10 youngest Champions League goalkeepers

Here are the 10 youngest goalkeepers to feature in the Champions League era since it was rebranded in 1992:

1. Mile Svilar – BENFICA 0-1 Manchester United – 18 October 2017 – 18 years, 1 month, 21 days

Mile Svilar became the youngest goalkeeper in UEFA Champions League history on Wednesday night in Benfica’s 0-1 defeat at home to Manchester United.

The 18-year-old Belgian had only made his professional debut in Benfica’s 1-0 win at Olhanense in the Portuguese Cup on Saturday.  He is an under-19 international who arrived from Anderlecht in a €2.5 million deal this past summer.

Svilar became the third different goalkeeper in as many matches to start for the Portuguese champions in Europe this season.

 2. Iker Casillas – Olympiacos 3-3 REAL MADRID – 15 September 1999 – 18 years, 3 months, 26 days

The current FC Porto goalkeeper replaced former-West Germany international Bodo Illgner as Real Madrid’s first choice goalkeeper at the age of 18, making his Champions League debut in the Spanish giants’ opening group stage game; a 3-3 draw in Greece.

Iker Casillas would only start one more game in the opening group stage game – a 4-1 win at home to Molde.  Illgner played in one game whilst fellow youngster Albano Bizzarri started three of Madrid’s final four opening group stage games.  The Spaniard is 39 years old and currently backup at Udinese.

Casillas would go on to play 12 games in that season’s tournament culminating in a 3-0 win over Valencia at the Stade de France in which the Real Madrid legend would start.

3. Nikolay Mihaylov – LEVSKI SOFIA 0-3 Werder Bremen – 31 October 2006 – 18 years, 4 months, 3 days

The son of Bulgarian legend and the former-Reading goalkeeper who was wearing a wig at USA 94, Bobby Mihaylov, made his Champions League debut as the youngest player since Iker Casillas in 2006.

Nikolay Mihaylov’s appearance in a 0-3 defeat at home to Werder Bremen would prove to be his only Champions League appearance that season,  His only appearances since came for FC Twente in 2010.

He spent a season with Liverpool in 2007-08 but didn’t make a senior appearance.  Now 29 years old, Mihaylov currently has 33 caps for the Bulgarian national team.

4. Igor Akinfeev – FC Porto 0-0 CSKA MOSCOW – 14 September 2004 – 18 years, 5 months, 6 days

Igor Akinfeev was a highly-rated teenager who broke into the CSKA Moscow first-team as a 17-year-old during the 2003 season in which he became a Russian Premier League champion.

The following year the youngster made his Champions League debut in a 0-0 draw at FC Porto and started all six group games.  Akinfeev also made his debut for the Russian national team in 2004.

13 years later and Igor Akinfeev is now 31, having made 102 appearances for Russia and 52 in the Champions League – all for CSKA Moscow for whom he has spent his whole career with.  He has not kept a clean sheet in the competition in his last 42 matches in the competition since drawing 0-0 at Arsenal in November 2006.

5. Adrian Šemper – Lyon 3-0 DINAMO ZAGREB – 14 September 2016 – 18 years, 8 months, 2 days

Last season Dinamo Zagreb handed a Champions League debut to 18-year-old Adrian Šemper between the sticks as they went down 3-0 at Lyon in the group stage.  The Croatian team would end up losing all six of their games without scoring a single goal.

This would be Šemper’s only Champions League appearance last season and is currently on loan at NK Lokomotiva in the Croatian top flight with his parent club having previously rejected an offer from Chelsea.

6. Maksim Kabanov – SPARTAK MOSCOW 2-2 Feyenoord – 18 September 2001 – 18 years, 8 months, 19 days

Maksim Kabanov was handed his Champions League debut in 2001 as an 18-year-old in a 2-2 draw for Spartak Moscow at home to Feyenoord.  After starting their next match, a 1-3 loss at home to Bayern Munich, it would prove to be the Russian’s final game in the competition.

Now 34 years old, Kabanov has been retired for three years and spent most of his career in the second tier of Russian football.

7. David de Gea – FC Porto 2-0 ATLÉTICO MADRID – 30 September 2009 – 18 years, 10 months, 23 days

The final 18-year-old on the list is current Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.  Whilst at Atlético Madrid the Spaniard came on after 27 minutes for the injured Roberto, conceding both goals late on in a 2-0 defeat at FC Porto in September 2009.

