The questions that needed asking this fall as we examined Spanish scoring star Raul and his all-time best 71 goals in Champions League action were these:
Which of the game’s current global giants, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, would race forward to swipe the record from Raul, who scored the bulk of his goals over 17 storied seasons with Real Madrid? (Messi had a fairly sizeable leg up in the chase coming into the 2013-14 tournament.)
The other question: would one of them do it before the current Champions League campaign ends?
Ronaldo’s hat trick from Tuesday in Real Madrid’s demonstrative 6-1 win over Galatasaray left the Portuguese star with 53 career goals. And with those three strikes he seemed to be closing in on Messi, who started the day with 59.
But the peerless Messi did not end this first round of Champions League group matches with a mere 59. Not after his own hat trick against Ajax, the fourth in Champions League play.
The inevitable questions are being asked about whether Messi is playing off Ronaldo’s totals, hyper aware of Ronaldo’s feats – not to mention the Real Madrid man’s new contract, adorned with commas aplenty?
(MORE: Messi’s hat trick guides Barcelona past Ajax, 4-0)
But does asking these questions diminish what Messi, two years younger than Ronaldo, has accomplished and will accomplish? Does anyone really believe that Messi could not have netted a fourth career Champions League hat trick without the added motivational carrot of keeping ahead of Ronaldo?
Who really knows, I suppose. Either way, here are the updated numbers, what the all-time Champions League scoring leadership looks like:
- Raul, 71
- Leo Messi, 62
- Ruud van Nistelrooy, 56
- Cristiano Ronaldo, 53
Marseille did well to bring in one star this season but could the French side have another trick up its sleeve this summer?
Sky Sports is reporting that the Ligue 1 club is preparing to sign Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud over the summer and the sixth-place side is “willing to pay up to £20m (roughly $25 million).
Marseille made a splash this season when the club re-signed Dimitri Payet, who was playing with Premier League side West Ham at the time.
The team does boast several quality attacking options such as Payet and Bafetimbi Gomis, but Giroud could serve as an ideal target man in the Marseille attack.
Prior to joining the Gunners in 2012, Giroud starred for Montpellier and with a potential link-up in the attack with a creator like Payet, it could present a dangerous attacking threat to the rest of Ligue 1.
Giroud, 30, has scored 95 goals in all competitions since arriving in London with Arsenal.
We’ve seen MLS teams make major splashes in the past, and one of next year’s newcomers could be a really big draw if they can manage to seal the deal on a Mexican international.
[ MORE: Schweinsteiger shares thoughts on MLS and more in interview ]
According to Metro New York, Los Angeles FC is continuing its talks with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez about a potential deal that would prove massive in terms of MLS spending.
While LAFC won’t debut in MLS until 2018, the club could potentially make the Mexico striker the highest-paid player in league history with an average salary of roughly $10 million.
The 28-year-old Hernandez currently plays in Germany with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, where he’s plied his trade since joining the club during the 2015/16 season.
Additionally, the former Manchester United man has dominated the international scene for El Tri, scoring 46 goals in 90 appearances for the CONCACAF nation.
German publication Kicker says Bayern Munich technical director Michael Reschke attended both of this weekend’s FA Cup semifinals and had his eye on two players in particular.
Reschke apparently wants to bring players from both North London Derby rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to the Allianz Arena.
[ MORE: Liverpool’s Top Four plight ]
In the case of Spurs, that man is right back Kyle Walker. The 26-year-old has also played right mid in 8 of his 35 matches for Tottenham this season, and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. It’s hard to believe Spurs would have interest in selling Walker, who would help fill the role of retiring Philipp Lahm.
On the other side is Alexis Sanchez, the embattled but electric Arsenal attacker who Arsene Wenger described as an “animal” and “always ready to kill the opponent” this weekend. Wenger says Sanchez isn’t going anywhere, but Bayern does boast Chilean teammate Arturo Vidal and former Barca mate Thiago Alcantara.
Walker is signed at Spurs through 2021, while Sanchez’s contract ends after next season.
AS Roma has found its new sporting director, and it’s a man with a keen eye for talent.
Ramon “Monchi” Rodriguez Verdejo, 48, has spent the last 18 years as the sporting director at Sevilla, which won five UEFA Europa League titles under his watch.
Monchi was discussed in the media as a target for the same job at Arsenal and was a target for other Premier League clubs, but Roma sealed the deal with the former goalkeeper.
[ JPW: Oriol Romeu — The Perfectly Poised Destroyer ]
He is considered to have a big role in discovering and developing Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas, and Dani Alves.
Read more from ASRoma.com.