While he’s used to leaving defenders flailing haplessly in his wake, former Real Madrid and Barcelona star Luis Figo broke new ground recently when he took part in a football match played at world record-breaking altitude.
Indeed, on Aug. 20, 2022, the 49-year-old Portuguese legend took part in a four-a-side game, organised by Mastercard, on board a parabolic flight at an altitude of 20,230 feet (6,166 metres), which is the highest a game of football has ever been played before.
The match took place on a specially constructed 75-metre square pitch built inside the aircraft, which soars in alternating upward and downward arcs in a trajectory that simulates the effect of zero gravity. Though that didn’t stop Figo from scoring with an acrobatic volley.
Figo, who scored in a 2-1 win for his side, was joined by seven other players from around the world, with his teammates hailing from Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. They then all had their efforts ratified by the Guinness World Records adjudicators, who presented the players with the title for the “Highest Altitude Game of Football on a Parabolic Flight.”
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, more (U.S.)
Even at his age, Figo is still adding major honours to his already expansive career haul, though he isn’t the only big-name professional footballer to find himself in possession of a Guinness World Record.
Manchester United’s Ronaldo has several Guinness World Records to speak of, having claimed certificates for: most goals scored in international football (117 and counting), most consecutive Champions League games scored in (11), oldest player to score a hat trick at a World Cup (33 years and 130 days), most European Championship tournaments scored in by a single player (4) and, slightly less impressively, the record for the most viewed Wikipedia page of any male athlete (over 48 trillion views.)
Lewandowski has no less than four Guinness World Records thanks to his herculean goal-scoring feats with Bayern Munich — all a result of his incredible five-goal spree against Wolfsburg in 2015.
The Poland striker came on as a half-time substitute and duly rattled home five goals in just nine minutes thus earning him records for fastest Bundesliga hat trick (3 minutes 22 seconds), fastest four goals in a Bundesliga match (5 minutes 42 seconds), fastest five goals in a Bundesliga match (8 minutes 59 seconds) and the most goals ever scored by a substitute in a Bundesliga match (5.)
It should come as no surprise Messi also owns (or jointly owns) a vast raft of Guinness World Records, most of which were awarded due to his outstanding performances on the pitch.
Among the many official titles that Messi holds are: most goals scored in a single Champions League match (5), most goals scored by a substitute in a Copa America match (3), most appearances by a foreign player in La Liga (427), youngest player to score 50 goals in the Champions League (24 years, 246 days), most goals in a calendar year (91 goals in 2012) and most Ballon d’Or wins (7.)