Mercedes go chasing more history as they travel to the Monaco Grand Prix with a huge lead in the Formula One title race.

The Silver Arrows, led by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, have registered one-twos in each of the first five meetings of the 2019 season, yet Monte Carlo has not always been a happy hunting ground.

Red Bull have enjoyed this event in previous years, although Daniel Ricciardo - a star on this circuit - has now departed.

Will Red Bull be able to repeat their past success? Or can Mercedes maintain their incredible form? We take a look at the key Opta numbers ahead.

 

1 - Ferrari's Charles Leclerc heads to his home grand prix still looking to become the first Monegasque driver to win a race in F1.

2 - Ricciardo (Renault) has taken two of the last three pole positions in Monaco GP, accounting for two of the three pole positions in his F1 career.

3 - Mercedes have not recorded a pole position in any of their past three visits to Monaco, their worst active streak at one grand prix. They last won there in 2016.

4 - Four different drivers have won the last four Monaco GPs: Nico Rosberg (2015), Hamilton (2016), Sebastian Vettel (2017) and Ricciardo (2018).

6 - If Mercedes record a one-two finish again in Monaco, they would boast the best such streak in F1 history (six in a row). Their current run includes three wins for Hamilton and two for Bottas.

13 - Vettel has now not won in any of the past 13 grands prix he has finished, the worst run of his career.

272 - Red Bull have collected 272 points at Monte Carlo, their most at a single F1 circuit.

992 - Ricciardo is eight points short of 1000 in F1, which a sixth-placed finish would secure. He would become the second Australian driver to this landmark after Mark Webber (1,047.5 points).

The Toronto Raptors are putting together a quality run in the NBA playoffs.

Toronto's 120-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday tied the Eastern Conference Finals at 2-2.

Here are three takeaways from the Raptors' second consecutive win.

 

Toronto are learning not to rely on Kawhi Leonard

Leonard suffered an apparent leg injury in the Raptors' Game 3 victory and he lacked aggression in Game 4.

The Raptors star scored 19 points on six-of-13 shooting. Before Tuesday, he had not attempted fewer than 18 shots in the series against the Bucks. Leonard has only attempted fewer than 13 shots once in the postseason so far – against the Orlando Magic in the first round.

However, Milwaukee continued to double team Leonard, and his decoy role helped Toronto's bench explode for 48 points. The Raptors role players cannot be afraid to shoot the ball down the stretch if they want to advance to the NBA Finals, so this could be a blessing in disguise.

Kyle Lowry is in attack mode 

Lowry needs to assert himself early and often for the Raptors, and he did just that.

The point guard was the most important part of Toronto's offense, as he shot a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line and recorded a team-high 25 points.

When Lowry is scoring on all three levels and bringing his usual peskiness on the defensive end, he gives the Raptors their best chance to come out on top.

Milwaukee need to convert free throws

The Bucks lost by 18 points, and they left nine at the free-throw line.

Milwaukee only attempted one fewer free throw than the opposition, but shot an underwhelming 65.4 per cent to Toronto's 88.9.

Giannis Antetokounmpo missed four of his 10 attempts from the line, and he will likely shoot plenty more moving forward as the centerpiece of the Bucks' offense.

Getting back in Fiserv Forum could help Milwaukee's struggles, though.

Game 5 will take place in Milwaukee on Thursday.

Real Madrid seem certain to spend heavily to boost Zinedine Zidane's squad and try to close the growing gap to LaLiga rivals Barcelona.

Zidane has indicated he will not be afraid to overhaul an ageing team that ended the campaign third, 19 points behind Barca, after a 2-0 home loss to Real Betis on Sunday.

Gareth Bale was an unused substitute against Betis, with his future seemingly certain to be away from the Santiago Bernabeu, while goalkeeper Keylor Navas is also expected to leave.

But how could Madrid's squad look ahead of the 2019-20 season? Omnisport takes a look at the likely arrivals and departures for Los Blancos.

IN: Eder Militao, Luka Jovic, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Neymar, Eden Hazard?

Madrid have already sealed a deal for Porto centre-back Militao, boosting an increasingly leaky defence that shipped 46 league goals last term. Reports in Germany have claimed Jovic will soon follow, with the Serbia striker - previously linked with Barcelona - set to leave Eintracht Frankfurt despite only completing his permanent transfer from Benfica earlier this year.

Former coach Fabio Capello has said Madrid have €500million to spend, so Zidane can afford to be ambitious with his targets. Pogba has long been linked with the club and despite being Manchester United's top goalscorer in the Premier League this term, he could be allowed to leave.

Mbappe would be a classic Madrid 'Galactico' signing and he signalled he would be open to leaving Paris Saint-Germain when he collected both the Ligue 1 Best Player and Best Young Player of the Year prizes at the National Union of Professional Footballers' awards on Sunday. Mbappe would likely cost a world-record fee, with Neymar another top-tier player potentially on the move.

The former Barca attacker has reportedly failed to settle in the French capital and he could be Madrid's next superstar after last year's surprise sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, but Madrid's long-term interest in Eden Hazard - who has a year left on his Chelsea contract - may scupper a potential deal for the Brazil star.

Even with a vast amount of cash to splash, it is hard to see Madrid bringing in four new attackers in Hazard, Jovic, Mbappe and Neymar, while PSG - regardless of doubts over their financial situation - would surely not allow both of their forwards to leave in the same transfer window.


OUT: Gareth Bale, Keylor Navas, Isco, Marcelo, Raphael Varane, Luka Modric?

The level of spending at Madrid during the close-season will partly depend on who they can sell, with Bale a prime candidate to be moved on. Zidane's lack of trust in the Wales forward is no secret, even though Bale scored twice in last year's Champions League final defeat of Liverpool in Kiev. Bale cost what was then a world record £85m when he joined from Tottenham but his huge wages, coupled with a short list of potential suitors, could be a problem. Reports in Spain have indicated Bale is willing to see out the remaining three years of his contract.

