Some players make a career simply through being the obscure answer to a trivia question. The only player to score a World Cup hat-trick. A player who was never booked. A player who played in every big derby going (feel free to get a point if you know each of those).
And when it comes to football trivia, it's never-ending. There are records beyond records, at all levels of the game.
Believe it or not, these facts can save your life. Or at least save your pub quiz team a trip to the toilet to snidely check your phone for the answer.
1. Chelsea are the only team to be holders of the Europa League and the Champions League at the same time
In 2012, the Blues won their first Champions League. The following season, with Rafa Benitez at the helm, the club won the Europa League final, on 15 May. Given that the Champions League final was due on May 25, for 10 days only, <a href="/chelsea">Chelsea</a> were the holders of both titles.
2. Giuseppe Bergomi played in four World Cups but - but never in a qualifier
'The Uncle' was a late call-up to the 1982 squad at the age of 18, playing in the final three matches of the tournament - but he wasn't a regular during the qualifying process for the tournament. As holders in 1986, Italy didn't have to qualify, while in 1990, The Azzurri held the tournament. After being dropped under Arrigo Sacchi, Bergomi was a late call-up for 1998, when he made three appearances.
3. Matt Busby played for Manchester City and Liverpool
Yep, the legendary <a href="/manchester-united">Manchester United</a> manager racked up over 300 appearances as a player for United’s two biggest rivals before leading the Red Devils to their very first European Cup victory and defining the path that the club would walk down for the following half-century.
4. Nemanja Vidic is the only Premier League winner with a surname made entirely of Roman Numerals
V is five, I is one, D is 500 and C is 100.
5. Portsmouth hold the record for having held the FA Cup for the longest - seven years - despite only winning it once in that time
This was because they won it in 1939 and there was no professional football during the war.
Likewise, Italy held the World Cup between 1934 and 1950 - 16 years, or four tournaments - having only won it twice in that time.
6. Bixente Lizarazu was the first World and European Champion at both club and international level
The Frenchman won the Champions League final and Intercontinental Cup in 2001 with <a href="/bayern-munich">Bayern Munich</a>, after lifting the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.
7. In 1967, Wolves, Stoke and Sunderland played domestic football in the USA
The newly formed United Soccer Association lifted whole teams from Europe and implanted them to America. <a href="/wolverhampton-wanderers">Wolverhampton Wanderers</a>, <a href="/stoke-city">Stoke City</a> and <a href="/sunderland">Sunderland</a> were renamed LA Wolves, Cleveland Stokers and Vancouver Royals respectively with the squads and coaches going over to compete for these teams. Wolves ended up winning the one and only season the league played.
8. New Zealand were the only unbeaten team in the 2010 World Cup
New Zealand's three draws weren't enough to see them out of their group, unfortunately. Spain won the tournament in the end but capitulated in their opening game, losing 1-0 to Switzerland.
Fascinatingly too, Spain only scored eight goals across the seven matches of the tournament, winning every knockout game 1-0. Strange to think, given the romanticism of the side's tiki-taka and wealth of attacking talent.
9. Kettering Town have scored more FA Cup goals than anyone else
The Poppies have scored 864. That's 23 more than second-placed <a href="/aston-villa">Aston Villa</a> - plus, they've reached the first round proper more times than any other club outside of the Football League.
10. Only one team have ever won the World Cup final playing in red
England. Despite the popularity of the colour at club level, no team with red as a first-choice shade has ever won a world title.
11. Fernando Torres was captain of the Atletico Madrid side that Diego Simeone played in
Torres was a young captain at <a href="/atletico-madrid">Atletico Madrid</a>, as El Cholo was winding down his career at the club. Diego Simeone later managed Torres at Atletico.
12. Dundee United have a 100% record against Barcelona
Played four, won four. <a href="/dundee-united">Dundee United</a> have twice been drawn against <a href="/barcelona">Barcelona</a> in European competition - they've scored seven goals and conceded only two in the process, to win the lot.
13. In 2014, three Chelsea goalkeepers were awarded clean sheets in a 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid
Mark Schwarzer came off the bench to replace Petr Cech in the 18th minute with the score goalless. Schwarzer didn’t concede and neither did the Atletico keeper, Thibault Courtois… who was on loan from Chelsea.
