Marcus Rashford has scored in his last four league games but no one in Europe can compete with Fabio QuagliarellaBy Martin Laurence for WhoScoredWhen Marcus Rashford curled in Manchester United’s winner against Brighton at the weekend, he stretched his sc

The goalscoring streaks of the season: Rashford, Messi and ... Quagliarella

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  • 2019-01-29 02:30:12 10 months ago
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When Marcus Rashford curled in Manchester United’s winner against Brighton at the weekend, he stretched his scoring streak to four league games in a row. Prior to this run of goals, Rashford had only ever scored in two straight league games but now he has a chance to do something Harry Kane has never managed: score in five consecutive league games. Eleven players have done just that in Europe’s big leagues this season – with one even scoring in 10 straight games.

Andy Delort, Montpellier: five games, five goals

Andy Delort’s career has been cursed by inconsistency. The Frenchman spent six months on the books at Wigan Athletic in 2015 and failed to score a single goal in the Championship. He endured a similarly tough start to his career at Montpellier after moving there last summer, going six league games without a goal. But, once he found his feet, he went on a great run, scoring in each of his next five games. True to form, he is now six games without a goal.

Borja Iglesias, Espanyol: five games, six goals

Borja Iglesias, who turned 26 last week, hadn’t started a single top-flight game before this season, but his return of 22 goals for Real Zaragoza in the Segunda División last season was enough to convince Espanyol to take a chance on the striker. Their faith has been repaid with nine league goals this season and the Spaniard has been linked with a move to Everton this month as a result – not least due to a streak of six goals in five games between October and November.

Sébastien Haller, Eintracht Frankfurt: five games, six goals

Sébastien Haller scored his tenth league goal of the season at the weekend and will be hoping to kickstart another run of form like the one he enjoyed at the end of the year, when he scored six goals – and set up three more – in a five-game stretch for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.

Anthony Martial: Manchester United: five games, six goals

Anthony Martial is the only player to have scored in five consecutive Premier League games this season – although Marcus Rashford has the opportunity to join him when Manchester United host Burnley next Tuesday night. Martial’s run included a brace against Chelsea and goal at Manchester City, though he has failed to find the net in United’s last four league games – thankfully for the club, Rashford has taken up the baton.

Wahbi Khazri, Saint-Etienne: five games, six goals

His time at Sunderland was bitterly disappointing but since returning to France – first on loan with Rennes and now at Saint-Etienne – Wahbi Khazri has been revitalised. His run of scoring in five consecutive matches – including a matchwinning brace against Marseille – came to an end at the weekend, but the 27-year-old has been fantastic all season. Only four players – Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappé and Nicolas Pépé – have scored more than his total of 12 goals in Ligue 1 this season.

Antoine Griezmann, Atlético Madrid: five games, six goals

Antoine Griezmann looked as if he was suffering from a post-World Cup hangover at the start of the season. He only scored three league goals in 14 appearances before December. However, fast forward six weeks and six matches and he has scored six more. Although, like Khazri, his streak came to an end at the weekend.

Mauro Icardi, Inter: five games, seven goals

Mauro Icardi is another player whose form has been up and down this season. He did not score in his first four league games and has not scored in his last four but, between those mini droughts, Icardi hit nine goals in as many matches. The highlight of his season so far has to be his 91st-minute winner against Milan in the derby.

Lionel Messi, Barcelona: six games, nine goals

Lionel Messi has been in phenomenal form this season so it is no surprise that he makes the cut. The one shock is that he isn’t top of the list. The 31-year-old came off the bench at the weekend to score against Leganés, his 25th goal of the season and his 18th in the league. Messi has scored nine goals in his last six league games for Barcelona and you have to go all the way back to mid-September to find the last time he started a game without either providing a goal or an assist.

Krzysztof Piatek, Genoa: seven games, nine goals

Summer signing Krzysztof Piatek had a remarkable start to life in Italy. He scored all four goals on his debut as Genoa beat Lecce 4-0 in the Coppa Italia and then found the net in his first seven league appearances of the season. The striker scored nine times in that run before opening his international account for Poland against Portugal. After just five months at Genoa, he has already earned a €35m move to Milan.

