Player: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
The Argentinian's hot streak continued in trademark fashion as he inspired Barça to victories against Valencia CF and VfB Stuttgart. A hat-trick to defeat Valencia 3-0 – the pick his first, a delightful run and finish – preceded two goals against the German side that took the holders into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals had Josep Guardiola describing him as "simply the best". Messi has now scored 20 goals in his last 18 Barcelona appearances.
Team: PFC CSKA Moskva
The Russian side's prospects looked bleak as they travelled to the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, where Sevilla FC had won seven of their eight UEFA Champions League matches and never lost in the competition – yet a goal in each half from Tomáš Necid and Keisuke Honda brought that record to a spectacular end and took CSKA into the quarter-finals for the first time.
Goal: Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC)
Having gone into the second leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie against Juventus 3-1 down, Fulham quickly conceded another early on at Craven Cottage but turned the game and got back on terms. Then with eight minutes left, substitute Dempsey picked up possession on the edge of a box and chipped the ball over Antonio Chimenti and into the top corner with the poise and perfect trajectory that was once the hallmark of his American compatriot Jack Nicklaus.
Quote: Valeri Karpin (FC Spartak Moskva)
"With performances like that, we won't need to worry about dropping points – because we won't have any."
The Spartak coach looks forward to the new Russian Premier-Liga season after the opening-day defeat by FC Dinamo Moskva.
Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero scored his 300th career goal after two minutes of Sunday's game against AC Siena. The 35-year-old added another five minutes later but it was not enough to prevent Juve drawing 3-3 at home against Serie A's bottom side. "Since the first goal I scored when I was playing at Padova, my team's results have always been more important than personal achievements so I can't fully enjoy today's milestone," the veteran forward said.
Wrong turn: Liverpool FC fans
Four fans travelled to Liverpool's UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg against LOSC Lille Métropole – only to end up in the wrong place. Instead of the French city of Lille (population: 226,000), the intrepid quartet found themselves in the Belgian town of the same name (population: 15,500). "The four men asked me to take a photo of them with the city logo," said local official Anne Van Mechelen. "When I asked what brought them to Lille, they started to laugh and said: 'Obviously because our team are playing Lille tonight'. They just could not understand where in our small town that big stadium was hiding." Having established they were 160km from their preferred Lille, the four promptly jumped in their car – although it is not known if they reached the Stade Lille Métropole in time to see Liverpool lose 1-0.
Ode to a fallen hero: David Beckham
The torn Achilles tendon that ruled the former England captain out of this summer's FIFA World Cup might have had him in tears, but consolation came in the unlikely guise of a poem penned by British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Entitled Achilles, the work is an unlikely mix of references to the Greek hero and Beckham, who – much as Achilles fell on the battlefield outside Troy – was laid low in Milan's Serie A match against Chievo. "Beckham is almost a mythical figure in popular culture," said Duffy as the ink dried on a work that reflects The Iliad as a portrayal of legendary heroes. "It's fascinating that the injury takes its name from Achilles. The whole point of Greek myths is the combination of triumph and tragedy that we follow in them. The most tragic image was Beckham being unable to walk and crying on the side of the pitch. It was a very moving moment."
Football violins: Nigel Kennedy
Virtuoso violinist Nigel Kennedy has been an English hero every since the one-time prodigy shocked the world of classical music by selling millions of records while liking football and dressing scruffily. Now Kennedy, once the owner of a Jaguar painted in the colours of his beloved Aston Villa FC, has turned tail by announcing a celebration of England's 1973 World Cup qualifying elimination by Poland. Kennedy, who now lives in Krakow, is curating a weekend of events at London's Royal Festival Hall. The centrepiece on 30 May will be a screening of the 1-1 Wembley draw with commentary replaced by a semi-improvised live soundtrack supplied by the 53-year-old and Polish jazz musicians. "Football brings a lot of people together and music is obviously designed expressly for that purpose," Kennedy said.
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