Ivan Rakitic felt goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was the difference between Bayern Munich and Sevilla in the Super Cup as the Bundesliga champions claimed a 2-1 victory after extra time.

Europa League holders Sevilla led through Lucas Ocampos' penalty in Budapest but were pegged back before half-time through Leon Goretzka's leveller on Thursday.

Sevilla proved obdurate opponents in the second period, though, and substitute Youssef En-Nesyri came close to ending Bayern's 22-game winning run when put through in the 87th minute, only for Neuer to turn his effort behind.

The Germany international made an even better save for the Champions League winners when he flicked a right foot out to divert En-Nesyri's attempt onto the post at the start of extra time, but the Sevilla forward did appear offside.

Bayern substitute Javi Martinez then scored a 104th-minute winner to leave Sevilla midfielder Rakitic lauding the display of Neuer.

"It's disappointing but that's football," the former Barcelona star told Sky Germany.

"We saw tonight how important Neuer is for them. We had two great chances to go ahead but he stopped them. Then we gave away a silly corner and they scored.

"Nevertheless, we can be proud of how we played against the best team in Europe and we feel well prepared for the league season."

Sevilla had been unbeaten since February and certainly performed better than the last LaLiga side that faced Bayern, who thrashed Rakitic's old club Barcelona 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Julen Lopetegui's men begin their domestic season on Sunday against newly promoted Cadiz in LaLiga and Sevilla captain Jesus Navas wants them to quickly put this defeat behind them.

"It was a really even game and in the end it was them who were able to score the winner, but we had our chances," he said.

"We had chances and didn't take them. We need to bounce back and carry on."

Joan Jordan thought Sevilla could take heart from the display, though.

"We should be proud," the midfielder claimed. "We played a great game and we could've won. Little details decide these things and it wasn't our day. We fought until the end to win this trophy for Sevilla."

An emotional Julen Lopetegui dedicated Sevilla's Europa League final triumph over Inter to the club's late greats Jose Antonio Reyes and Antonio Puerta.

Sevilla edged a thrilling encounter in Cologne, as Los Nervionenses battled back from Diego Carlos' third penalty concession in as many games – Romelu Lukaku converting this one.

A Luuk de Jong brace put Sevilla in front, but Diego Godin restored parity after Diego Carlos conceded a free-kick and then lost the Uruguayan.

But the Sevilla defender went from zero to hero 16 minutes from time, his overhead kick going in off Lukaku and Lopetegui's men held on to lift the trophy for a sixth time.

The last time they won it in 2016, Reyes was club captain. The former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Spain star died a little over three years later in a traffic collision.

Although he was no longer at the club, it was an incident that rocked Sevilla, a club that was already familiar with tragedy following the 2007 death of Puerta – the scorer of the decisive goal that qualified the Rojiblancos for their first UEFA Cup final in 2006 and passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest during a LaLiga match.

Following the example of captain Navas, who came through the club's academy with both Reyes and Puerta, Lopetegui dedicated Friday's win to them, saying: "I am very happy.

"For me, it is an immense joy. I ask the fans for prudence, but that they celebrate because this victory is for them and also for Reyes and Puerta.

"I am very happy, especially for the players. Everyone has helped, whether they play or not, in a very complex scenario.

"They are great for their work and for what they transmit. They sought the jackpot and achieved it against a great team, and having conceded three penalties at the beginning of the three games.

"The anthem says that this team never gives up, and we have put it into practice."

An emotional Jesus Navas dedicated Sevilla's record sixth Europa League success to his late former team-mates Antonio Puerta and Jose Antonio Reyes.

Julen Lopetegui's side won a thrilling encounter against Inter 3-2 in Cologne, with a Luuk de Jong brace overturning Romelu Lukaku's early penalty.

Navas' superb cross set up De Jong's equaliser but Inter concluded a riotous first half on level terms thanks to Diego Godin.

The decisive moment came 16 minutes from time when Diego Carlos, who had endured a torrid night at the hands of Lukaku and might have been sent off when he brought down the Belgium striker for his fifth-minute spot-kick, saw an audacious overhead kick deflect home off Inter's number nine.

Navas previously won the trophy he lifted on Friday in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons before missing the three in a row under Unai Emery while claiming a Premier League title and two EFL Cups at Manchester City.

