Atletico Madrid’s France striker Antoine Griezmann played 63 games this season racking up 5,454 minutes on the pitch, making him the most used player in Europe, the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) said on Tuesday.
Griezmann, thought to be close to a transfer to Manchester United, played all but two league games and racked up 12 Champions League matches combined with domestic cup and international appearances to top the heap of most minutes played.
Leicester City’s Nigerian defender Wilfred Ndidi, with 61 games and 5,290 minutes was second, whilst another Atletico stalwart, Koke, came third with 62 games (5,274 minutes).
The study counted all games from players in the top five leagues in Europe: England, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain.
The CIES is located in Neuchatel, Switzerland, and was created as a joint venture between the FIFA and the local university.
Borussia Dortmund ended a run of three successive DFB-Pokal final defeats with a 2-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who reportedly handed in a transfer request this week, scored his 40th goal of the season from the penalty spot for Dortmund midway through the second half to clinch the club’s fourth German Cup title and first in five years.
Aubameyang also hit the crossbar late on as Dortmund put the defeats to Bayern Munich (twice) and Wolfsburg behind them in a record fourth-in-a-row final appearance.
Dortmund took the lead after just eight minutes when Ousmane Dembele picked up where he had left off with his semi-final winner against Bayern.
The midfielder reached double figures for the season with a left-footed shot from a tight angle.
However, they could not press home their advantage and on the half-hour Frankfurt, appearing in their first cup final for 11 years, equalised through Ante Rebic.
Dortmund replaced Marco Reus and Marcel Schmelzer with Gonzalo Castro and Christian Pulisic at half-time and it was the latter who won the penalty after he was fouled by Lukas Hradecky, allowing Aubameyang to his 40th in 46 matches this season.
Check out all the best images from Dortmund’s celebrations in our gallery above.
Arsenal upset the odds to beat Premier League champions Chelsea 2-1 and secure the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.
Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring before Diego Costa levelled proceedings in the 76th minute only for Aaron Ramsey to grab the winner three minutes later.
Here, we take a look at five things we learned from the all-London final.
FOOTBALL STANDS TOGETHER
Supporters of both clubs came together before kick-off to observe an immaculate minute’s silence for the victims of Monday’s terror attack in Manchester. Twenty-two people were killed and many more injured after an explosion at Manchester Arena and they were remembered here.
Prince William laid one of four wreaths and, while Chelsea players accidentally left their black armbands behind for the first half, it was another fitting occasion where sport marked the recent tragedy.
NEAR PER-FECT RETURN FOR CAPTAIN MERTESACKER
Having not started a game for Arsenal in 392 days, Per Mertesacker was called upon by Wenger after injury and suspension decimated his defence. The German World Cup winner had not kicked a ball for the Gunners this season until his second-half introduction against Everton last weekend, but he enjoyed a superb afternoon with a man-of-the-match display.
From last-ditch sliding tackles to well-timed interceptions, the 32-year-old showed why Wenger put such faith in him, despite a serious knee injury last summer.
Having roared to the Premier League title while Arsenal were finishing fifth, Antonio Conte’s Blues were not a the races as they chased the double. Their first-half display was one of their worst 45 minutes of the entire campaign – arguably only the 3-0 loss at the Emirates Stadium trumps it – and they left it too late when rallying with 10 men.
Conte was a coiled spring on the touchline, bellowing instructions early on, but the likes of Eden Hazard, Pedro and even the PFA and FWA Player of the Year N’Golo Kante were not at their best.
WENGER: ALWAYS UP FOR THE CUP
With his future still uncertain Arsene Wenger became a record breaker as he masterminded his seventh FA Cup success. The 67-year-old Frenchman is still facing protests from a number of supporters who do not want him to sign a new deal at the Emirates Stadium, with his current contract expiring next month.
But he delivered a seventh FA Cup win, his third in four years, to give himself plenty of ammunition when he attends a board meeting next week.
Chelsea were starting to find a way back into the contest and, even though they hit back when down to 10 men, the red card for wing-back Victor Moses hampered their efforts. The Nigeria international has enjoyed a fantastic season but, having stopped Danny Welbeck as he looked to burst forward, he picked up a second yellow for an obvious dive inside the penalty box.
The Football Association announced recently that a panel will now look at potential dives in future and dole out retrospective punishment – it was not needed here.