Another key member of the Madrid team that won three Champions League titles in a row in Zidane's first spell, goalkeeper Navas is expected to be sold after last year's arrival of Thibaut Courtois, with the current boss said to be keen to make son Luca his number two option with the gloves.

Isco seemed certain to depart when he was out of favour before Santiago Solari's sacking, while Marcelo could also be allowed to leave due to the breakthrough season enjoyed by left-back Sergio Reguilon. But Toni Kroos is staying put after signing a new four-year deal with the club. PSG were linked with a treble swoop for Kroos, Isco and Bale, so the latter two players could be used as potential makeweights in a deal for either Mbappe or Neymar.

At the back, Zidane has said Raphael Varane will stay but with Juventus reported to be interested in the World Cup winner, a big offer could tempt Madrid to sell. Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric, meanwhile, was previously linked with Inter and had a poor second half of the season.

 

@realmadrid #TeamVarane pic.twitter.com/YiwSQlq8tp

— Raphaël Varane (@raphaelvarane) May 17, 2019

POTENTIAL MADRID XI FOR 2019-20

Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Eder Militao, Marcelo; Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Paul Pogba; Kylian Mbappe, Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard.

NRL great Cooper Cronk will retire at the end of the season after a glittering 16-year career.

A three-time premiership winner and twice a Dally M Medallist, the Sydney Roosters star announced on Monday that this campaign would be his last.

Having also starred for Melbourne Storm, Australia and Queensland, Cronk ranks among the sport's greats.

We take a look at the Opta stats after his announcement.

357 - Cronk has played the second most NRL games in history, behind only Cameron Smith (394).

99 - He has scored 99 NRL tries, including 12 in both 2011 and 2016.

419 - Cronk has scored 419 NRL points, with his season-high the 51 he managed for Melbourne in 2016.

13 - He has played 20-plus games in 13 of his past 14 NRL campaigns.

60 - Cronk is set to finish his career with 60 representative appearances (38 for Australia and 22 for Queensland in State of Origin).

11 - His next try would see him become just the 11th player in NRL history to play 300 games and score 100 tries.

Brooks Koepka managed to retain his US PGA Championship title, but only after a dramatic collapse on the back nine at Bethpage Black.

Leading by seven heading into the final round, Koepka closed out a two-stroke victory for his fourth major title on Sunday.

The American bogeyed five of seven holes on the back nine and his lead was briefly cut to one by Dustin Johnson in a thrilling finish.

Here's how a dramatic back nine unfolded in New York:

- Leading by four with nine to play, Koepka enhanced his position with a magnificent birdie on the fearsome 10th, enough to move him six clear as Johnson bogeyed 11.

- Loose drives prevented Koepka from reaching the 11th and 12th greens in regulation and back-to-back bogeys cut his advantage to four.

- Koepka then pulled his tee shot way left on the par-five 13th, before missing a short par putt to drop another shot.

- Up ahead, Johnson birdied the 15th for the fourth day in succession. Suddenly, the 2016 U.S. Open champion was only two behind.

- The drama intensified as Koepka's run of bogeys stretched to four at the short 14th. After over-shooting the green, he played a heavy-handed chip and could not salvage par.

- Johnson failed to keep the pressure on, going long with his approach to 16 and then failing to get up and down. Koepka's lead was back to two.

- A poor tee shot on the par-three 17th led to another Johnson bogey, seemingly ending his challenge. A super up-and-down at the last meant he avoided another dropped shot and finished on six under.

- Koepka took a two-stroke lead to the final tee after dropping his fifth shot in seven holes at the 17th.

- Another poor drive led to Koepka laying up with a pitch back into the fairway, but he got the job done thereafter, pitching to six feet and holing out for par.

In the end the outcome was exactly as expected on Sunday even if the manner was in complete contrast to three previous days of flawless golf from Brooks Koepka.

All manner of records were expected to tumble en route to defending the US PGA Championship after a seven-shot lead had been opened over a pack that wasn't so much chasing as desperately clinging on for dear life.

But in golf, as in life, there are no guarantees and Koepka had to ride out a storm after a back nine that saw him drop five shots in the space of seven holes and provide more than a glimmer of opportunity to good friend and gym buddy Dustin Johnson.

Ride it out he did, though, and the newly crowned world number one proved that his pre-tournament confidence was not misguided.

The idea of confidence can be divisive. The line between confidence and arrogance can often be a thin one, a notion that is exacerbated tenfold when it comes to professional sports.

Many have been 'guilty' of stepping the wrong side of the divide in the pursuit of greatness.

Perhaps Koepka's perceived tendency to do so is why there has been a lack of acclaim along a path that has been careering towards greatness. 

Indeed, before a ball had even been struck at Bethpage Black this weekend, Koepka was in full mind-game mode when discussing a phenomenal record in the majors over the past two years.

"I don't see why you can't get to double digits," he told a press pack, whose ears would have immediately pricked up. 

"I think you keep doing what you're supposed to do, you play good, you peak at the right times… I think sometimes the majors are the easiest ones to win.

"Half the people shoot themselves out of it, and mentally I know I can beat most of them, and then from there it's those guys left, who's going to play good and who can win.

"I don't see any reason it can't get to double digits."

It was the boldest of assertions that may have rubbed some the wrong way. But does he care? Not a jot. Should he? Absolutely not.

In a mostly individual sport like golf, having that cocksure, brash attitude is a trait that can provide a psychological advantage before even taking to the tee.

Ask yourself, would Tiger Woods have been the same player without that single-minded swagger that made him the world's most dominant and most sought-after sports star for over a decade?

