There were several records that saw their end while new marks were set.

The year 2021 was full of memorable events in the world of football and many records were broken. Despite the restrictions imposed by the COVD-19 pandemic, football players emerged as a resilient force. There was a lot of action in the past year, as normalcy began to return. Soon 2021 will be a thing of the past, but one cannot forget the multiple records that were broken in the past 12 months.

Every year new records are set, older ones are broken and the same was the case in 2021. Exceptional football players made their mark in club and international football, breaking multiple records in the process. From scoring the most number of goals to creating new unbeaten benchmarks, the world of football saw many incredible feats.

Keeping the focus on the old records that saw their end in the past year, here is a list of top 10 records that were broken in 2021 in football:

10. Lionel Messi broke Pele’s record for most goals for a single club

Lionel Messi FC Barcelona
Messi broke the goalscoring record at Barcelona, but also left the club soon after

Lionel Messi broke many records in the year 2021 and one of them was scoring the most number of goals for a single football club.

He broke Pele’s long-standing record of 646 goals for Santos by registering 672 goals for FC Barcelona. He achieved this feat before leaving to sign for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

9. Jack Grealish became the most expensive British transfer

Jack Grealish became the most expensive British player in history in 2021. Manchester City signed the midfielder from Aston Villa by paying £105.75m, the highest transfer fee for a British player. The transfer broke the previous record of £90.90m, paid by Real Madrid for Welshman Gareth Bale.

8. Cristiano Ronaldo broke Pele’s record for most goals scored in history

Pele had another one of his records broken in 2021. Cristiano Ronaldo overtook the legendary Brazilian’s 766 goals in official football matches. The Portuguese international has 802 goals, the most for any footballer in the history of the sport.

7. Most goals in a single league by Messi, breaking Pele’s record

In addition to breaking Pele’s record of most goals for a single football club, Messi also broke his record of most goals in a single league.

Pele scored 469 goals in the Brazilian league. The Argentine instead managed 474 goals in the Spanish La Liga before moving to Ligue 1.

6. Jude Bellingham broke the record and became the youngest player at the Euros

Jude Bellingham
Bellingham was in fine form for both club and country this year

Jude Bellingham is one of the most promising young talents in European football. The Englishman was part of the England national team at UEFA Euro 2020.

By taking the field at the age of 17 years and 349 days old, he became the youngest to feature at a Euros, thus breaking Jetro Willems’ record of 18 years and 71 days. 

5. Mohamed Salah became the highest-scoring African in the Premier League

Mohamed Salah is in a rich vein of form and he was exceptional for Liverpool throughout the year 2021. His goalscoring feats reached new heights in the Premier League when the Egyptian broke Didier Drogba’s record.

The former Chelsea forward had 104 goals in the competition and Salah broke it to reach 112 strikes, becoming the highest-scoring African in the history of the league.  

4. Cristiano Ronaldo broke Ali Daei’s record for most international goals

Cristiano Ronaldo had a memorable year where he broke several benchmarks to further his legendary status. One of the major records he broke was Ali Daei’s feat of scoring most international goals. The Iranian legend had 109 strikes and the Portuguese now has 115 goals to his name. 

3. Italy broke the record for the longest unbeaten run 

The Italy national football team were very impressive in 2021, winning UEFA Euro 2020 in the process. Roberto Mancini’s men broke an incredibly tough record of the longest unbeaten run for a national team.

The previous best was 35 matches, held by Spain and Brazil. The Italians went two steps further and were unbeaten in 37 matches.

2. Messi broke Pele’s record of most goals by a South American player

Another record held by Pele saw its end in 2021. Lionel Messi this time broke his record of most goals by a South American in the history of the sport.

Pele managed 77 strikes in international football, but Messi has 80 goals since surpassing that mark. He may not catch up with Ronaldo, but will certainly go down as the most prolific goalscorer from South America.

1. Robert Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga scoring record

Robert Lewandowski was exceptional in 2021, much like the last two years. The Polish forward broke an iconic record held by legendary Gerd Muller of Germany.

Muller scored 40 goals in the Bundesliga in a calendar year. Lewandowski scored 41 goals to bring an end to a 49-year-old record. This is one of the reasons why the football world was shocked when Lewandowski missed out on winning the Ballon d’Or.

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