Wing-back Puerta collapsed on the field and died due to cardiac arrest in August 2008 having played alongside Navas in those earlier triumphs, while three-time winner Reyes was killed in car accident last year.

"This group deserves it, they overcome every day after the problems that existed," the Spain international told Movistar.

"To be able to lift this title for Sevilla and for all those who are not here like my godfather, who has passed away, for Puerta, for Reyes. This group deserves the greatest.

"I want the Sevilla fans to feel proud of us, they deserve to get happy in the face of all the problems that there are."

Navas returning home, now a dependable right-back where he was once a tearaway winger, to skipper Sevilla amounts to a heart-warming story.

However, the club great was keen to share the plaudits with his team-mates after playmaker Ever Banega's final outing for the Andalusian outfit.

"We will all lift the trophy," Navas added. "We are all captains."

Banega, who will end a colourful stint in European football when he joins Saudi Arabian side Al-Shabab, paid tribute to Lopetegui – the coach who could celebrate the maiden triumph of his career in the dugout after a nightmare 2018 when he was sacked by both Spain and Real Madrid.

"It's time to say goodbye as I deserve - I want to thank Lopetegui," he said. "I recovered my best level with him. 

"I remember when I lowered the level a bit, he left me out of the team and showed me that without work you can't get anything."

The 2019-20 LaLiga season is over. Having started way back last August, Real Madrid were finally crowned champions 11 months later.

A campaign interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic led to schedule changes and empty stadiums, yet football offered a welcome positive for a country hit hard by COVID-19.

Madrid excelled upon the resumption, overtaking Barcelona on their way to securing a 34th title in their illustrious history, albeit a first since 2017.

Unsurprisingly in the Opta LaLiga team for 19-20, the newly crowned champions are well represented. It should also not come as a shock to see a certain number 10 from their rivals make the line-up, too.

However, who else statistically stacked up during the campaign? Take a look at the final XI.

1. THIBAUT COURTOIS (REAL MADRID)

The last line of defence for Zinedine Zidane's title winners, Courtois stopped 79.2 per cent of the shots he faced (76/96), the highest percentage among goalkeepers with at least 10 games played. The Belgian finished with 18 clean sheets, one more than Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak.

2. JESUS NAVAS (SEVILLA)

Now in his second spell with Sevilla after returning from Manchester City, Navas was converted into a more defensive role. Still, the Spain international remained a key attacking outlet for his team - he tried (232) and completed (55) the most crosses into the penalty area in LaLiga. 

3. PERVIS ESTUPINAN (OSASUNA)

On loan from Watford, Ecuador international Estupinan was a key member of an Osasuna squad that not only survived but thrived on their return to the top flight, finishing in 10th place. He was the only defender to attempt over 100 dribbles, while also recovered the ball a league-high 275 times.

4. SERGIO RAMOS (REAL MADRID)

Madrid's captain led from the front, despite playing at the back. Ramos contributed 11 goals - the most by a defender in a single season in the 21st century, surpassing Mario Pernia's tally of 10 with Getafe in 2005-06. The 34-year-old was on target in the final game against Leganes, his 650th appearance for Los Blancos.

5. DIEGO CARLOS (SEVILLA)

Centre-back Carlos excelled for Julen Lopetegui's Sevilla, helping them secure Champions League football by finishing fourth. His total of 174 clearances topped the list, while he was the only one to have made over 100 clearances with his head. It is hardly surprising, then, that he has been linked with a big-money move elsewhere.

6. CASEMIRO (REAL MADRID)

A defensive-minded midfielder, Casemiro was crucial in laying the foundations for Madrid's attacking talent to shine. The Brazilian recovered more balls in LaLiga than any other player and made 60 successful tackles. There was also the occasional goal too, including a brace that proved the difference in a 2-1 win over Sevilla in January.

7. LUCAS OCAMPOS (SEVILLA)

A third representative from Sevilla, Ocampos proved to be another transfer masterstroke from sporting director Monchi. Having arrived from Marseille for a reported fee of €15million, the winger tried 180 dribbles, completing 67. Only Lionel Messi (283) had more attempts, while no Sevilla player has reached such a number since 2003-04.