Moreover, why shouldn't Koepka believe he can get to double digits? Yes, history is not exactly on his side. Only Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Walter Hagen have achieved it. Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Tom Watson are among the greats that came close without lighting the cigar.

But right now there is not even an argument to be had. Koepka is simply the dominant force in men's major golf. Four of the past nine have been won by the American, one he didn't even play due to injury, two others have resulted in top-10 finishes.  

Since the 2014 Masters, eight different Americans have won a major title, while Rory McIlroy – the man most would have deemed the likeliest to reach double digits – has lifted two of his four.

At that time it would have been unthinkable to suggest Koepka as more likely than Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson or McIlroy in a hypothetical race to 10.

Now we're in a scenario where to consider anyone but Koepka capable of reaching a fabled feat looks naive, bordering on foolish.

Suggestions of Woods-esque era of dominance are probably premature, indeed Adam Scott summed up the feeling pretty succinctly after round three on Saturday.

"It's not quite the same, and that's no disrespect to Brooks," the Australian said. 

"I think comparing anything to Tiger is a little unfair in a good or a bad way. It would be probably bringing down what he managed to accomplish. He did this multiple times in majors, let alone regular tournaments."

His last-nine wobble at Bethpage certainly betrayed his usually unflappable nature.

And regardless of that dip, it still takes a huge leap of faith to believe Koepka can enjoy the same sort of hold Woods had over the world of golf.

But Koepka is the kind of character that has little time for comparisons anyway. To hell with history. He will simply want to continue blazing a trail in his own inimitable style.

His is a path not familiarly trodden. In 2012, Koepka played at the same PGA Tour Qualifying School event as Spieth.

Neither made the grade, but while Spieth earned a PGA Tour card just three months later thanks to a more traditional route after receiving sponsor exemptions on the Web.com Tour, Koepka would take another three years to receive his.

The intervening period was a hard-knocks apprenticeship on the European Challenge Tour and European Tour, including stops in Kenya and Kazakhstan – not exactly noted as golfing hotbeds.

It is an education that has instilled an iron will to win at all costs and cope with the incomparable pressure cooker of major golf. Lessons that will have been handy as the bogeys racked up and Johnson moved with one stroke on Sunday. Ultimately, he got the job done.

So, whatever side of the confident-arrogant side of the line you think he falls on, it doesn't matter. Koepka is a major-winning machine that will take some stopping.

He did things the hard way on Sunday, but Brooks Koepka's wire-to-wire victory at the US PGA Championship continued a dominant trend over the past two years.

Four of the past nine major tournaments have now been won by the big-hitting American, who even missed one of those due to injury.

Koepka made a mockery of Bethpage Black's reputation as one of the most daunting courses in golf for three days, giving him enough breathing space to prevail despite a back-nine collapse on Sunday in Long Island.

A closing 74 was enough for Koepka to beat Dustin Johnson by two strokes and become the first man to retain both the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open.

In light of his latest victory in one of golf's four biggest strokeplay tournaments, Omnisport looks at Koepka's major performances dating back to his success at the 2017 U.S. Open.


U.S. Open 2017 (1st)

Koepka already had four top-10s to his name by the time he made a major breakthrough in sensational style at Erin Hills. Koepka equalled the U.S. Open's lowest winning score of 16 under set by Rory McIlroy in 2011.


Open Championship 2017 (T6)

Just a month later and Koepka again showed his impressive major pedigree, tying for sixth at Birkdale. This time, though, the focus was all on Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar's final-day battle for the ages, which the former won to secure his third major.

US PGA Championship 2017 (T13)

Koepka again threatened to be in contention at Quail Hollow, where he trailed joint-leaders Kevin Kisner and Thorbjorn Olesen by one stroke after round one. However, a prolonged challenge never truly materialised and he tailed away to finish 13th as Justin Thomas became a major champion.

Masters 2018 (Did not play)

Unfortunately for Koepka, injury reared its ugly head for the first major of 2018 and a wrist problem saw him miss out at Augusta.

U.S. Open 2018 (1st)

A three-month lay-off likely fuelled a frustrated Koepka's desire at the treacherous Shinnecock Hills. Few could have predicted him retaining his title, but a score of one over was enough to deny Tommy Fleetwood, whose seven-under 63 on the final day was the joint-lowest in U.S. Open history. Koepka was the first player since Curtis Strange in 1988 and 1989 to retain the trophy.

Open Championship 2018 (T39)

Koepka never really got going at Carnoustie as Tiger Woods threatened a stunning victory and Francesco Molinari ultimately lifted the Claret Jug.

US PGA Championship 2018 (1st)

Possibly the most satisfying major win of them all for Koepka, who ignored the fanfare around a resurgent Woods to claim a two-shot triumph at Bellerive. Koepka set a new 72-hole PGA Championship record of 264 and was the first man since Woods in 2000 to complete a U.S. Open-PGA Championship double in the same year.

Masters 2019 (T2)

The third leg of a career Grand Slam was within reach at Augusta, where Koepka co-led after each of the first two rounds and was still very much in the hunt after 54 holes. Unfortunately for Koepka, an inspired Woods was unrelenting on a famous Sunday – ending an 11-year wait for a major victory to collect a fifth green jacket.

US PGA Championship 2019 (1st)

A new month for the US PGA but a similar theme. The records tumbled for three days at Bethpage Black and not even a final-round wobble denied Koepka a wire-to-wire success in Long Island, New York. Victory saw Koepka become the first player to be a two-time defending champion in two of the four majors at the same time.

 

Vincent Kompany will revive a much-loved football tradition when he leaves Manchester City to become player-manager at his boyhood club Anderlecht.

In the era of head coaches and sporting directors, it is rare to find an individual juggling the rigours of playing at the top level while taking charge of a club, but history offers plenty of successful examples for the Belgium international to follow.