David de Gea’s impressive performances saw him hold down a first-team spot under manager Abel Resino and later Quique Sánchez Flores.

The 26-year-old has now made 31 appearances in Europe’s elite club cup competition, including last night’s 1-0 victory at Benfica.

8. Pepe Reina – BARCELONA 1-0 Fenerbahçe – 31 October 2001 – 19 years, 2 months, 0 days

Called up to the Barcelona first-team squad in 2000 following injuries to Richard Dutruel and Francesc Arnau, Pepe Reina played half of their La Liga games that season, competing with Roberto Bonano.

The following season Reina was handed his Champions League debut in a 1-0 win at home to Fenerbahçe in the group stage and would go on to play four games in the competition that season.

Reina would go on top play for Villarreal, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Napoli, for whom he is currently their first choice goalkeeper.  The 35-year-old has made 70 appearances in the Champions League to date.

9. Timon Wellenreuther – SCHALKE 04 – 0-2 Real Madrid – 18 February 2015 – 19 years, 2 months, 15 days

Timon Wellenreuther was 17 years old when he joined Schalke 04, immediately going into their reserve team.  He progressed quickly, making his Bundesliga debut in February 2015 against Bayern Munich and his Champions League debut two weeks later.

The German goalkeeper played both legs in Schalke’s 4-5 second round elimination at the hands of Real Madrid, which included a second leg victory at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.  Current Manchester City star Leroy Sané scored in the Spanish capital, and Premier League winner Christian Fuchs also stared for the German outfit.

Wellenfeuther didn’t last long at Schalke, being sent out on loan to RCD Mallorca the following season and currently plays for Dutch Eredivisie strugglers Willem II.

10. Petr Čech – Bayern Munich 0-0 SPARTA PRAGUE – 18 September 2001 – 19 years, 3 months, 29 days

The highly-rated teenager made his Champions League debut for new club Sparta Prague in a 0-0 draw at the Allianz Arena.  Petr Čech would go on to keep a clean sheet in each of his first four appearances in the competition; twice against Feyenoord and one more against Spartak Moscow.

Čech would go on to keep six clean sheets in 12 appearances that season.  The Czech Republic international has since made a total of 111 appearances in the Champions League, keeping 49 clean sheets and winning the 2011-12 tournament in a penalty shootout with Chelsea.

20 Stats from Premier League Matchday 8 ft. Watford & Gabriel Jesus

0 – Gabriel Jesus has never lost a Premier League game (W13, D4).

2 – Stoke City scored two goals at the Etihad Stadium for the first time in their 7-2 defeat to Manchester City.

2 – Roy Hodgson became the second manager to beat Chelsea with four different Premier League teams (Blackburn Rovers, West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool and Crystal Palace), after Sam Allardyce.

5 – Watford have scored a goal in the 90th minute or later in each of their last three Premier League games, picking up five points in the process.

6 – Crystal Palace 2-1 Chelsea was only the sixth time in Premier League history that the team bottom of the table beat the defending champions.

6 – Raheem Sterling has scored six goals in his last six Premier League appearances.

12 – Everton are winless in their last 12 Premier League matches away from home (D6, L6) since beating Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in January.

13% – Jose Mourinho has now only won one of his eight matches against Jurgen Klopp in all competitions (W1, D4, L3).

18 – Gabriel Jesus has been involved in 18 goals in his 17 Premier League appearances (13 goals, 5 assists).

18 – Petr Čech has failed to save any of the last 18 penalties he has faced in the Premier League.

18% – Ronald Koeman’s win percentage in away league games with Everton is only 18% (P22, W4), compared to 37% at Southampton previously (P38, W14).

28 – Harry Kane has failed to score with any of his 28 efforts on goal in his Premier League matches at Wembley Stadium this season.

36 – Wayne Rooney has now scored against 36 of the 39 different clubs he’s faced in the Premier League – only failing to score against Blackpool, Derby County and Manchester United.

51 – Joe Hart became the 51st goalkeeper in Premier League history to record an assist.

83% – Five of Brighton & Hove Albion’s six Premier League goals have been scored in the second half.

83% – Pascal Groß has been directly involved in 83% of Brighton & Hove Albion’s six Premier League goals this season (2 goals, 3 assists).

87 – There were only 87 seconds between Manolo Gabbiadini’s equaliser for Southampton and Ayoze Pérez restoring Newcastle United’s lead.

