With the international break over, attention swiftly turns back to club football as we are three months into the 2021-22 season in Europe. Despite only being about a third of the way through the campaign in the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Champions League there have still been plenty of exciting and memorable moments.
We’ve already witnessed some incredible goals, shock results, thrilling comebacks and managerial changes during this first portion of the season.
Thankfully, all these moments have been captured by pitchside photographers across the continent, meaning we are able to bring you a whole gallery of the very best images taken across all of Europe’s top leagues and the Champions League so far.
Eriksen’s emotional return (Aug. 4)
There were touching scenes in early August as Christian Eriksen returned to the Inter Milan training ground for the first time since collapsing at Euro 2020.
Messi’s tearful adios to Barca (Aug. 8)
Messi’s bonkers bienvenue in Paris (Aug. 11)
Brentford back in the big time (Aug. 13)
Brentford kicked off their first top-flight season since 1947 with a fantastic 2-0 win over Arsenal on the opening day of the season. The unexpected result was enough to induce tears of joy amongst the home supporters at the Community Stadium.
PSG’s five-star salute (Aug. 14)
Having spent big to refurbish their team over the summer, PSG proudly unveiled their ensemble of new signings to an excited crowd at the Parc des Princes. The group included Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum and former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos — who hasn’t played a single game for his new club yet due to injury.
Putting the boot in (Aug. 22)
After being floored by a challenge from Inigo Martinez, Barca forward Antoine Griezmann takes action to forcibly stop the Athletic Bilbao defender in his tracks. By the end of the month, Griezmann had been loaned to former club Atletico Madrid as Barca’s financial woes deepened.
Bayern pay tribute to a legend (Aug. 22)
German football fell silent in late August as tributes were offered to Gerd Muller, the legendary Bayern Munich striker who sadly passed away earlier that month. Bayern themselves hung a large wreath of red roses at the Allianz Arena which stood in the shape of the No. 9 — the shirt number worn by Muller during his long and distinguished association with the club.
Protecting Payet (Aug. 22)
All rivalries were put aside as Nice and Marseille players joined forces to prevent a pitch invader from lashing out at Dimitri Payet amid a particularly hostile flashpoint during the meeting between the two sides.
Howling Haaland (Aug. 27)
Picking up where he left off last season, Erling Haaland has been scoring for fun once again, rattling away 13 goals in his first 10 appearances for Borussia Dortmund. You’d think he’d have had chance to work on tightening up his celebrations by now.
Jumping for joy (Aug. 29)
Cadiz midfielder Alex Fernandez goes big with his fist-pumping celebration after scoring against Osasuna.
The boys are back in town (Sep.11)
Cristiano Ronaldo sealed an emotional return to Manchester United at the tail end of August and duly lived up to the fanfare on his second debut, scoring twice in a 4-1 rout of Newcastle and hitting his celebration in front of the Stretford End.
Meanwhile, after seven years away, Romelu Lukaku also returned to one of his former homes over the summer, rejoining Chelsea in a club record transfer. The Belgium striker reintroduced himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful in style by scoring twice in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa.
High Jude (Sep. 11)
Despairing dive (Sep. 11)
Jack the lad (Sep. 15)
Fists of fun (Sep. 18)
Robert Lewandowski has his super-smooth goal celebration down to a fine art these days. Here, there is the added bonus of him wearing Bayern’s natty Oktoberfest kit.
No hiding place (Sep. 18)
Bochum defenders Vasilios Lampropoulos and Armel Bella Kotchap pull their shirts over their faces after conceding an own goal against Bayern Munich.
‘Abandon hope, all ye who enter here’ (Sep. 22)
Looking like a scene from a biblical oil painting, Marseille supporters put their pyro to intimidating use while “welcoming” Rennes to the Stade Velodrome.
Benzema joins the 200 club (Sep. 26)
Karim Benzema has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting for Real Madrid so far this season, with the in-form striker also sealing entry to an illustrious club in the process. The France international scored his 200th LaLiga goal in late September while notching a brace in a victory over Mallorca at the Bernabeu, thus becoming one of only 10 players to reach their double century in the Spanish top flight.
Spain’s surprise package (Sep. 26)
Having finished last season with a 24-point gap between themselves and champions Atletico Madrid, Real Sociedad have surprised everybody by leading the way in LaLiga this time round. They resume the club season top of the table with 13 games played, one point above Real Madrid.
Like diamonds in the sky (Sep. 26)
Freiburg fans used their mobile phones to create a twinkling, celestial atmosphere in the terraces while celebrating a 3-0 win over Augsburg with the players down on the pitch.
