The concluding year 2017 has witnessed the very best of football. From the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry extending as both players tie on the individual records, to six managers being sacked in the English Premier League in just a few months and Patrice Evra's Kung Fu kick on a fan to have his contract terminated, the world of football saw it all.
Here are the top 10 moments in international football that defined 2017 as a whole. Compiling the best moments of the year may not fit in as there may be a few that may have been left out, but by popular demand, we present to you a few eye capturing moments that defined football.
Top 2017 World football moments
1. Moving out of the shadows: Neymar’s world record transfer to PSG from FC Barcelona
The new season of the Spanish Leagues saw one of the budding and most talented footballers decide to make a shocking move to the cash-rich French giants, Paris Saint Germain. Neymar, 25, had decided to move out from the Camp Nou and head towards Ligue 1 while breaking the world record transfer in the summer window. PSG had opened his release clause and paid a hefty sum of 222 Million Euros, which left the fans and footballers flabbergasted as sources report that the Brazilian wanted to move out of Lionel Messi’s shadow. Neymar has done quite well in the Parc de Princes along with five of his countrymen present but a few arguments with Edison Cavani over the penalty decisions cost the team at times. But PSG has been on a rampage so far as they lead the table in the French League and will aim to make history by knocking out the two-time defending champions Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
2. Messi’s record all tied up - Cristiano Ronaldo wins his fifth Ballon d’Or
The 2016/2017 season has seen the Los Blancos win it all. The Champions League, The Spanish League, the Spanish Cup and recently the Club World Cup. But it has been the Portuguese forward who has bagged all the individual silverware, Making Messi second best in every department except the golden boot which has tied the CR7 brand with of 4. Ronaldo lifted his fifth Ballon d’ Or at Paris this year to tie Messi’s tally and aims to add a few more. Ronaldo has won it all with club and country and doesn’t look anywhere near to adding a pause to his pacey lifestyle.
3. ‘Hurricane storm rules Europe’- Harry Kane top goal-scorer of 2017
Tottenham Hotspur did the unthinkable when they defeated Real Madrid at Wembley in the UCL group matches 3-1. That’s a piece of history to remember at the legendary stadium in London. But the ‘ Hurricane’ a.k.a. Harry Kane has been on a goal-scoring spree, smashing 56 goals in 2017, overtaking Messi’s tally who was leading at 55. The race for the Europe Golden shoe has intensified even more after as we may get to see a change in the history, with somebody’s else name on the awards besides Messi and Ronaldo. The Englishman has been targeted by Real Madrid and may make a move soon after Spur’s chances of lifting any trophy this year has become dim.
4. Greatest comeback in football history- Barcelona defeat PSG 6-1
This clash in the UEFA Champions League saw one of the greatest comebacks ever. Here’s how it goes. The round of 16 saw PSG hosts FC Barcelona in the first leg of the match where they thrashed and routed FC Barcelona 4-0 with Angel di Maria, Edison Cavani and Julian Draxler scoring to add mounting pressure on the Catalan giants. It seemed that the job was done as no team had recovered from a 4-0 loss in the first leg. The Spanish giants, hosting the second leg in their ground, saw Suarez and an own goal in the early minutes of the game. Messi’s penalty in the second-half saw a comeback in the making but Cavani’s belter saw hoped all but lost. But it was in the 88th minute when Neymar (who was in FC Barcelona last season) scored two goals to equal the scoreline. Five minutes of added time and in the last seconds of the game, Sergio Roberto score the winner. What a comeback! No one had ever expected that to happen, but that moment saw millions of Catalans celebrating and nearly caused a small tremor in Spain as the people celebrated with glee.
5. Bristol City knock out Manchester United from Carabao Cup
Here’s something that doesn’t occur on a daily basis but the headline is as accurate as it seems. Manchester United, who were the Carabao Cup defenders, lost 2-1 to Bristol City, a third division club in England. Yes, let that sink in. With Zlatan, Lukaku, Pogba in the starting line-up, the Red Devils suffered one of their worst upsets ever. ‘Parking the bus’ didn’t exactly help Jose Mourinho as things didn’t work out after that. But this has to be one of the biggest upsets in English football.
6. Messi scores 526 goals for single cup in history
When people talk about ‘loyalty’, the fans would normally look up to legends such as Philip Lahm and Francesco Totti, but here’s a man who is still going strong with one club and has broken another record for scoring the most goals with one club in Europe. Lionel Messi’s 526 goals for FC Barcelona has seen him overtake former Bayern Munich legend Dost’s tally of 525 goals. The Argentine has been on fire since the start of the season and has simply been unstoppable. With 15 goals in 15 matches in the La Liga 2017, the five-time Ballon d’ Or winner has been simply a classic ‘Messi’, which many fans haven’t seen in a long while.
7. Manchester City breaks Premier League record of longest wins
Setting the most wins in Spain and Germany, Pep Guardiola did the unthinkable with Manchester City. He has finally broken the Premier League record of the most wins, which was set by Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger in 2004 when they had an unbeaten streak of 14 wins. But the Spanish coach, Guardiola has made Manchester City into his ‘mini FC Barcelona’; A star-studded line-up boasts of spending over 500 Million Euros in the transfer window, which worked out quite well. An entirely new defence, the midfield play has improved and with two snipers upfront of goal, City has simply been unstoppable and will look to clinch the Premier League this season as they are 13 points ahead of the second-placed Manchester United.
8. Italy, Netherlands, Wales, Chile out of the World Cup
The World Cup is the grandest stage of all to win the coveted and all-exalted cup. But one of the biggest upsets in its history was when Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup. In the qualifiers, as they lost to Sweden over two legs that saw the latter reach the 32 team list. The Italians last failed to qualify in 1958. It’s been 64 years with Italy qualifying for the World Cup and this time one of the biggest heartbreaks saw the former champions out of the road to Russia. The Netherlands also failed to make it to the FIFA World Cup this time as they were knocked out of the Euro 2016 as well. The Dutchmen have been inconsistent in recent times and due to their lacklustre performances, the Oranges were pushed out of the Cup. The Copa America winners Chile were favourites to reach the top 16 as they defeated Argentina twice in the Copa finals but with them failing to qualify for the World Cup, one of their toughest competitors were knocked out of the Cup.
9. Patrice Evra does a Cantona- Kicks fan and gets contract terminated
Manchester United players have a knack for losing their temper on the field and here’s an incident, which has followed suit from the King Cantona when he Kung Fu kicked a fan during a match. Former United player Patrice Evra had gone all berserk before the match could start as he had a scuffle with some of the fans during his tenure with Marseille in Ligue 1. The Frenchman had received some hateful comments before a league match and Kung fu kick is what was brought out by Evra on a fan. The French club suspended the right-back and had his contract terminated for the ongoing season.
10. Sackings galore- Six Premier League managers given the boot this season
The Premier League has always been an unsafe place especially for managers, who fail to perform in the League. Besides Arsenal, bosses of every club in the Premier League are unsafe unless the results are positive. The management of the teams doesn’t hesitate to depart ways with the managers. Here’s a list of managers who were shown the door by their respective clubs in the 2017/2018 season.
Swansea City – Paul Clement- replaced by Leon Britton
West Brom- Tony Pulis- replaced by Alan Pardew
Everton- Ronald Koeman – replaced by Sam Allardice
Crystal Palace- Frank de Buer- replaced by Roy Hodgson
West Ham- Slaven Bilic- replaced by David Moyes
Leicester City- Craig Shakespeare- replaced by Claude Puel