89 – Since José Mourinho took charge of Manchester United last summer, both United and Liverpool have won the same number of points (89).

99 – There were only 99 seconds between Andy Carroll’s first yellow card and his second at Burnley on Saturday.

640′ – César Azpilicueta’s own goal ended Crystal Palace’s run of 640 minutes without a single Premier League goal this season.

6 bottom of the league teams to beat Premier League champions

Crystal Palace picked up their first points of the season with a surprise 2-1 win at home to Chelsea on Saturday.

The Eagles had lost a joint-record seven consecutive games to start the 2017-18 season and hadn’t even scored a single goal during that run.

Roy Hodgson was in charge of Palace as they picked up three points this past weekend.  The result was only the sixth occasion when the team bottle of the table have beaten the defending Premier League champions.

Ron Atkinson’s Coventry City were the first club to achieve this feat when they thrashed Blackburn Rovers 5-0 in December 1995.

The only team to have been bottom of the table and beat the defending champions twice are Wolverhampton Wanderers.  The West Midlands first accomplished this with a 1-0 win over Manchester United in January 2004 and then against Chelsea by the same scoreline in January 2011.

Sunderland were bottom of the table last season when they beat then reigning champions Leicester City 2-1 at the Stadium of Light in December 2016.

The 51 goalkeepers with a Premier League assist

Joe Hart became the 51st goalkeeper in Premier League history to record an assist when the West Ham shot stopper set up Michail Antonio’s opener in their 1-1 draw at Burnley on Saturday.

The England international’s long ball from the edge of his own penalty area beat the Burnley defence to gift Antonio a one-on-one against Nick Pope from which the midfielder duly rounded the goalkeeper before rolling the ball home into an empty net.

This was the first Premier League assist for a goalkeeper since Everton’s Joel Robles on Boxing Day last year.

The complete list of 51 goalkeepers with a Premier League assist is as follows:

Goalkeeper Assists
Paul Robinson 5
José Reina 4
David Seaman 4
Mark Crossley 3
Tim Howard 3
Jussi Jääskeläinen 3
Peter Schmeichel 3
Manuel Almunia 2
Scott Carson 2
Petr Čech 2
Łukasz Fabiański 2
Tim Flowers 2
Shay Given 2
David James 2
Paul Jones 2
Dean Kiely 2
Chris Kirkland 2
Tim Krul 2
Nigel Martyn 2
Steve Ogrizovic 2
Mart Poom 2
Ian Walker 2
Ali Al-Habsi 1
Mark Beeney 1
Artur Boruc 1
Mark Bosnich 1
Roy Carroll 1
Radek Černý 1
Matt Clarke 1
Ed de Goey 1
Rob Elliot 1
Brad Guzan 1
Joe Hart 1
Wayne Hennessey 1
Shaka Hislop 1
Russell Hoult 1
Saša Ilić 1
Kasey Keller 1
Alan Kelly 1
Gábor Király 1
Jens Lehmann 1
Kevin Pressman 1
Tony Roberts 1
Joel Robles 1
Mark Schwarzer 1
Hans Segers 1
Nigel Spink 1
Thomas Sørensen 1
Edwin van der Sar 1
Chris Woods 1
Richard Wright 1

How the international break handed Jose Mourinho a huge advantage versus Liverpool

The Premier League returns from the international break with Liverpool hosting Manchester United in today’s lunchtime kickoff.

Arguably the most-anticipated game of the weekend is the first and it gives United the opportunity to go top of the table, at least prior to Manchester City hosting Stoke City at 3pm.

Jose Mourinho’s side start the weekend joint-top of the table with their local neighbours and are already seven points ahead of rivals Liverpool after only seven games.

Liverpool have been held at Watford and Newcastle, and at home to Burnley already this season and the 12 goals they have conceded is only fewer than West Ham (17) and Crystal Palace (13).

If things weren’t going bad enough for Jurgen Klopp’s side, the international break has handed Manchester United a big advantage ahead of today’s trip to Anfield.

Here’s how each team’s starting players got on over the international break:


Simon Mignolet – Unused substitute in both of Belguim’s games.

Joe Gomez – 90 minutes for England under-21s last Friday but didn’t feature in Andorra midweek.

Joel Matip – Not part of the Cameroon squad

Dejan Lovren – Only played 90 minutes for Croatia but that was the crucial trip to Ukraine on Monday night.

Alberto Moreno – Not part of the Spain setup.