8. TONI KROOS (REAL MADRID)

A mainstay at Madrid now since joining from Bayern Munich in 2014, Kroos is a league winner for a second time in Spain. The German midfielder is ridiculously reliable in possession, completing 93.5 per cent of his passes (2,184 out of 2,336 attempted). That is the highest percentage of any player who featured in at least 10 games.

9. KARIM BENZEMA (REAL MADRID)

Now centre stage in Madrid's attack with Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin, Benzema matched his 2018-19 total with 21 LaLiga goals. The Frenchman had the useful knack of making a crucial impact for his team in key moments - his scoring return was worth 16 points for Zidane's squad as they finished on top of the table.

10. LIONEL MESSI (BARCELONA)

Of course Messi makes the XI. Barcelona failed to defend their title but their talisman was outstanding once again, becoming the only player to reach 20 goals (25) and also 20 assists (21) in the same season in the 21st century in LaLiga. His scoring exploits were enough to secure a seventh Pichichi award, as he finished ahead of Benzema.

11. SANTI CAZORLA (VILLARREAL)

Cazorla takes the final spot but will obviously not be in action in Spain's top-flight next season - he is heading to Qatar to continue his career with Al Sadd. Still, he signed off in style with Villarreal, providing the most assists (nine) for a midfielder while ranking third in terms of chances created (71). So long, Santi. Thanks for the memories.

Passing the ball can sometimes look like the easiest thing in the world to do. At least, it does when these guys do it.

Our latest dive into the data of 2019-20 sees us look at the best playmakers in Europe's top-five leagues before the season was called to a halt.

We've deliberately broadened our approach to what constitutes a playmaker here – Gerard Pique doesn't often appear as a number 10, unless Barca are in real trouble – as the idea is to offer a wider consideration of those players who generally use the ball better than most when in possession.

To that end, we've looked at 12 different metrics to come up with the top performers of the campaign, again from among those to make at least 10 league appearances.

While some stars are not exactly strange to see in the list below, there is a handful of more surprising names, too...

 

THE TOP PLAYMAKERS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

BUNDESLIGA:

Most successful passes: Sven Bender (1,766)
Highest passing accuracy: Axel Witsel (94.1 per cent)
Most successful passes, opposition half: Joshua Kimmich (873)
Highest passing accuracy, opposition half: Axel Witsel (92.2)
Most passes ending in final third: Jadon Sancho (576)
Highest passing accuracy ending in final third: Axel Witsel (88.4 per cent)
Most chances created: Christopher Nkunku (65)
Most big chances created: Thomas Muller (24)
Most assists: Thomas Muller (16)
Most assists from open play: Thomas Muller (15)
Most crosses/corners successful: Filip Kostic (71)
Highest crosses/corners accuracy (min. 10): Dennis Geiger (50 per cent)

LALIGA:

Most successful passes: Gerard Pique (1,688)
Highest passing accuracy: Toni Kroos (93.6 per cent)
Most successful passes, opposition half: Sergio Busquets (957)
Highest passing accuracy, opposition half: Toni Kroos (92.4)
Most passes ending in final third: Lionel Messi (698)
Highest passing accuracy ending in final third: Toni Kroos (90.3)
Most chances created: Jose Campana (58)
Most big chances created: Lionel Messi (22)
Most assists: Lionel Messi (12)
Most assists from open play: Portu and Lionel Messi (8)
Most crosses/corners successful: Jesus Navas (43)
Highest crosses/corners accuracy (min. 10): Benat (55 per cent)

LIGUE 1:

Most successful passes: Marco Verratti (1,581)
Highest passing accuracy: Thiago Silva (95.5 per cent)
Most successful passes, opposition half: Marco Verratti (956)
Highest passing accuracy, opposition half: Thiago Silva (92.8 per cent)
Most passes ending in final third: Angel Di Maria (543)
Highest passing accuracy ending in final third: Colin Dagba (86 per cent)
Most chances created: Dimitri Payet (87)
Most big chances created: Angel Di Maria (31)
Most assists: Angel Di Maria (14)
Most assists from open play: Angel Di Maria (10)
Most crosses/corners successful: Dimitri Payet (63)
Highest crosses/corners accuracy (min. 10): Marco Verratti (54.6 per cent)