Kompany said he has been promised the time, budget, framework and staff support as he aims to revive a once great club, and Anderlecht's supporters will hope he can maintain the form on the field that saw him play a key role in City's historic treble-winning season.

While City fans wish their heroic captain a fond farewell, we look back at five instances where player-managers transformed the fortunes of clubs who trusted them on and off the field.

Glenn Hoddle (Swindon Town, Chelsea)

Glenn Hoddle was, like Kompany, exactly the kind of footballer you would expect to make a good manager: an astute winner with a visionary streak.

At the end of a superb career with Tottenham, Monaco and England, Hoddle took over as player-manager at Swindon Town where he guided the club away from relegation in his first season and delivered promotion to the Premier League in his second, even scoring in the play-off final as the Robins reached the top flight.

Hoddle further enhanced his reputation as player-manager at Chelsea, turning an unfashionable side into an entertaining outfit and signing top European stars like Ruud Gullit and Dan Petrescu to play his brand of passing football.

Ruud Gullit (Chelsea)

Gullit had a year playing under Hoddle at Chelsea in which he could learn the art of player-management, and the Dutch legend made it look easy, guiding Chelsea to FA Cup glory in his first season in charge – the club's first major trophy in 26 years – while anchoring the Blues' midfield alongside Dennis Wise.

Gullit's star quality on and off the field helped to bring Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Di Matteo and Gianluca Vialli to the club, and when chairman Ken Bates decided to sack his side's player-manager in February 1998, Chelsea were second in the Premier League and playing their best football in decades.

Bryan Robson (Middlesbrough)

Back in 1994, Bryan Robson was revered as one of the great captains in English football, having led Manchester United to back-to-back Premier League titles.

His ability to inspire teams and lead by example was similar to Kompany's, and Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson pinned his hopes on Robson being the man to usher in a new football era on Teesside.

Robson did just that, helping to bring Juninho, Emerson, Fabrizio Ravanelli and Nick Barmby to Boro as the club established itself in the top flight of English football, while continuing to play until just 10 days before his 40th birthday.

Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)

When Joe Fagan retired in May 1985, Liverpool turned to 34-year-old striker Kenny Dalglish to take the club forward as player-manager.

Dalglish had already helped the club to win five league titles and his golden touch stayed with him as he delivered a league and FA Cup double in his first season in the dual role.

A further two league titles and another FA Cup followed as the Liverpool legend set the standard for player-managers, maintained his form on the field while being highly effective in the dressing room.

Graeme Souness (Rangers)

Rangers had not won the league in nine years and were languishing in fifth place in the table when Graeme Souness was installed as player-manager in 1986.

The Edinburgh-born midfielder was an immediate success, guiding the Gers to a league and League Cup double in in his first season while losing none of the aggression that characterised his playing style.

He was sent off after 34 minutes of his competitive debut against Hibernian, and later admitted his approach to the game "bordered on being out of order", but Rangers were not complaining: Souness won 125 of his 193 league games in charge.

San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski has finally passed Landon Donovan for the most regular-season goals in MLS history.

The veteran former United States striker has long been chasing Donovan's total of 145 and seized the record against Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Wondolowski scored four goals in a 4-1 rout of the Fire to take his MLS tally to 148.

The 36-year-old twice won the MLS Cup with Houston Dynamo, while he was the league's MVP as the Quakes won the 2012 Supporters' Shield, but team success has dried up in recent years.

Yet Wondolowski now has his own piece of history and, with the help of Opta, we look at the numbers behind his achievement.

 

338 – It took Wondolowski 338 appearances to break Donovan's record, with 283 of those regular-season starts.

– Despite his regular-season exploits, Wondolowski has scored just once in the play-offs in six appearances.

143 – The vast majority of Wondolowski's goals have come from inside the area, with only five from outside the 18-yard box. Of the 143 from closer range, 25 have been penalties.

82 – Wondolowski's right foot has proven most effective, with him scoring 82 times in this manner. He also netted 38 goals with his left foot and 28 with his head.

4 – Saturday's performance against the Fire was the first four-goal game of Wondolowski's career.

Prior to the 2019 campaign, Wondolowski had scored at least 10 goals in nine consecutive seasons from 2010 to 2018.

21  Wondolowski has scored more than once in 21 different MLS regular-season matches. That is still some way off record-holder Donovan's 32.

12  San Jose's California rivals LA Galaxy have proven Wondolowski's favourite opponent. He has scored 12 times against the Galaxy, with 11 goals coming against Vancouver Whitecaps, Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders.

Saturday's 6-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup final at Wembley made Manchester City the first men's team in history to complete a clean sweep of English football's major honours in the same season.

Raheem Sterling dispatched the decisive penalty in the shoot-out against Chelsea after February's EFL Cup final at the same venue finished goalless, while City edged out Liverpool in an epic Premier League title race by beating Brighton and Hove Albion 4-1 last weekend.

Sterling and Gabriel Jesus then both scored twice on Saturday as City completed the treble, adding to a superb career body of work for manager Pep Guardiola.

But where does this City rank among the other finest teams since the Premier League rebrand of 1992-93 heralded the multi-million-pound era?

Five Omnisport writers have picked their sides.

Matt Dorman - Manchester United 1998-2001

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rode a wave of nostalgia in the early months of his return to Old Trafford and the hero of 1999 can be forgiven for indulging in past glories, such were the extraordinary feats he achieved alongside a squad of enviable depth and ability.

The now-United manager's last-gasp winner in the remarkable Champions League final triumph over Bayern Munich two decades ago completed an unprecedented treble and serves as the centrepiece of an unforgettable era.

David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and brother Phil comprised the Class of 92 that blossomed late in the last millennium and delivered three straight Premier league titles, an FA Cup and that sought-after European crown.

