a striker like that," Van Gaal said after Wednesday's match in Romania. "It was very, very good."
Van Gaal overlooked Gomez for about a year, rarely giving Bayern's most expensive acquisition in the history of the club a regular place in the starting line-up.
Gomez arrived from Stuttgart on the heels of a 24-goal Bundesliga season for a reported fee of ¤35m (£30.6m). He began well but after a few games Van Gaal, who was also new at the club, dropped him and Gomez spent the rest of the season making ineffectual and brief appearances if he played at all.
Van Gaal crowned his first season at the club with the domestic double and took Bayern to the Champions League final. Gomez reportedly came close to joining Liverpool in the summer. Now, Bayern are lucky to have him.
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