 

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most successful passes: Virgil van Dijk (2,209)
Highest passing accuracy: John Stones (94 per cent)
Most successful passes, opposition half: Rodri (1,069)
Highest passing accuracy, opposition half: John Stones (93.9 per cent)
Most passes ending in final third: Kevin De Bruyne (740)
Highest passing accuracy ending in final third: Ibrahim Amadou (93.3 per cent)
Most chances created: Kevin De Bruyne (96)
Most big chances created: Kevin De Bruyne (23)
Most assists: Kevin De Bruyne (16)
Most assists from open play: Kevin De Bruyne (14)
Most crosses/corners successful: Kevin De Bruyne (69)
Highest crosses/corners accuracy (min. 10): Christian Atsu (47.1 per cent)

 

SERIE A:

Most successful passes: Fabian Ruiz (1,488)
Highest passing accuracy: Marlon Santos (94.1 per cent)
Most successful passes, opposition half: Fabian Ruiz (932)
Passing accuracy, opposition half: Eljif Elmas (91.5 per cent)
Most passes ending in final third: Luis Alberto (723)
Highest passing accuracy ending in final third: Walace (89.7 per cent)
Most chances created: Luis Alberto (75)
Most big chances created: Luis Alberto (16)
Most assists: Luis Alberto (12)
Most assists from open play: Luis Alberto and Alejandro Gomez (9)
Most crosses/corners successful: Erick Pulgar (46)
Highest crosses/corners accuracy (min. 10): Armando Izzo (54.6 per cent)

 

AND THE TOP 12:

Most successful passes: Virgil van Dijk (2,209)
Highest passing accuracy: Thiago Silva (95.5 per cent)
Most successful passes, opposition half: Rodri (1,069)
Passing accuracy, opposition half: John Stones (93.9 per cent)
Most passes ending in final third: Kevin De Bruyne (740)
Highest passing accuracy ending in final third: Ibrahim Amadou (93.3 per cent)
Most chances created: Kevin De Bruyne (96)
Most big chances created: Angel Di Maria (31)
Most assists: Thomas Muller and Kevin De Bruyne (16)
Most assists from open play: Thomas Muller (15)
Most crosses/corners successful: Filip Kostic (71)
Highest crosses/corners accuracy (min. 10): Benat (55 per cent)

 

With football no closer to being resumed as the coronavirus pandemic continues, players across Europe's top-five leagues have lots of time to pore over their performances from this season.

Using Opta data, we have already examined some of the worst attacking numbers from 2019-20, so now it's the turn of those ball-playing technicians: the pass-masters.

We have analysed nine key metrics for outfield players to play in at least 10 league games this season, thereby giving us a good summary of those whose passing could use some improvement. Those metrics are focused on the number of passes (overall, in a player's own half and their opponent's half), the accuracy of those passes, corners and crosses, and losing possession.

As always when it comes to data, context is key. For instance, we have included overall accuracy percentages to give balance to the simple number of passes. A team's playmaker or set-piece taker, for example, is arguably more likely to have a larger number of misplaced passes than team-mates simply because he will be attempting more of them, and often in difficult areas.

It's also worth noting that the number of times possession has been lost excludes 'Hoofs' (which, by their nature, make losing the ball more common), while corner and crossing accuracy is taken only from those to attempt, on average, at least one per game.

That said, the below gives a good indication of some passing figures that need improvement - and there are one or two surprising names...

THE WORST PASSING STATS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

BUNDESLIGA:

Most passes failed: Robert Andrich (291)
Worst passing accuracy: Anthony Modeste (55.4 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Jamilu Collins (110)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Kai Proger (60.5 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Sebastian Andersson (215)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Anthony Modeste (42.1 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Filip Kostic (199)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Wendell (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost: Filip Kostic (616)

LALIGA:

Most passes failed: Leandro Cabrera (352)
Worst passing accuracy: Enric Gallego (48.6 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Pervis Estupinan (94)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Sergio Leon (57.1 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Joselu (283)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Leandro Cabrera (43.5 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Jesus Navas (134)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Karim Benzema (0 of 19)
Most times possession lost: Pervis Estupinan (534)

