You could have been forgiven for thinking it was the opening ceremony to an Olympic Games, such was the spectacular opulence surrounding the gala event Shakhtar Donetsk held to celebrate the clubÃ¢ÂÂs 75th anniversary last year.
The moment Lionel Messi and his supporters had long been waiting for finally arrived on Tuesday evening. But for those paid good money and under threat of the sack unless gushing things are written about him, it was probably a match they had been dreading for some time. How do you raise the already justifiably stratospheric level of praise into something beyond the outer reaches of our galaxy?
This seasonÃ¢ÂÂs Bundesliga has been a journey full of surprises. So much so that it's big news when the most successful club in German football, Bayern Munich, win three games in a row Ã¢ÂÂ and that Borussia Moenchengladbach, who flirted with relegation last season, would be the definitive test for the in-form Munich side.
A large, dark shadow has fallen across the land in la Liga. No, Maniche isnÃ¢ÂÂt blocking out the sun again, the Lord of Doom, the King of Crying, the Price of Appalling Football, Miguel Angel Lotina has returned.
After a week's media blackout from a club convinced there is a plot to stop them returning to the summit of the Italian game, Juventus locked away their conspiracy theories to turn in a dominant performance at Fiorentina.