14. David Beckham and David Moyes used to play together
Moyes was at <a href="/preston-north-end">Preston North End</a> from 1993 to 1999 - while Beckham played the 1994/95 season at Deepdale on loan from Manchester United.
15. Robert Earnshaw is the only player to have scored a hat-trick in all three divisions of the English Football League, the Premier League, the League Cup, FA Cup, and for his country at International level
The Welshman has been there and done that.
His first hat-trick came in the FA Cup for <a href="/cardiff">Cardiff City</a> against <a href="/bristol-rovers">Bristol Rovers</a> in November 2000; a month later, he netted three against <a href="/torquay-united">Torquay United</a> in what is now League Two. In September 2002, he scored his first League Cup hat-trick for Cardiff against <a href="/boston-united">Boston United</a>, and in November of that year, he scored another three against <a href="/qpr">Queens Park Rangers</a> for his first League One hat-trick.
In 2003, he scored a Championship hat-trick for Cardiff against <a href="/gillingham">Gillingham</a>, in 2004, he scored three for Wales against Scotland and in 2005, he completed a quite unique collection, scoring a Premier League hat-trick for <a href="/west-bromwich-albion">West Bromwich Albion</a> against <a href="/charlton-athletic">Charlton Athletic</a>.
16. Pre-Champions League, Scotland were the only country to produce two cities with two clubs that reached the European Cup semi-finals
In 2016, <a href="/manchester-city">Manchester City</a> reached the Champions League semi-finals, nearly 50 years after United first did it in 1968; Chelsea first made the final four in 2004 at the expense of cross-town rivals <a href="/arsenal">Arsenal</a>, who got there in 2006.
But Scotland boasted a record like this long before. <a href="/rangers">Rangers</a> reached the final four of the 1960 European Cup, while bitter enemies <a href="/celtic">Celtic</a> won the competition in 1967. <a href="/dundee">Dundee</a> were beaten semi-finalists in 1963, while Dundee United completed a set of sorts in 1984, when they got the semis.
17. In 1941, Rapid Vienna won the German championship
In fact, that Bundesliga title means that <a href="/rapid-vienna">Rapid Vienna</a> have actually won more German titles than <a href="/bayer-leverkusen">Bayer Leverkusen</a>... awkward.
18. Javier Mascherano's first game in senior football was for Argentina's national team, not for his club at the time, River Plate
Mascherano was such a wonderkid that his country came calling before his club. Aren't you glad that this is our Mascherano fact, rather than the time he <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/international/javier-mascherano-reveals-he-tore-his-anus-heroic-match-saving-tackle-arjen-robben-9599527.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">"tore his anus" making a last-ditch tackle on Arjen Robben</a>?
19. Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola is the only player to be sent off in a World Cup finals... on his birthday
The match occurred at the 1994 tournament. Well, at least the referee got him a card.
20. In 1984/85 legendary striker Hugo Sanchez was La Liga top scorer with 19 goals. In 2011/12, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 46 goals and that was only enough to finish 2nd for the award
See also: Liverpool's runner-up tally of 2018/19 being enough to win the title in all but one other Premier League campaign.
21. The 1968 European Championship semi-final was decided by a coin toss
Italy beat the Soviet Union on the toss and later won in the final. Madness.
22. The highest attendance recorded at Old Trafford was 76,962 for an FA Cup semi-final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Grimsby Town on 25 March 1939
Despite the Theatre of Dreams being Manchester United's stadium, United haven't filled it to quite the same capacity that Wolves have.
23. The last time both European Cup/Champions League finalists had no foreign players in their starting XIs was in 1967
Despite overseas players being a modern phenomenon that we associate with the 1990s onwards, you have to go back to the 1967 clash between Celtic and <a href="/inter-milan">Inter Milan</a> to find no foreigners in the starting XI of the two European Cup finalists.
Here’s a bonus - the entire Celtic side was born in a 30-mile radius of Glasgow. Surely, that will never ever happen again for any club?
24. The last Welsh speaker to score a goal at the old Wembley is rumoured to be Gabriel Batistuta
OK, less of a fact, but an urban legend.
