Welcome to “11 Things”, a new series where we’ll be picking and discussing eleven talking points from significant events in the world of football (including recently concluded Match-weeks). For our inaugural article, we’ll be taking a look back at the crazy whirlwind that was the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League Round of 16. We hope you enjoy it.
It was a fantastic round of games, with none of the ties truly disappointing, and talking points aplenty, from virtually every game we had on show. From fantastic performances, incredible comebacks, and breathtaking moments, to heartbreaking defeats, chokes, flops, and impending returns to several “drawing boards”, the round had (seemingly) everything… but what where our favourite talking points, through all 16 of the games we saw? Well, you’d have to keep reading to find out.
11. Professor X-Javier:
We start off on a much lighter note, with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s hilarious haircut, from the final match-day, against Atletico Madrid. The Bayer Leverkusen man had made a Superbowl bet with Sergio Dipp (an ESPN presenter), which required the loser to shave his head bald. After losing said bet, Hernandez kept his word and transformed quickly from Chicharito; the goal poaching genius, to Professor X-Javier of the “Mex men” (Get it? No? Okay).
Even though he failed to get on the score-sheet in both games against Atletico, he still grabbed headlines (haha) on the final day and should continue to do so, until he manages to grow his hair back to a level friends and fans of his are more accustomed to.
Funnily enough, Professor Charles Xavier wasn’t the only meta-human this super powered haircut reminded us of, as Chicharito could also be likened to Kurt Angle; the wrestling machine, who once won an Olympic gold medal, with a broken, freaking neck…
…and Pitbull, the Miami rapper whose super power is counting to 4 (in two different languages!).
In the end, it’s just a shame that Cerebero does not come equipped with the ability to search for a missing scoring touch.
10. Iker Casil-lasts, and lasts, and l…
Wednesday evening saw Iker Casillas overtake Paolo Maldini, to set the record for most appearances in European club competitions (175). He made his first UCL appearance all the way back in 1997 and later became the youngest goalkeeper to play in a Champions League final, in the year 2000 (at just 19 years and 4 days old). In the Champions League itself, he’s made a total of 163 appearances (highest in the competition) and has also kept the most clean sheets (57). He’s won it thrice, including in 2014, when he captained the Madrid team and hoisted “La Decima” above his head. And, even though he couldn’t add to his number of clean sheets in the games against Juventus, it’s highly unlikely that his UCL legacy will end here; he’s still only 35 years old (ridiculous, considering how long he’s been around) and Porto currently sit in 2nd place, in the Portuguese Primera Liga, but, even if we never see him again, the new, highest appearance maker in European club competitions will be fondly remembered, in and around Madrid, as well as in the rest of the footballing world.