 

Peter Hanson - Arsenal 2001-2004

History will ultimately show Arsene Wenger as a revolutionary who later failed to evolve. But boy, at their pomp Wenger's Arsenal were a dream to watch.

The pace and guile of Robert Pires, the lung-busting runs of Freddie Ljungberg, the colossus defending of Sol Campbell, the power and never-say-die attitude of Patrick Vieira, the endlessly talented Dennis Bergkamp and, last but not least, the world-class Thierry Henry, arguably the best we have ever seen in England's top flight.

The Gunners were an era-defining machine, grinding down opponents with their slick style and refusal to lay down their arms in any game. City's current vintage are a joy to watch, but for me Arsenal's 'Invincibles' remain the cream of the Premier League crop.

Liam Blackburn - Chelsea 2004-2006

City finished third in Guardiola's first trophyless season but there was no need for an adaptation period with Jose Mourinho, who immediately took English football by storm, leading the Blues to the 2004-05 title and ending a 50-year wait for a top-flight championship.

The foundations had been laid for Guardiola long before he came in but Mourinho had to swiftly find a winning formula with a squad overhauled since Roman Abramovich's takeover 12 months earlier - and the Portuguese built an all-conquering team that lost just one league game in his first season before retaining their title in the next.

Mourinho, who commanded the respect of big characters like Petr Cech, John Terry and Didier Drogba - succeeding where many future Chelsea managers failed, also reached two Champions League semi-finals only to bow out at the hands of Liverpool on each occasion thanks to Luis Garcia's 'ghost goal' and a penalty shoot-out loss.

 

Joe Wright - Manchester United 2006-2009

Mourinho raised the bar with Chelsea between 2004 and 2006. Alex Ferguson went one better, with the finest United team he assembled.

They weren't treble-winners, but they conquered England, Europe and the world. Three league titles 2006-07 to 2008-09, an EFL Cup, a Champions League and a Club World Cup speak volumes about the strength of this squad.

The defence, in front of Edwin van der Sar, was the greatest Ferguson ever had. Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick controlled midfield; Owen Hargreaves did the rest. Ahead of them, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo were dazzlingly ruthless.

Jamie Smith - Manchester City 2017-2019

European success still eludes Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium but, judged solely on domestic performances over the last two years, City are the finest team of the Premier League era.

Their points totals say it all. City obliterated the competition in becoming the first team to reach 100 points last term and they almost matched that haul despite the phenomenal pressure exerted on them by Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, winning 14 games in a row to retain the title.

The domestic treble had never been done by a men's team in England before and while Arsenal's Invincibles were an amazing side, they were not quite the relentless winning machine built by Guardiola.

Borussia Dortmund's failed Bundesliga title bid will be remembered for lost opportunities, occasionally glittering football and the emergence of a world-class talent.

That talent is Jadon Sancho.

And while a league title would have been just reward for an outstanding campaign, the pain of losing out to Bayern Munich – who confirmed their triumph on Saturday by thumping Eintracht Frankfurt 5-1 – is at least tempered by unearthing one of Europe's rising stars.

The teenage winger gambled on his future when he left Manchester City in 2017, but the fruits of first-team football have paid off.

And these staggering Opta statistics present the picture of a player who, at just 19, could be set to take the world by storm.

Blossoming into a Bundesliga record-breaker

As much as his stock has risen this campaign, Sancho was fast-tracked for success upon his arrival at Dortmund for a fee reportedly around £8million in August 2017.

Dortmund immediately inserted the raw, young winger into first-team training, handed over the number seven shirt vacated by Ousmane Dembele, and granted him 12 league appearances.

Sancho's promise was obvious and he finished his debut campaign with one goal to his name. Skip ahead 12 months and that number has soared to 12.

Sancho, now a full England international, became the youngest player in history to boast 12 Bundesliga goals when he netted the opener in a 4-0 thumping of Freiburg on April 21, and he is one of only two players - the other being Monchengladbach's Thorgan Hazard - in double figures for assists (14) and goals (12) in Germany's top flight this season.

Messi, Hazard and rivalling the very best

Hitting double figures in a single season is enough for any teenager to be earmarked for greatness and yet getting on the scoresheet is only part of Sancho's appeal as a multi-faceted attacking force.

His 14 assists are the most by an Englishman in one of Europe's big five leagues since Frank Lampard recorded the same number in the Premier League almost a decade ago.

More impressive still is that only Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard (15) has provided more this season and Sancho, in his 33 appearances top-flight appearances in 2018-19, has remarkably been involved in a goal every 95 minutes.

Consider that Dortmund have scored seven fewer times than Bayern and the scale of the Londoner's importance to his club becomes abundantly clear.

Top of the class

Less than six months on from securing a fourth-place finish at the World Cup, Gareth Southgate drafted Sancho into his England squad as part of a crop of "exciting young players" involving James Maddison and Mason Mount.

One player stands as the figurehead of his generation.

The attacking midfielder has scored five more times than Juventus striker Moise Kean, who stands as the only other player born in the 2000s to have hit more than three across Europe's big five leagues.

Compare him to Lionel Messi, at least in one department. The Barcelona captain is third for dribbles completed on 127, while Sancho's 111 rank him seventh.

Stick or twist?

The evidence illuminating Sancho's status as one of Europe's elite footballers is compelling.

Manchester United, Real Madrid and more might come knocking but Dortmund, having encouraged Sancho's rare talent from the earliest opportunity, will not part easily with a player that could lead them to greater heights in the future.

It may well ultimately prove out of Dortmund's hands if Sancho decides to force a move, but with Reiss Nelson and Ademola Lookman also having enjoyed profitable loan spells, and Callum Hudson-Odoi a high-profile target of Bayern, the Bundesliga is proving an appealing destination for young English players to go and make their mark.