There’s a Welsh settlement in Patagonia, Chubut Province, Argentina - the Welsh people first arrived in Patagonia in 1865, after migrating to protect their native Welsh culture and language, which they considered to be threatened in their native Wales.
The story goes that Batigol had Welsh speakers from Patagonia in his family. Apparently he knew a bit of the lingo, too - so after scoring against Arsenal for <a href="/fiorentina">Fiorentina</a> in the Champions League at Wembley in the late 90s, he became the last Welsh speaker to net at the old ground.
It’s never been confirmed unfortunately; Gabriel Heinze was also rumoured to be a Welsh speaker, too.
25. While she was a director at Birmingham City Karen Brady sold her husband Paul Peschisolido to Stoke for £400k
Pretty sure they talked about it first.
26. There are only three clubs who've had a player score against his clubmate at the World Cup
In 2006, Zinedine Zidane met Iker Casillas as France took on Spain; Zizou came out on top, scoring against his <a href="/real-madrid">Real Madrid</a> teammate, as the French won 3-1.
Four years later, Wesley Sneijder scored for the Netherlands against Julio Cesar in goal for Brazil, just weeks after they’d both won the treble with Inter Milan.
And in 2014, Stoke City’s Peter Odemwingie netted for Nigeria against club-mate Asmir Begovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
27. There was no World Cup final in 1950
The format had a final four in a group, so while there was a deciding match between Uruguay and Brazil - which became the last time that Brazil would lose at home in competitive football until Germany whupped them 7-1 in 2014 - it wasn't <em>really</em> the World Cup final.
28. In 1975, the Manchester United goalkeeper, Alex Stepney dislocated his jaw while shouting at his defenders
You wouldn't want to be one of his defenders, would you?
29. Since 1982 at least one Bayern Munich player has played in every World Cup final
The record used to be that there was at least one Bayern player starting - but Corentin Tolisso was on the bench for the 2018 final. Lucas Hernandez signed for the German side that summer but was an Atletico Madrid player when he won the Cup.
30. Feyenoord goalkeeper Ronald Graafland waited 18 years to make his senior league debut for the club after first joining them
Graafland came through the Rotterdam outfit’s academy in the late 90s and was in the first team squad as a back-up keeper as a 19-year-old. He left in 2000, though he did move back in 2011.
He was brought on as a substitute in the final game of the 2013/14 season, aged 34, against <a href="/az-alkmaar">AZ Alkmaar</a> for a 15-minute debut and <a href="/feyenoord">Feyenoord</a> 1-0 up… and he couldn’t keep a clean sheet. Johan Gudmundsson, now at <a href="/burnley">Burnley</a>, hit a long-range equaliser. Poor old Ronald.
31. Before Alex Ferguson took over at Manchester United, Aston Villa were the more successful club
In 1986, both sides had one European Cup and seven league titles apiece - however, the Villans had one more FA Cup than the Red Devils.
32. Peter Osgood's ashes are buried under the penalty spot at the Shed End of Stamford Bridge
There's something incredibly badass about that.
33. Johan Cruyff played for PSG
Despite being 23 when the club was formed, Cruyff played two games with <a href="/psg">Paris Saint-Germain</a> in 1975, during the Paris Tournament. The Dutchman agreed to do so, since he was a fan of designer Daniel Hechter, who was then-president of the club and the man who designed those iconic red, blue and white shirts.
Not many people know either that despite the obvious connection with <a href="/ajax">Ajax</a>, Cruyff left the club to join Feyenoord in his twilight over a dispute with them.
34. Stoke City were the last team in the Premier League to have a Ballon d'Or winner play for them
The last Premier League player to win the Ballon d’Or was Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008. Since then, the award has flitted between CR7 and Lionel Messi, while the pair were at Real and Barcelona respectively, with Los Blancos’ Luka Modric picking one up in between.
But in 2012, Stoke signed 2001 BdO winner, Michael Owen. The last Premier League club that the former boy wonder turned out for, in fact.
35. Bobby Zamora and Obafemi Martins are the only two footballers to have scored penalties with their right and left foot in the Premier League
Thierry Henry and Robert Pires are the only two players to try passing a penalty to each other in the Premier League, too. Not that it worked.
36. Hull City is the only team in the Football League with a name in which you can’t colour in any of the letters
Because there are no closed letters in the words "Hull" and "City".
