Player: Paul Owens (Coleraine FC)
Owens celebrated a bizarre pair of goals on his league debut for Coleraine last weekend. The 29-year-old scored direct from a corner twice in a 3-1 defeat of Glenavon FC in the Northern Irish Premiership. "I've never scored a senior goal from a corner before, so it was a bit strange to get two in the same match," said Owens, who joined this month from Carrick Rangers FC.
"There was a strong breeze so I knew if I got it right it would put the keeper under pressure." Owens would have completed a hat-trick of corners had goalkeeper Davy O'Hare not scrambled another ball over the crossbar. Coleraine manager Oran Kearney said: "It was incredible. I've never seen anything like it before."
Goal: Daniel Alves (FC Barcelona)
An occasional goalscorer throughout his career, Alves cannot have struck too many better balls than he did in Barcelona's 2-2 Copa del Rey draw with Real Madrid CF. The right-back was loitering with intent as the Merengues defended a free-kick on their right, which was deflected to the edge of the box by the wall. Without breaking stride he proceeded to arrow a right-footed shot high into the far corner of Iker Casillas's goal.
"Sometimes you try things like that and luckily this time it came off," said Alves of his second goal of the season, which put the Azulgrana 2-0 up on the night. "The important thing is that it helped the team."
Team: VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach
The cup exploits of third-tier CD Mirandés, who claimed their third Liga scalp of the season in eliminating RCD Espanyol on away goals to reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals, and League Cup final-bound Liverpool FC certainly warrant a mention, but Mönchengladbach shade it this week. Lucien Favre's men began the second half of the Bundesliga campaign by defeating leaders FC Bayern München 3-1 − their sixth win in eight league outings.
A team who last term required a relegation play-off to preserve their top-flight status are now only a point shy of the summit and in contention for a first Bundesliga title since 1977. Not that Favre is entertaining such talk, however. "Our goal remains to think from game to game and fight for every point," he said.
"It was a beautiful goal and I'm happy it came on such a special day in the club's history. I'm sure he would have found one of his great phrases to describe my goal. I was a bit anxious because I hadn't managed to score this season. It was a long wait for me and for many fans but it was worth it"
Alessandro Del Piero talks us through his first strike since 9 May − a superb dipping effort from the edge of the penalty area in Juventus's 3-0 Coppa Italia quarter-final victory against AS Roma. Fittingly for him, it came on the ninth anniversary of the death of Giovanni Agnelli, the former club president who bestowed the nickname of 'Pinturicchio' (the little painter) on the Bianconeri captain, in a nod to the famous Renaissance artist.
Francesco Totti set a new Serie A record of goals for a single club when he registered his second of the game against AC Cesena last weekend, a volley from an Erik Lamela cross which lifted the Roma talisman above former AC Milan striker Gunnar Nordhal at the top of the all-time list. "It's a special record and I wanted to break it as quickly as possible," the 35-year-old said.
"Playing alongside young, talented players and for a young coach like Luis Enrique is extra motivation for me." Totti is now five goals shy of third-placed pair Giuseppe Meazza and José Altafini in the overall scoring charts and 14 behind Nordahl, but still has some way to go eclipse 274-goal Silvio Piola as the most prolific player in Serie A history.
Self-belief: Claudiu Bumba (FCM Târgu Mureş & Romania)
Receiving a first international call-up might induce nerves in many a player, particularly a teenager, but not Claudiu Bumba. The 18-year-old striker recently became the youngest person selected by Romania for more than 35 years yet, training in Antalya ahead of the 27 January friendly against Turkmenistan, he sounded full of confidence.
"Honestly, I have never had a role model or idol: I was my own idol," he said. Asked if he felt overawed entering a dressing room containing experienced internationals like Adrian Mutu, Ciprian Marica and Răzvan Raţ he added succinctly: "Not at all." Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Strictly old school
One of the greatest players of all time has gone back to school. Since November, Zinédine Zidane has been enrolled on a course studying for a diploma in sports club general management in Limoges. The presence of the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000 winner in the classroom has caused quite a stir, with Jérôme Poupard, head of press relations at Stade Rennais FC and one of Zidane's teachers, saying: "It is special to have Zinédine Zidane among my pupils. It's certainly a great honour."
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