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On this day in sport: Ayrton Senna dies, Messi's 600th Barcelona goal

  • Ayrton Senna is a Formula One all-time great and the Brazilian died 26 years ago. May 1 also marks 12 months since a Lionel Messi milestone.
Omnisport
NEWS
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Modified 01 May 2020, 11:30 IST
Ayrton Senna - cropped
Ayrton Senna, pictured two weeks before his death, in April 1994

The death of Ayrton Senna on this day 26 years ago was a chilling moment in sporting history.

Already a motorsport great by the time of the crash that ended his life, Senna is remembered as one of the most accomplished and toughest drivers to have ever got behind the wheel.

Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard landed a punch for the ages to become middleweight world champion on May 1, way back in 1957.

And only last year, Lionel Messi struck a wonder-goal against Liverpool that at the time looked to have sunk Jurgen Klopp's side's hopes of reaching the Champions League final.

It was his 600th goal for Barcelona, but there was a twist left in the tie.

1994 - Ayrton Senna dies after Imola crash

The weekend of the San Marino Grand Prix had already been one of the most devastating in Formula One history, with Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger dying after crashing into a wall during Saturday's qualifying session.

Tragically, there was another death to come, and the world was stunned when three-time world champion Senna lost his life in Sunday's race.

Senna was just 34 years old. His Williams car was travelling at 192mph when it ran off course on the seventh lap and collided with a concrete barrier.

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The Brazilian was airlifted to hospital but could not be saved and his death was announced that evening.

His funeral took place four days later in Sao Paulo, Senna's home city, with a reported three million people taking to the streets to mourn.

1957 - Sugar Ray Robinson throws the perfect punch

Many rate Robinson as the greatest fighter there has ever been, and aside from a 1943 defeat to Jake LaMotta, he lost to nobody in his first 131 completed professional bouts.

After losing two of his next five fights, Robinson retired in 1952 and pursued a show business career, but he was drawn back to boxing and became a middleweight world champion for the third time in December 1955.

Robinson was increasingly vulnerable later in his career, but he landed a fourth middleweight crown in Chicago on May 1, 1957, avenging a defeat to Gene Fullmer four months earlier.

Fullmer only lost one fight by knockout through his own storied career, and it was this one, Robinson landing a stunning left hook to the jaw in the fifth round that sent his opponent sprawling.

It has been widely described since as a 'perfect punch', and Fullmer had no comeback.

Robinson lost and later regained the middleweight title, retiring at the age of 44 in November 1965.

2019 - Messi puts Barca on the brink with 600th goal

Messi's 600th goal for Barcelona should have left no doubt about the Blaugrana's place in last year's Champions League final; after all, it put them 3-0 up against Liverpool in the first leg.

His raking free-kick flew into the top-left corner, with a small deflection on the way, to bring up another century of goals from Messi for the Camp Nou giants.

It was Messi's second goal of the game, as Barcelona left Liverpool, who played well but went unrewarded, with a mountain to climb at Anfield in the second leg.

Famously, of course, Liverpool turned the tie around with a 4-0 home triumph, leaving Barcelona, and the mercurial Messi, to wonder how they managed to squander such a position.

Published 01 May 2020, 11:30 IST
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