Nobody likes asterisks. An asterisk means something isn’t quite what it seems, and in football, it only ever makes things less exciting.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 title victory will come with an asterisk as they didn’t actually win it. If Liverpool are awarded the Premier League, they’ll have their own asterisk. It’s no fun. But it’s not the first time we’ve seen that funky little star next to a statistic.
Here are seven football records which come with an asterisk.
Most Consecutive Serie A Games With a Goal – 11*
Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gabriel Batistuta sit in the record books for scoring in 11 consecutive Serie A games. The problem is only one of them actually managed that.
Batistuta found the back of the net in each of the first 11 games of the 1994/95 season, and he stood unopposed in the record books until the 2019/20 season, when Ronaldo matched his record. However, the Juventus man actually needed 12 games to do it.
Ronaldo scored in ten straight games before being rested for the 11th – a meeting with Brescia in February. He returned and scored straight after, but that was his 11th consecutive appearance, not the 11th consecutive game.
Most Consecutive Victories by Team in Top 5 Leagues in All Competitions – 43*
Longest unbeaten runs across all competitions in Europe’s top 5 leagues
AC Milan (42)
Real Madrid (40)
Nottingham Forest (40) pic.twitter.com/fDfAx15Ftk
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 15, 2017
Between May 2011 and May 2012, Juventus went unbeaten in 43 matches, breaking the record for the most consecutive wins by a team in one of Europe’s top five leagues in all competitions.
The only problem is that their record didn’t actually include Champions League games as I Bianconeri had failed to qualify the year before. They had finished seventh in Serie A and only had to focus on league and Coppa Italia fixtures.
They took credit away from the AC Milan side of 1992/93, whose 42-win run included Champions League games as well and is arguably more impressive as a result.
Most Goals Conceded in a Premier League Season – 100*
The 1993/94 Premier League season was not kind to Swindon Town, who became the league’s whipping boys en route to conceding 100 goals across the entire campaign. The question is – would they have conceded that many if the season didn’t have 42 games?
In a 38-game season, the record is 89, set by the woeful Derby County side of 2007/08. Given how poor the Rams were that year, it seems entirely possible that they might have reached 100 goals of their own, but we’ll never know.
Because of the old 42-game system, a number of Premier League records are a little skewed. Most team draws in a season (18), most consecutive team draws (7) and most points for a relegated side (49) are all up for debate.
Brighton’s Biggest Ever Defeat – 18-0*
The Brighton and Hove Albion record books show that their heaviest ever defeat came back in 1940 on Christmas Day, when they were thumped 18-0 by Norwich City. Or were they?
Only four Brighton players actually travelled for the game (three of whom were juniors), and the rest of the team was made up of Norwich reserves, spectators and Bolton’s Jimmy Ithell, who was invited to help out.
So, a team which was less than half Brighton lost 18-0, yet somehow that actually counts.
Fastest Ever Goal – 2 Seconds*
There are plenty of claims to the record of the fastest ever goal, but one which was widely accepted was courtesy of Al-Hilal midfielder Nawaf Al Abid, who needed just two seconds to score against Al-Shoulla in an Under-21 game back in 2009.
Unfortunaly for Al Abid, his record didn’t stand for too long as the game was eventually wiped out and voided as Al-Hilal had actually fielded six ineligible players, so the midfielder’s goal was technically not scored in a competitive fixture.
Imagine being denied a record like that because your own team took an academy fixture too seriously. Fuming.
Biggest Ever Scoreline – 149-0*
Over in Madagascar, AS Adema roared to an eye-catching 149-0 win over SO l’Emyrne in 2002, obliterating the record for the highest scoreline in a professional fixture ever.
The problem with this game was that it wasn’t actually played properly. SO l’Emyrne actually used the game as a protest against some suspect refereeing that season and just scored 149 unanswered own goals to show they didn’t care.
The coach and four players were suspended, and the Madagascan government were so ashamed that they actually temporarily dissolved the country’s FA.
Most Career Goals – 1,283*
Pelé is no stranger to claiming crazy facts about his playing career. One such claim, which has been officially recognised, is that he netted a total of 1,283 goals during his career – a tally which nobody has ever come close to matching.
However, 526 of these goals came in unofficial friendlies and fixtures which are not actually recognised as legitimate games. In any other world, those games are wiped from the record books, but not with Pelé.
He used to score against teams with the same names as some professional teams, including a five-goal haul against an amateur side called Juventus and eight goals against some local side called Botafogo. All is not as it seems.