37. Julio Iglesias was once the goalkeeper of Real Madrid
Well, Real Madrid Castilla in the Segunda Division, to be precise. The crooner’s professional football career was ruined when he was involved in a serious car accident in 1963 that left him unable to walk for two years. He later fathered Enrique, who released melty banger, <em>Hero</em>.
38. One man was involved in both games that used Silver Goal
There was only ever one Silver Goal in international football and one in club football - and Tomas Galasek was on the pitch for both. The only Silver Goal in international football was scored by Traianos Dellas in the Euro 2004 semi-final against the Czech Republic - his only goal for his country in 53 appearances. The only Silver Goal in club football came in a Champions League qualification match between Ajax and Grazer AK.
39. Only one of Ruud Van Nistelrooy's 150 goals for Manchester United was from outside the box
It was against Charlton Athletic and if you ever watched the man play, this isn’t really much of a surprise. Still, impressive.
40. France have a record of firsts when it comes to new technology in the sport
France were awarded the first penalty by VAR at the 2018 World Cup, in a group game against Australia - they also had the first goal disallowed by VAR, in 2017 against Spain.
In 2014, Karim Benzema scored the first goal to be awarded by goal-line technology in a World Cup mauling against Honduras, while in 2006, Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt was only punished by a red card when the referee missed it originally and Gianluigi Buffon told the fourth assistant to watch the footage, pointing at the big screen. This became the first sending off to be given by an official watching video footage.
41. St Johnstone is the only team in Britain with a J in it
Have this one as a bonus: Cowdenbeath FC is the only team in the UK with the letters A, B, C, D and E contained in the name.
42. Only three times has the world transfer record been broken by teams not from Italy, England or Spain
Obviously, Paris Saint-Germain most recently broke it for Neymar, but the other two teams you’re looking for? <a href="/river-plate">River Plate</a> and <a href="/falkirk">Falkirk</a>. In 1932, River paid £32,000 for Bernabé Ferreyra; 10 years prior, Falkirk had smashed the piggy bank to cough up £5,000 for West Ham United’s Sydney Puddlefoot. Crazy money.
43. The U.S. Men won both silver and bronze at the 1904 Olympics
Despite the Yanks' reputation for not being that involved in football culture, they've been scattered over the history of the game a fair bit. Perhaps unsurprisingly on this occasion, there were only three teams in the competition. FIFA does not consider the results to be “official”, but the IOC does.
44. Widzew Lodz is the only club this century to defend the title of second division champions
They won it in 2007/08 and got promoted to Ekstraklasa but were relegated back down immediately, due to their involvement in a corruption scandal. In 2008/09, they won it again.
45. The only player to have won European Cup winners’ medals with two different English clubs is Jimmy Rimmer
Rimmer was injured after only nine minutes in the 1982 final with <a href="/aston-villa">Aston Villa</a> and had to be replaced by Nigel Spink as the club beat Bayern Munich. As a 20-year-old, he was on the bench for Manchester United during their win in 1968.
46. The first World Cup hat trick and clean sheet were by Americans
Them again. United States goalkeeper Jimmy Douglas managed the first clean sheet of the inaugural 1930 tournament in a 3-0 win against Belgium. Four days later, Bert Patenaude scored three goals in another 3-0 win, this time against Paraguay.
47. In 2003 Franz Beckenbauer threatened the German league with moving Bayern Munich to Italy
The Bayern president made the threat in the wake of Bundesliga administrators accusing his club of financial misdemeanours.
“If they continue to nag us we will apply to play in the Italian league,” Becks said. “<a href="/juventus">Juventus</a>, <a href="/ac-milan">AC Milan</a> and <a href="/roma">Roma</a> are fantastic teams and would make great opponents. Then we’ll see how the Bundesliga gets on without us.” <a href="/borussia-dortmund">Borussia Dortmund</a> are gutted it never happened.
48. Rio Mavuba was born at sea
The midfielder, most famously of <a href="/lille">Lille</a>, was born on a boat in international waters and did not have a nationality. He received French citizenship in 2004 as he grew up there.
49. Gianfranco Zola and Carlo Ancelotti have really got to stop meeting each other like this
Has anyone met each in football in so many different scenarios as Zola and Ancelotti?