Duván Zapata, Atalanta: seven games, 13 goals

Rewind to the start of November and the notion that Duván Zapata would be among Europe’s most sought-after strikers would be farcical. The Colombian failed to score in his first 10 league appearances on loan at Atalanta, so the fact he has 14 goals at this stage of the season is unbelievable. Thirteen of those goals have come in his last seven appearances in Serie A, including a hat-trick against former club Udinese, a brace against Juventus and a four-goal haul at Frosinone at the weekend.

Fabio Quagliarella, Sampdoria: 10 games, 12 goals

Fabio Quagliarella enjoyed the most prolific campaign of his career last season, scoring 19 goals in Serie A. His form is even hotter this season. Quagliarella has aged like a fine wine since moving to Sampdoria in 2016. The veteran striker turns 36 at the end of the month but his brace against Fiorentina last weekend took his goalscoring streak in the league to a sensational 10 matches. His run began at San Siro against AC Milan way back in October and Samp’s upcoming clash with Udinese gives him a chance to make history. The longest scoring streak in Serie A was set by Gabriel Batistuta back in the 1994-95 season; Quagliarella will match that record of scoring in 11 straight games if he finds the net on Saturday.

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The goalscoring streaks of the season: Rashford, Messi and ... Quagliarella

Emiliano Sala, the humble forward who enriched everyone's lives

Outside of Paris, goals can be rare in Ligue 1. But since joining Nantes, Emiliano Sala has scored more than most. He was outstanding in the first half of this season and attracted interest from abroad. Having travelled to Wales twice to agree a potentially career‑defining transfer with Cardiff, he returned to Nantes to say goodbye to his teammates on Monday night.

“The last goodbye” was the caption Sala put on a social media post of himself surrounded by them at the club’s training ground before he was driven to the airport for his return to Wales and Premier League football by Nicolas Pallois, a Nantes defender and close friend. Sala was due in Cardiff by 9pm but never arrived after the plane in which he was travelling disappeared over the Channel.

Sala was born in Santa Fe in Argentina but has called France home since his teenage years. Five years spent at Bordeaux’s partner club, Proyecto Crecer, in Argentina eventually brought him to Les Girondins in 2010. He scored 18 goals on loan with the third-tier club Orléans in 2012‑13, which convinced the Ligue 2 team Niort to take the young forward, again on loan, for the following campaign. Another 18 league goals earned him a place in Willy Sagnol’s Bordeaux senior squad for the 2014-15 season.

Sala discovered a second family in Bordeaux. Marcelo Vada, the club’s under-16s coach, also an Argentinian, and his son and fellow Proyecto Crecer graduate, Valentin, housed Sala during his time at the youth set-up at Bordeaux. Valentin, who became like a younger brother to Sala, tweeted on Tuesday morning: “Come on, brother! Please return.”

Yacine Bammou, who played up front with Sala at Nantes, also felt a sense of brotherly loss when he heard the news. “It’s really very hard, even for those around me. He often came to my house, he was my brother.” Bammou had been in contact with Sala two days previously: “I spoke to him on FaceTime. I congratulated him on signing. We had a good laugh.”

Sala started the 2014-15 season at Bordeaux but, after one goal in 11 appearances in Ligue 1, he was sent on loan again, this time to Caen, where his performances improved. Sala scored five times in the second half of the season, including in a 2-2 draw with PSG. Nantes were sufficiently convinced to spend €1m to acquire his services that summer.

Profile

Emiliano Sala's career in focus

Age 28

Born Santa Fe Province, Argentina, on 31 October 1990

Position Forward

Club career
2012-15 Bordeaux
2012-13 Orléans (loan)
2013-14 Niort (loan)
2015 Caen (loan)
2015-19 Nantes: played as recently as last Wednesday, coming on as substitute in a 1-0 defeat at Nimes
2019 Cardiff City: signed 3.5-year deal for a club-record £15m on Saturday

Photograph: Sébastien Salom-Gomis/Rex Features

His form was a little undulating during his first season with Les Canaris, but six goals made him their leading scorer in Ligue 1. He grew into his role at the club. Trusted with responsibility as the sole forward by a host of managers, he became ever more efficient. Bullying defenders with his physicality and supreme aerial ability, Sala scored 12 in each of the next two seasons.