LIGUE 1:

Most passes failed: Issiaga Sylla (281)
Worst passing accuracy: Suk Hyun-jun (44.8 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Fabien Centonze (111)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Suk Hyun-jun (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Andy Delort (238)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half:  Suk Hyun-jun (44.4 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Mathieu Dossevi (142)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): M'Baye Niang (0 of 11)
Most times possession lost: Angel Di Maria (539)

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most passes failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (480)
Worst passing accuracy: Christian Benteke (52.4 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Cesar Azpilicueta (132)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Matej Vydra (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (359)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Christian Benteke (48 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (246)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Gabriel Martinelli (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (867)

SERIE A:

Most passes failed: Stefano Sabelli (324)
Worst passing accuracy: Lautaro Martinez (59.5 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Stefano Sabelli (94)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Stefano Sabelli (230)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Florian Aye (58.5 per cent)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Roberto Inglese (54 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Erick Pulgar (134)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Kevin Lasagna (0 from 13)
Most possession lost: Stefano Sabelli (494)

AND THE TOP NINE:

Most passes failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (480)
Worst passing accuracy: Suk Hyun-jun (44.8 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Cesar Azpilicueta (132)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Suk Hyun-jun and Matej Vydra (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Trent Alexander-Arnold (359)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Anthony Modeste (42.1 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (246)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Wendell and Gabriel Martinelli (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost: Trent Alexander-Arnold (867)

Santi Cazorla scored his first Spain goal for four years as two debutants also got on the scoresheet in a 7-0 thrashing of Malta in Euro 2020 qualifying on Friday.

The Villarreal veteran struck 41 minutes in after Alvaro Morata had put Robert Moreno's men ahead, before the floodgates opened in the second half at Estadio Ramon de Carranza.

Moreno made seven changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Sweden last time out and handed debuts to Pau Torres and Dani Olmo in the second half, each of whom repaid him with a goal.

A fine strike from Pablo Sarabia, a simple finish for the impressive Gerard Moreno and a late Jesus Navas effort secured a resounding victory in Cadiz for a Spain side who were already assured of their place at next year's finals.

Morata scored his seventh goal in as many games for club and country with 23 minutes gone, bundling a finish beyond goalkeeper Henry Bonello after Gerard Moreno turned a loose ball goalwards.

It was Morata who prevented Spain doubling their lead 27 minutes in, the striker judged to be interfering with play from an offside position when Moreno blasted home the rebound after a brilliant Bonello save denied Sergio Ramos.

Moreno somehow failed to turn Sarabia's cross into an unguarded net, but the second goal did come - and in some style - four minutes before the break. Cazorla gathered Moreno's first-time pass and slotted the ball in off the left-hand post for his first international goal since 2015.

Cazorla went off to a standing ovation eight minutes after the restart as Spain set about securing the result, with only a brilliant clearance off the line from Jonathan Caruana denying Sarabia.

Spain ended the match as a contest with two goals in the space of a minute, Torres chesting the ball in from Paco Alcacer's flick-on from a corner before Sarabia arrowed a left-footed finish into the top-right corner from Moreno's lay-off.

Olmo became the second debutant to get on the scoresheet, rounding the goalkeeper before slotting home after the Malta defence was split by Thiago's pass, and Moreno at last got his goal when he tapped in Juan Bernat's cut-back.

Navas capped a fine outing for Spain with the goal of the game five minutes from time, sending a dipping strike over the stranded Bonello from 25 yards out.

 

What does it mean? Spain's old guard give Moreno food for thought

Raul Albiol, Navas and Cazorla might have a combined age of 101, but they started this game entirely on merit given their club form.

While this was as routine as qualifying matches get, none of the three looked out of place and could all hope to be part of the final squad for next year's tournament.

Marvellous Moreno makes amends for miss

He will likely never know quite how he missed his first-half chance, but Moreno made up for it with three assists and a second-half tap-in in a lively performance down the Spain right.

Bonello bamboozled

His defence did not exactly help him in the second half, but neither did Bonello cover himself in glory, particularly with his positioning for Navas' goal.

What's next?

Spain conclude Euro 2020 qualifying against Romania in Madrid on Monday, when Malta host Norway.

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