History was made at Wembley as Manchester City became the first English men's team to win a domestic treble, with club legend David Silva once more central to their success as Raheem Sterling ended the season with a hat-trick.

The man City fans call El Mago, the magician, scored the opening goal against Watford in the FA Cup final as Pep Guardiola's men added the trophy to the EFL Cup and the Premier League title they beat Liverpool to last week.

It has been at times a strangely underwhelming campaign for David Silva, who has shown the first signs his influence is on the wane, with namesake Bernardo eclipsing him in the City midfield more often than not.

But as Watford threatened to play party poopers and upset the massive odds against them in the opening stages at Wembley it was the 33-year-old midfielder, often cited as the greatest player to wear City's colours, who stayed calm to provide a decisive moment of cutting edge that settled his side's nerves.

The game had appeared poised to descend into the scrappy affair Watford would no doubt have relished and their commitment and desire in the first 25 minutes had City looking rattled, the emphatic scoreline that equalled the record victory in an FA Cup final not reflecting this.

David Silva, though, has seen it all before. He collected a fourth Premier League winner's medal this season and was instrumental in adding a second FA Cup to go with it, becoming only the second City player - after Yaya Toure - to score in both domestic cup finals for the club. The stirring ovation he received when making his way off as City's final substitution showed how he is cherished by supporters. 

With Heurelho Gomes typically chaotic on his Watford farewell, unless he reverses previously announced retirement plans, it was the other Brazilian goalkeeper on show who starred in the first act at Wembley.

Indeed, Watford should have opened the scoring, Javi Garcia's counter-attacking tactics were played to perfection as semi-final hero Gerard Deulofeu led a rapid break. He slipped the perfect pass in behind Vincent Kompany but Ederson was rapidly off his line to narrow the angle and Roberto Pereyra was unable to squeeze his finish home. Few fluffed chances have ever been punished as clinically.

Ederson started the move that led to City's first goal too, coming out of his penalty area this time to make a smartly judged headed clearance. From there Watford never regained control, Abdoulaye Doucoure hustled off the ball in his own half before David Silva and Raheem Sterling somehow won headers on the edge of the Hornets' box.

David Silva's first goal of 2019, which beat Gomes with the aid of a deflection off Kiko Femenia, could hardly have come at a better time and Bernardo Silva then came up with a moment of pure magic to open the door for City's second.

Given too much space to advance in Watford's half, Bernardo Silva's stunning floated pass caught Gomes in no man's land and allowed Gabriel Jesus - a surprise starter in place of the benched Sergio Aguero - to nudge the ball across the six-yard box for Sterling to slam home.

The result was never in doubt thereafter and City now stand side by side with some of the best teams in Premier League history.

Arsenal's Invincibles went a whole league season without tasting defeat, while the treble won by bitter rivals Manchester United under Alex Ferguson included a Champions League title won in the most extraordinary circumstances against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou. City are undoubtedly in that company.

That Liverpool came so agonisingly close to denying City in the most relentless of title races is testament to the work Jurgen Klopp has undertaken at Anfield.

But City's domestic dominance can surely now not be questioned. 198 points racked up over the course of two sensational seasons is a record-breaking run that only Guardiola's side themselves are likely to match.

If such a phenomenal pace can be replicated next season then, regardless of City's fortunes in the Champions League, it will be almost impossible to argue there has ever been a better team to grace the Premier League.

That Guardiola could send on substitute Kevin De Bruyne, the star of last season and in many ways David Silva's heir at City, early in the second half to score their third and create the fourth for Jesus on the break, before Sterling claimed the match ball, showed their strength in depth.

David Silva's time at the Etihad Stadium appears to be entering its twilight - his contract expires at the end of next season - but with the seemingly endless resources at their disposal, City are perfectly placed to continue to dominate even after his eventual departure.

Manchester City completed an unprecedented domestic treble with a 6-0 win over Watford in Saturday's FA Cup final.

Pep Guardiola's side were pushed all the way by Liverpool as they kept hold of a Premier League title they collected at a 100-point canter last time around.

Penalty shoot-out glory against Chelsea ensured the EFL Cup was retained before a relentless drive for the finish line, as Jurgen Klopp's men seldom gave an inch.

Raheem Sterling scooped the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award, Sergio Aguero again showed an equal thirst for goalscoring in the big moments and Guardiola's lauded coaching abilities lifted players to new heights once more.

From John Stones' heart-in-mouth goal-line clearance against Liverpool to Vincent Kompany's screamer versus Leicester City earlier this month, the heroes and pivotal moments of the treble win have already been poured over.

But which players produced some of the more unsung contributions, without which all the pieces of the treble puzzle would not have fallen into place?


Laporte picks up useful habit at Wolves

In a season unforgiving of any slip-up, City might have been nursing a defeat in just their third Premier League match after Willy Boly – offside and handball claims, be damned – bundled Wolves ahead at a fervent Molineux. Aymeric Laporte has been a tower of elegant defensive strength for Guardiola this term, although his contributions at the other end have also been vital.

He powered in Ilkay Gundogan's free-kick to earn a 1-1 draw and the Frenchman's five goals in all competitions came away from home – a breakthrough at Everton in January every bit as important as when he gave City the lead at Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend.

Zinchenko does not dwell on sinning against Saints

A triumph of his own bloody mindedness and Guardiola's hobby of turning ball-playing midfielders into serviceable full-backs, Oleksandr Zinchenko finished the campaign as City's first-choice on the left-hand side of defence. Back in late December, the 22-year-old had only started two Premier League matches in his makeshift role, not usually inspiring confidence, when his error allowed Southampton to draw level at St Mary's through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

City had entered the match 10 points behind Liverpool after a dismal December run, but Zinchenko responded to the setback to set up Sergio Aguero's game-sealing goal in a 3-1 win that preceded the seismic 2-1 victory over the Reds at the Etihad Stadium.