This season, however, Sala has been a revelation. A familiar total of 12 goals was reached in less than half the time it took the year before. He remained one of few constants during a tumultuous season for Nantes. Despite not being an ever-present in the starting XI under Miguel Cardoso, Sala was prolific, seemingly scoring every opportunity given to him – whether off the bench or not. At one stage only Kylian Mbappé had a better goals-to-minutes ratio in Europe’s top leagues.

Vahid Halilhodzic replaced Cardoso in October and, under the guidance of the Bosnian manager, Sala often proved unplayable. His devastating hat-trick against Toulouse was a highlight and his goal in a 3-2 win against Marseille showed – as he has many times of late – that he was becoming an all-round forward of genuine top quality. With the goals flying in, at one point he was the most prolific Argentinian forward in Europe’s top leagues – no small feat considering the competition.

His tally of 42 league goals in three and a half years generated interest from abroad and Cardiff eventually reached an agreement with Nantes. Sala, who had been happy in the city and was not seeking a move, initially considered only clubs that could offer him European football. He turned down a move to China that would pay three times as much as Cardiff because he had given the Welsh club his word that he would sign.

Sala’s transfer to the Premier League may have proved career‑defining. His Twitter profile already featured him smiling giddily in a blue Cardiff shirt. As his devastated father, Horacio, explained on Argentinian TV: “For him, like for us all, his transfer to Cardiff was a big step. He is a boy who has always fought hard. A humble boy. I cannot believe it. I am desperate … I do not know what will happen … I hope that good news will come. My family knew nothing. I had to tell them.”

Humble yet driven; that sums up Sala. His imposing presence was difficult for defenders to handle but he is adored by his former teammates and colleagues. As the Nantes president, Waldemar Kita, said on Tuesday morning: “He was a polite, kind and adorable boy, loved by everyone.” Patrice Garande, who managed him at Caen, said: “I have been in front of the news since this morning; I am waiting. I cannot bring myself to believe it – this is not possible. This boy made my life an absolute pleasure on and off the pitch for six months.”

As Bammou explained, Sala always improved the atmosphere at Nantes: “In the dressing room and in everyday life he was the first to tease. He made a lot of jokes.”

We may never know how Sala would have fared in Cardiff and the Premier League, but his combination of boundless enthusiasm and optimism on the pitch and off it, alongside a largely media-shy persona, left an indelibly positive mark on anyone who played with or coached him. The outpouring of affection and hopeful messages articulated on social media or in interviews across Tuesday from teammates, clubs, managers, fans and officials across France and beyond – with many players simply tweeting “Emi …” – is testament to this. Sala had worked hard to achieve his goals and his career had just started to blossom. His star will continue to shine brightly, no matter what.

Thierry Henry suspended by Monaco as manager after 104 days in charge

Thierry Henry has been suspended by Monaco three months after his appointment as manager. They have won only two league games under the former Arsenal striker and are 19th in Ligue 1. The club said a final decision was pending and that Franck Passi, who arrived last month to provide experienced assistance for Henry, will oversee Friday’s training session.

It has been a troubled spell for Henry, who walked into a relegation battle when he replaced Leonardo Jardim on 13 October. At that point Monaco were 18th but their fortunes have not improved during a 104-day, 20-match stint and his frustrations rose to the surface in the buildup to Saturday’s game against Dijon, who are one place above them.

Henry said his team were “going to war” in their effort to arrest a five-game winless run in the league and suggested an attitude problem within the squad. “We need guys who want to save the club, who don’t think about themselves,” he said. Asked who would be left out at Dijon, he replied: “You will see. There are too many names.”

Monaco had shown signs of life after Christmas, a penalty shootout win over Rennes in the League Cup preceding draws at Marseille and at home to Patrick Vieira’s Nice on 16 January. After the latter, Henry observed that Monaco, who have been undermined by big-name departures and a lengthy injury list, were beginning to play the way he wanted. Henry’s former Arsenal teammate, Cesc Fàbregas, was tempted to join from Chelsea and the outlook appeared brighter.

But they took another step backwards with a 5-1 home defeat to Strasbourg last Saturday, playing 83 minutes with 10 men, and were defeated 3-1 at Stade Louis II by Ligue 2 side Metz in the French Cup on Tuesday. That appears to have pressed Monaco into action, with reports suggesting Jardim could make an unlikely return should Henry’s exit be confirmed.

Back to the start: Thierry Henry joins Monaco as head coach – video
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