As players Zola and Ancelotti played against each other in the Serie A, for <a href="/napoli">Napoli</a> and AC Milan respectively, between 1989 and 1992. As players, they played on the <em>same</em> team exactly once, when Italy faced Norway in a European Championship Qualification match in 1991; it was Ancelotti's last game for the Azzuri and Zola's debut.
When Ancelotti managed <a href="/reggiana">Reggiana</a> in the 1995/96 Serie A season, Zola played against Don Carlo for <a href="/parma">Parma</a>. Ancelotti was Zola's manager for 3 months at Parma in 1996, before Zola left for Chelsea.
And finally, in the 2009/10 Premier League season they met as managers, in charge of <a href="/west-ham-united">West Ham United</a> and Chelsea, respectively.
50. Bringing celery to Stamford Bridge is outlawed and could get you a lifetime ban
After a NSFW chant involving the vegetable grew in popularity in the 2000s, fans began chucking it onto the pitch - which was swiftly banned by the club.
51. Coventry City did not finish in the top six of any division between 1970 and 2018
In 1970, the Sky Blues finished sixth but the teams either side of them qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. What followed was nearly 50 years of near-misses.
52. The Arsenal captain always chooses the length of the entire team’s sleeves for the game
The white sleeves were introduced by legendary manager Herbert Chapman to help the Gunners stand out from other teams. These days, it’s common for the Arsenal captain - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - to just choose short sleeves and let the rest of the team wear long-sleeved undershirts should they wish. It was common, however, during the early 2000s for French skippers Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry to choose long sleeves, while preceding captain Tony Adams favoured a shorter sleeve.
53. Reading are (possibly) allowed to wear their home kit every game if they wanted
Well, apparently <a href="/reading">Reading</a> don’t even know if this is true. Because the club are the figurehead team of the royal county of Berkshire - they’re the Royals, duh - they can, if they so wished, play every league game in their home kit.
That’s right - they could play <a href="/birmingham-city">Birmingham City</a> at St. Andrews, for example, and force City to don their away kit by royal decree. At least… that’s the idea. Reading have never enforced it (obviously) though they have officially acknowledged the rumours and have never contacted the Football League about whether it would be theoretically possible.
They’ve even said that the specifics of the rule have been lost in time. We may never know…
54. AC and Inter Milan were one club who split due to a dispute
Back in the early days of Italian football, there were two leagues: one for Italian players and one for overseas players. Figures at AC Milan only wanted to let Italians on their team with no international players - strange really, as the club was founded by English people (hence the anglicised spelling of Milan).
Some at the club disagreed with this, and so Internazionale was formed. The two leagues didn’t last very long and merged pretty soon after Inter had splintered off.
55. Owen Hargreaves is the only player to have played for England without having previously lived in the United Kingdom
Hargreaves represented Wales U19s, was brought up in Canada and was playing in Germany when the call-up came.
56. Arsenal and Port Vale are the only two clubs in the country that don’t have the geographical location of the team in their name
Arsenal were originally named Woolwich Arsenal after the area in south London they were named after, shaking the ‘Woolwich’ moniker when they moved to the north of the city. <a href="/port-vale">Port Vale’s</a> name is a reference to the valley of ports on the Trent and Mersey Canal; the club are based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.
57. Mark Hughes once played for Wales and Bayern Munich in the same day
Hughes joined Bayern Munich in November 1987 on a season-long loan from Barcelona. Manager Uli Hoeness sorted the two games in a day for him, apparently.
“In passing, he said ‘what time is the game?’ And I said, ‘I think it's about half-past three, four o’clock’. From that moment on he was making phone calls and came back into the room and said, ‘I think you may be able to play for us the same night’,” Hughes recalled.
“I thought he was just kidding but obviously he wasn't, so he organised everything.”
58. The Brunei national team used to enter Malaysian club competitions and won the Malaysian Cup in 1999.
The Brunei national football team is young compared to some members of FIFA and have never reached a World Cup - in fact, they didn't even enter the qualifiers in their early days. They've been consistently invited into Malaysian cup competitions, though and went as far as winning a tournament in 1999 - which was a shock to everyone.