Goals: Diego Costa (Club Atlético de Madrid)
A "kung fu" kick according to some reporters, Diego Costa's first goal in Atlético's 4-1 UEFA Champions League round of 16 home win against AC Milan was another for the scrapbook in a season where the Brazilian-born Spain forward – who spoke to UEFA.com a few weeks ago – has caught the eye with some spectacular finishes: witness his overhead kick in the Liga against Getafe CF; and lightning-speed run from halfway and cool finish against FK Austria Wien in the group stage. "I'm doing well in the Champions League and scoring a lot in the Liga too," the 25-year-old told UEFA.com on Tuesday. "Every game I play, I try to do my best and things are working out for me."
Player: Sonia Bermúdez (FC Barcelona)
Our survey of Europe's other Lionel Messis a few weeks back omitted his female counterpart at Barcelona, and while the real Messi scored against Manchester City FC on Wednesday, Sonia Bermúdez – who notched a YouTube-favourite wonder goal in February – upped the ante by hitting the Spanish women's league's fastest ever hat-trick on Sunday.
The 29-year-old struck in the 35th, 37th and 38th minutes of a 4-0 victory over FC Levante Las Planas. "I didn't realise I had scored them all so quickly – it felt like longer," 'Soni' told UEFA.com. "They told me after the game it was four minutes, and me and my team-mates were happy, but even happier for the victory."
Barcelona, unbeaten since October 2012, face VfL Wolfsburg in the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals next week as the club continue their bid for a quadruple including the men's UEFA Champions League, UEFA Futsal Cup and UEFA Youth League titles.
Team: FC Bayern München
Brilliant teams do great things even when it does not look like they are trying that hard; hence, Bayern coach Josep Guardiola was able to pronounce himself moderately disappointed last Saturday when his side "weren't as dominant" as usual in beating VfL Wolfsburg 6-1 away – a record 16th straight Bundesliga win. Then, on Tuesday, they tried not to look like they were trying too hard as they froze Arsenal FC out of the UEFA Champions League with a 1-1 draw in Germany, Thomas Müller fiendishly deceiving the public into believing his team were not perfect by missing a late penalty. "It was the difficult game we were expecting, but we did really well," said Arjen Robben.
"When I was recovering from cancer I went there to say thank you for the support I got. Now, 11 years later, I am going to be there with a wonderful football club, as a manager. It is quite a story and the emotions will be there but I am a very professional guy and I can focus on the job in hand. So we will see – ask me how I coped after the game!"
Wigan Athletic FC's German boss Uwe Rösler, who returned to Manchester City – where he is regarded with huge affection for his efforts as a player in the 1990s – last Sunday; incredibly, having already beaten City 1-0 in last season's FA Cup final, his Wigan side won 2-1 to set up a semi-final against Arsenal.
Making her 189th appearance for Italy on Monday, in a Cyprus Women's Cup game with Finland, Patrizia Panico scored her 100th goal for her country, with that achievement earning a 1-1 draw. A nine-times Italian title winner, the ASD Torres CF attacker is now within five goals of Carolina Morace's Italian national record of 105, and is in no mood to sit back and let other strikers do the running just yet. "I still feel the same reckless desire to run towards the opposition goal and try to put the ball in the net," Panico explained. "Nothing has changed in that sense since my Italy debut back in 1996." Torres themselves take on 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam in the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals.
Fair play: Aaron Hunt (SV Werder Bremen)
Bremen captain Aaron Hunt persuaded the referee not to give a penalty after he went down under a challenge from 1. FC Nürnberg defender Javier Pinola 75 minutes into last Saturday's Bundesliga game – with Bremen leading 2-0 in Nuremberg. Match official Manuel Graefe pointed to the spot, but the midfielder convinced him to change his mind and restart play with a drop ball. "Out of instinct, I wanted to win the penalty, but that was wrong," the 27-year-old explained later. "We don't want to win games like that, even if we are in a relegation battle." Pinola was impressed. "I take my hat off to him," he said. So do we.
Batman: Asier Illarramendi (Real Madrid CF)
Coaches put great stock in players with "personality", though it seems Asier Illarramendi may have got the wrong end of the stick. The 24-year-old Madrid midfielder had to make a sheepish apology this week after dressing up as Batman and running in front of a bull at a festival in Azpeitia in his native Basque country. "We have an internal rule designed to prevent players going skiing and other dangerous things but I have never known it apply to bullfighting," said a bemused Merengues coach Carlo Ancelotti at a press conference. "He has apologised and I don't think he'll do it again."
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