It’s been an action-filled 2016 for all football aficionados all across the globe with some memorable performances for fans to remember. We’ve witnessed some spectacular football all year round so here are the top 10 footballing moments of the year:
1) Leicester City lifting the Premier League trophy
The so called ‘minnows’ trumped the big boys of England and took the world by storm. In a fairytale, the club scripted one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. The Foxes started the season as 5000-1 outsiders for the title but how many of us now wish we’d put a quid on them? No one saw it coming and this story is bound to be etched in the memories of numerous football fans. They had to dig deep and take every game as a final. They pulled it off by grinding out some tough 1-0 wins and hanging in there till the 2015-16 season ended.
2) Real Madrid’s Champions League win
Los Blancos turned over a new leaf with Zidane as their manager after the sacking of Rafael Benitez. They warded off arch-rivals Atletico Madrid in the final at the San Siro in Milan in a repeat of the 2014 Champions League final. Sergio Ramos’ first half goal was canceled out by Yannick Carrasco’s second-half strike. The teams battled valiantly but none of them could find that winning goal even after 120 minutes of football. In the penalty shootout, Juanfran hit the post and Cristiano Ronaldo famously scored the winning penalty to settle the tie 5-4 on penalties. Real Madrid now has a record 11 champions league titles to its name, followed by Milan who
3) Manchester United’s Paul Pogba signing
The transfer record was broken this year as the Red Devils got their former midfielder back from Italian champions Juventus for a whopping fee of 89m pounds. The
4) Portugal winning the Euros
Portugal won the Euros with a rather interesting run in the hard-fought tournament. They won only one game in regulation time (semi-finals) in the entire tournament and drew all their group games. They beat hosts France 1-0 in the final through a goal by Eder in extra time. Ronaldo got his hands on his first international trophy despite limping off in the initial stages of the final against France. The tournament also saw Portugal unveiling a gem in the form of Golden Boy Renato Sanchez. Not many expected Portugal to emerge
5) Argentina choking again
Argentina choked in yet another final as they lost to Chile in the Copa America final on penalties. Just two years ago in 2014, the South American nation lost to Germany in the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The much-talked about consequences of Argentina’s defeat in the Copa final were Messi shedding tears and announcing retirement from international football, although he revoked his decision later in the year. Messi had a good run in the tournament and scored some brilliant goals en route the finals but couldn’t inspire his side to a win in the finals where he missed a penalty in the shootout.
6) The rise of Jamie Vardy
Football hasn’t seen
7) Iceland’s Euro 2016 fairytale run
A nation with a population of just 3,30,000 rocked the football world with an inspiring run in Euros. They survived a group containing Portugal, Hungary and Austria by finishing second to Hungary, only on goal difference. They then sprung the surprise of the tournament by defeating England 2-1 in the Round of 16. Their heroic run was cut short by tournament runners-up and hosts France. However, they did manage to score two against the French side. The Icelanders displayed indomitable spirit and the fans added even more colour to the tournament with their famous ‘Viking Clap’.
8) Liverpool’s remarkable comeback against Borussia Dortmund
After drawing 1-1 away, Klopp faced his former team at the Anfield with the task of knocking them out. His team did so, in some style. They seemed down and out when they were reeling at 3-1 after 57 minutes. However, they turned the game around and scored thrice through Coutinho, Sakho and Lovren to seal a famous win for the Reds. It reminded many of their epic Istanbul comeback against AC Milan. Unfortunately, Liverpool could not cap off their brilliant run in the tournament with silverware as they lost to Sevilla 3-1 in the final.
9) Chapecoense plane crash
In an unfortunate incident that many would want to forget, the Brazilian club lost most of its squad in a plane crash while traveling to Columbia for the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final. It was a heartbreaking story that shook the football world. Chapecoense full back, Alan Ruschel, was one of only 6 survivors and recently returned to the football pitch for the first time in a charity match.
10) Brazil winning the Olympic Gold
Neymar-inspired Brazil won the Gold in the Rio Olympics ending the nation’s wait for their first Olympic Gold in football. The hosts also buried some ghosts of their infamous 7-1 vanquishing at the hands of Germany two years ago as they overcame them in the finals on penalties. Neymar stepped up to take the final penalty in the shootout, and he showed composure to find the net and send the fans at Maracana into a delirium. The host nation stuttered in the group stages managing just one win out of a possible three but found their feet in the knock out stages to eventually emerge victorious.