"Aleks was the best player on the pitch because after the mistake he never hid, he never said he didn't want the ball," Guardiola beamed. 

Two months later, Zinchenko was City's standout performer in the EFL Cup final as he completed eight tackles and made three interceptions – his warming to the defensive nitty-gritty meaning Benjamin Mendy's injury woes never became the issue they might have been.

Lung-bursting Bernardo

Injuries to Kevin De Bruyne meant Bernardo Silva became fundamental, excelling both in central midfield and on the right of attack. "Bernardo and 10 more" became a repeated Guardiola mantra, and the Portugal playmaker impressed just as much through tireless energy levels as with his velvet-footed creativity

Stones, Aguero and Leroy Sane provided the highlight reel moments in the win over Liverpool but three points would probably not have been achieved without Silva covering a scarcely credible 13.7 kilometres. Such lung-bursting efforts were a frequent feature and it is hard to think of a player in world football right now more attuned to Guardiola's demands than his first name on the teamsheet.

Ederson and Bernardo steady Welsh wobbles

It should be noted City's cup draws plotted relative paths of least resistance towards Wembley, although last season's FA Cup fifth-round loss to Wigan Athletic showed pitfalls can linger anywhere, even for English football's finely honed elite.

On an enjoyably wretched playing surface at Newport County, Ederson made a stunning save from Tyreeq Bakinson's back-post header with the game goalless. A 4-1 triumph booked a return to Wales at Swansea City, where one of City's worst displays of the season saw them deservedly 2-0 down at half-time.

Silva rifled in a brilliant finish to reduce the arrears before Aguero benefited from a penalty ricocheting in off Kristoffer Nordfeldt and a generous offside call. On a day when the treble bid lay in tatters, Guardiola's men had misplaced their poise but showed their mettle.

Foden lives out childhood dream

Tottenham were the last team City wanted to see on a balmy April afternoon, just three days on from suffering dramatic Champions League heartache at the hands of Mauricio Pochettino's side and VAR.

Phil Foden was not part of the side scarred by that setback and Guardiola opted to roll the dice and hand the 18-year-old midfielder a second Premier League start. Within five minutes he had repaid the faith by heading the only goal of a contest of attrition where City rode their luck.

Kompany's Leicester rocket two weeks later brought a 1-0 win that will be discussed for years to come, where Foden's greatest deeds for City probably reside. But a possible farewell salvo from a club great would not have been possible without the teenager.

When Paco Alcacer strode forward and beat Manuel Neuer with a delightfully nonchalant dink in November to secure Borussia Dortmund a 3-2 win over troubled Bayern Munich, German football looked reignited.

Dortmund were sitting pretty at the top of the Bundesliga after 11 games with 27 points, seven clear of fifth-placed Bayern, while they were attracting adulation from across Europe for their vibrant football and faith in youth.

It was only their second victory in seven Klassiker contests in all competitions and the improvement was clear to see from their 6-0 dismantling at the Allianz Arena just over seven months prior.

As for Bayern, they were in something of a crisis by their standards. It was the second game in a run of three league outings without a win – a streak they also endured across September and October – and the future of new coach Niko Kovac was already mired in uncertainty.

Bayern's stranglehold on German football appeared to be slipping, but fast-forward six months and they are again lifting the 'salad bowl' after a 5-1 battering of Eintracht Frankfurt with Dortmund having to settle for second. The hope that things were about to change in German football has quickly evaporated.

 

IS KOVAC THE RIGHT MAN?

Bayern's campaign has been dominated by debate over whether Kovac is up to coaching such a massive club, having made the leap from Eintracht, whose expectations were rather more modest.

Even with Bayern crowned champions, Kovac's future is clouded. Media reports constantly link other coaches – such as Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho – with the job. There is every chance they could win a domestic double and still opt for change.

Some players are reported to have been frustrated by Kovac's training methods and tactics, while a bust-up between Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski in April suggested there are still issues to iron out.

Lewandowski also criticised Kovac's tactics after their Champions League elimination at the hands of Liverpool in March. There has been little to suggest the Croatian is in complete control.

 

POWER STRUGGLE

In fairness to Kovac, his position has hardly been helped by those in charge at the club, particularly the eminently vocal CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

After the 5-0 demolition of Dortmund on April 6, Rummenigge seemingly remained indifferent towards the coach with his response to the question of whether Kovac had secured another season at the helm. He said: "There is no job guarantee at Bayern for anyone."

He then brought up the selection policy used by Kovac during their early-season woes, saying the problems were all "self-inflicted" because "the coach was rotating all over the place".

Club president Uli Hoeness was similarly critical of the rotation back in October, telling Kovac he was putting his "neck on the line" with such a policy, though he has largely been more measured than Rummenigge.

Hoeness had suggested Kovac could still be in charge next season even if Bayern did not win the title, though one thing is clear; an apparent power struggle between two strong characters in the hierarchy is unlikely to be helpful for the coach.

 

INEXPERIENCED DORTMUND CANNOT GO THE DISTANCE

Luckily for Bayern and Kovac, Dortmund have not exactly been problem-free themselves. Despite their undoubted brilliance in the first half of the season, they have endured two difficult runs since the turn of the year.

A hamstring injury to Marco Reus in February did not help matters, while their defensive options have been depleted for much of the season and inexperience arguably contributed to several big-game collapses.

Alcacer's form has tailed off somewhat as well. The former Barcelona striker scored 12 Bundesliga goals before January, but he has only managed to add another six in 2019.

In a deeper squad that may not have been an issue, yet there is no natural like-for-like replacement in the squad, with the rest of their forwards generally more comfortable out wide or in supporting roles.

Bayern have also been dogged by injury problems, yet they have been able to ride the storm.