Jordan Henderson – Played all 180 minutes for England which culminated in a 1-0 win in Lithuania last Sunday.  Jurgen Klopp actually said in his pre-match press conference that Henderson was made to play the latter which was a dead rubber.

Emre Can – Came on for the final 25 minutes in Northern Ireland before playing the full game for Germany in their 5-1 thrashing of Azerbaijan last Sunday.

Georginio Wijnaldum – Played 160 minutes for the Netherlands which ended on Tuesday at home to Sweden in which his country were disappointingly eliminated.

Mohamed Salah – Egypt only played one game, at home to Congo last Sunday, in which Mohamed Salah scored the crucial 94th minute penalty which sent his nation to the 2018 World Cup.

Roberto Firmino – Came on for the final four minutes of Brazil’s 3-0 win over Chile on what was early Wednesday morning GMT.  A long flight home just three days before today’s game.

Philippe Coutinho – Started both of Brazil’s games, the first in the high altitude of Bolivia, the second only a few days ago. Was replaced in the 66th and 87th minutes respectively but Philippe Coutinho will surely show signs of jet lag or fatigue today.

Other key players:

Sadio Mane – Picked up a hamstring injury whilst away with Senegal that will keep Sadio Mane out of today’s game and for up to six weeks.

Manchester United

David de Gea – Started both of Spain’s games in Europe but the goalkeeper position is not known for suffering from fatigue.

Antonio Valencia – Booked midway through the second half of Ecuador’s defeat in Chile so that he was suspended for Ecuador’s final qualifier versus Argentina on Wednesday morning our time.  Home early to avoid jet lag ahead of this weekend’s big game.

Phil Jones – Was the number one name on the starting teamsheet today after Jose Mourinho pulled him out of the England squad.  Phil Jones has played 90 minutes in all of Manchester United’s seven Premier League games so far this season.

Chris Smalling – Turns out that Eric Bailly picked up a knock whilst with the Ivory Coast for their only game this month on Friday 6 October.  Chris Smalling is fresh because, like Phil Jones, he didn’t feature in either of England’s final two World Cup qualifiers last week.

Matteo Darmian – Played 150 minutes for Italy who were all-but assured of finishing runners-up in their group.  Was involved in the first hour of the Italians trip to Albania on Monday night.

Nemanja Matic – Played 180 minutes for Serbia over the break with the final game being on Monday at home to Georgia.  Not a huge blow for United as both games were in Europe but Nemanja Matic is clocking up a lot of minutes and a lot of work in the centre of midfield.

Ander Herrera – Not part of the Spain setup.

Ashley Young – Not part of Gareth Southgate’s squad so has had two weeks to prepare for this game.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Played 180 minutes for Armenia with the second game being in Kazakhstan last Sunday.

Anthony Martial – Not called up after reports of injury post-CSKA Moscow game.  However, Martial was involved in the squad for the Crystal Palace game three days after.  Great work from Mourinho to get Martial out of international duty whilst his other left winger, Marcus Rashford played 161 minutes for England.  I think Martial will be a huge factor today.

Romelu Lukaku – Played just 25 minutes for Belgium, after a claim that he went into the international break with an injury.  However, Romelu Lukaku played the full 90 minutes in United’s win over Crystal Palace immediately before the break.  He simply looked tired, not injured.  Great work from Mourinho to get his target man a break.

Other key players:

Marouane Fellaini – Picked up an injury in Bosnia and Herzegovina – a blow for United with Paul Pogba also sidelined.  But they have depth in this position with Ander Herrera.  Did prevent Mourinho switching to a 4-3-3 if he had considered it.

Marcus Rashford – Started both of England’s games and is subsequently dropped to United’s bench.  At 19 years old he’ll still be fresh to come off the bench today and make an impact.

Essentially, Liverpool have lost their best attacking played in Sadio Mane to injury, whilst other two starts up top, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are expected to be jaded after a lack of time to recover from playing in Brazil only a few days before today’s kick off.  Preparation for the game must have been minimal too.

Dejan Lovren and Mohamed Salah was also involved in high pressure games.

United were able to rest starters Phil Jones, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku during the international break; players who would normally have been expected to start.  As an additional bonus, neither Chris Smalling and Ashley Young played either.

Eric Bailly’s injury certainly comes as a blow though as he’s one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.  Marouane Fellaini is a bit of a blow too but Ander Herrera may have started if the Belgian was fit anyway.