Big bird (Sep. 26)
Messi opens his account (Sep. 28)
It took him a while, but Lionel Messi finally opened his goal-scoring account for Paris Saint-Germain at the fourth attempt. The historic goal — Messi’s first for any club other than Barcelona — came against Manchester City in the group stage of the Champions League.
Behind the wall (Sep. 28)
Despite being one of the greatest footballers of all time, Messi was still pressganged into doing the grunt work on his Champions League debut for PSG as the French side held on against City. Indeed, the sight of the Argentine reduced to sprawling on the ground behind the wall in an effort to defend against a late freekick was too much for some people to take.
A new Sheriff in town (Sep. 28)
The final whistle sparked chaotic scenes at the Bernabeu as Moldovan minnows Sheriff pulled off one of the greatest shocks in Champions League history by beating the 13-time champions 2-1 in their own back yard.
Barca broken (Sep. 29)
The very next night, Messi’s former teammates were left to trudge off the pitch after beginning their Champions League group campaign with two consecutive 3-0 defeats; the first against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou and the second against Benfica in Lisbon.
Suarez silent (Oct. 2)
The veteran Uruguayan striker certainly returned to haunt his former club when he scored in a 2-0 win for Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in early October.
Frantic 45 minutes (Oct. 3)
One of the most intense halves of football of the season so far saw Liverpool and Manchester City thrash out a manic 2-2 draw the start of October. After a goalless first half at Anfield, it looked like the Reds were going to hold out for a victory only for Kevin De Bruyne to power home a late equaliser (past Raheem Sterling) for the visitors.
Ibra still acrobatic (Oct. 16)
Proving that age is but a number if your hamstrings are made of rubber, Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempted one of his trademark spectacular overhead kicks against Verona in the days after celebrating his 40th birthday.
Head over heels (Oct. 23)
Despite the midseason takeover of the club, Newcastle United are still languishing down in the relegation zone without a single win to their name. Highlights have been few and far between for the Magpies, but Callum Wilson‘s acrobatic overhead goal against Crystal Palace at least gave their fans something to cheer.
Derby dance (Oct. 24)
West Ham United have hit a fine vein of form this season and are currently riding high in the top four. They also emerged victorious in the London derby against Tottenham when a single goal from the effervescent Michail Antonio earned a precious win for David Moyes’ side.
Manchester United 0-5 Liverpool (Oct. 24)
Liverpool inflicted a devastating humiliation on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United at Old Trafford as an inspired individual performance from Mohamed Salah saw the Egyptian forward help himself to a hat-trick in a 5-0 drubbing.
Koeman heads for the exit (Oct. 27)
A dismal 1-0 defeat against Rayo Vallecano was enough to signal the end of Ronald Koeman’s underwhelming 14-month tenure as Barcelona boss.
Taking flight (Oct. 30)
One of the breakout stars of the season so far, Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has already become a firm fan favourite. Having already impressed with his composure and distribution, the 23-year-old cemented his first-choice credentials last month with a truly astonishing save to keep out James Maddison‘s curling free kick in a 2-0 win at Leicester.
Palace trip up City (Oct. 30)
With Patrick Vieira at the helm, Crystal Palace have also been outstripping expectation of late, exemplified by their recent shock 2-0 win over Manchester City at the Etihad. Conor Gallagher has emerged as an important talent for the Eagles, with the Chelsea loanee notching against City (and getting stuck in when necessary) before playing his way to an England call-up.
Ronaldo to the rescue again (Nov. 2)
In what is quickly becoming a theme for United this season, Ronaldo once again bailed his side out with a moment of individual brilliance to score a late winner against Atalanta and thus complete a dramatic 3-2 comeback.
Conte comes back (Nov. 7)
Nuno Espirito Santos became the third managerial casualty of the Premier League season when his four-month tenure at Tottenham Hotspur came to an end in early November. Antonio Conte stepped into the breach and duly brought his distinctive brand of animated posturing back to the touchline during his first league game in charge (a 0-0 draw against Everton).
Napoli keep Maradona spirit alive (Nov. 7)
Napoli are top of the Serie A table having traded places with AC Milan several times already this season. The Partenopei will no doubt be hoping to deliver the Scudetto in honour of the great Diego Maradona. The first anniversary of the Napoli great’s death was marked with a special jersey in tribute to him worn by the team.
Welcome home (Nov. 8)
With Koeman already a distant memory at Barcelona, a returning hero was summoned back from afar to take the departed Dutchman’s place. After six years out in Qatar with Al Sadd, club legend Xavi Hernandez answered the call to become the Catalan side’s latest head coach.