 

BAYERN REIGN SUPREME DESPITE TRANSITION

With a new coach at the helm and experienced players coming to the end of the line at the club, this season was seen as the start of a transition for Bayern, a period that made them vulnerable.

Their tally of 78 points is the second-lowest haul a Bundesliga-winning side has managed in a single campaign since 2009-10, when the division was rather more competitive as only 15 points separated top from sixth.

That proves there was an opportunity for their rivals to capitalise, but still a youthful, exciting Dortmund side has fallen short and RB Leipzig ultimately paid the price for starting the campaign poorly.

With Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben departing and set to be replaced by fresh signings in what will likely be another busy transfer window for Bayern, Dortmund and the rest might sense one more opportunity next season if the Bavarians' sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic gets things wrong.

But on the evidence of this term – and the fact Die Roten have already shelled out approximately €115 million on Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard – the Bundesliga remains a grim procession that Bayern cannot lose even when they are some way below their usual standard.

Bayern Munich have won the Bundesliga for the seventh year in a row, despite Borussia Dortmund pushing them harder than in recent seasons.

Lucien Favre's side have made great progress this term with a thrilling young side including stars such as Jadon Sancho, yet they may rue a missed opportunity in the 2018-19 season.

Dortmund made a flying start and led Bayern by seven points earlier in the campaign, only for the defending champions to come roaring back under Niko Kovac, capitalising on BVB's patchy post-Christmas form and sealing the title with Saturday's 5-1 hammering of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Omnisport looks back at nine key games that ensured the championship shield will be residing in Bavaria once again.


DORTMUND 3-2 BAYERN, 10/11/18

A superb start to the season for Favre's men was improved even further when Bayern were beaten 3-2 in the first Klassiker of the season at Signal Iduna Park. Robert Lewandowski twice gave Bayern the lead against his old side, but Dortmund captain Marco Reus equalised on both occasions. Paco Alcacer then came up with a memorable winner to ensure BVB could dream of the title.

WERDER BREMEN 1-2 BAYERN, 1/12/18

A third participant in the title race was arguably Werder, who played a key part in a number of results that would go on to decide the title. Bayern entered December on a run of three Bundesliga games without a win and pressure was building on Kovac. He needed a win and he got one in Bremen thanks to a Serge Gnabry double either side of Yuya Osako's goal.


DORTMUND 3-3 HOFFENHEIM, 9/2/19

Probably the result that proved the most damaging to Dortmund's previously sky-high belief; surrendering a three-goal lead at home to Hoffenheim was a hugely painful result to take. They were 3-0 up with 15 minutes to go but somehow failed to win the game, with Ishak Belfodil scoring twice in an incredible comeback from the visitors. This setback was the middle result of three consecutive league draws for Dortmund.


AUGSBURG 2-3 BAYERN, 15/2/19

Bayern had found their groove but Augsburg were difficult opponents, having drawn at Allianz Arena earlier in the campaign. A Friday night clash proved a classic in February as Bayern fell behind in the first minute due to Leon Goretzka's own goal. Kingsley Coman equalised twice - either side of a superb strike from Ji Dong-won - and the France forward set up David Alaba for a priceless winner early in the second half.


BAYERN 5-0 DORTMUND, 6/4/19

A run of three straight wins set Dortmund up for a virtual winner-takes-all Klassiker meeting in Munich. However, a first-half Bayern blitz essentially ended BVB's hopes of usurping the defending champions. Lewandowski hit Bayern's second and fifth goals after former BVB defender Mats Hummels had opened the scoring. That two of their old heroes contributed heavily to the humiliation would have especially hurt Dortmund supporters.


BAYERN 1-0 WERDER BREMEN, 20/4/19

By this stage of the season, any slip-up from Bayern could have opened the door for Dortmund to take full advantage. However, they claimed another narrow win over Werder at the Allianz Arena, albeit there was a huge slice of luck involved. Niklas Sule's strike broke the deadlock in the 75th minute, his effort taking a substantial deflection to beat Jiri Pavlenka, with Milos Veljkovic having been dismissed for the visitors.


DORTMUND 2-4 SCHALKE, 27/4/19

Successive wins after the Klassiker ensured Dortmund were still on Bayern's tail, but they imploded in stunning fashion at the hands of rivals Schalke in the Revierderby. Dortmund led through Mario Gotze but the game turned when Daniel Caligiuri converted an 18th-minute penalty harshly awarded after a VAR check on Julian Weigl's handball.

Salif Sane converted Caligiuri's right-wing corner to put Schalke ahead and Dortmund were in disarray after Reus saw red for hacking down Suat Serdar - Caligiuri scoring the resulting free-kick. Marius Wolf was also sent off for a bad foul on Serdar and while Axel Witsel reduced the deficit for the nine men, Breel Embolo settled matters.


WERDER BREMEN 2-2 DORTMUND, 4/5/19

Yes, Werder again. Dortmund could not afford any more mistakes and after Christian Pulisic and Alcacer struck in the first half, they seemed set to bounce back from their derby defeat. It was not to be, though, as Dortmund gave up yet another lead. Roman Burki's awful error allowed Kevin Mohwald to grab one back and it was veteran forward Claudio Pizarro who effectively handed old club Bayern the title with his leveller. He later revealed to Omnisport that he received many messages of thanks from Bayern players and fans.


BAYERN 5-1 EINTRACHT FRANKFURT, 18/5/2019

Die Roten went into the final game of the season just needing to match Dortmund's result, and they accomplished that emphatically. Although a fortuitous Sebastien Haller equaliser just after half-time made things interesting, Bayern blew their visitors away. Alaba and Renato Sanches put them in control, before Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben - playing their final league games for the club - fittingly wrapped up a big win and made absolutely sure of a seventh successive title.

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