2016 is finally over and we can now look back at the year and highlight the best moments of the beautiful game throughout, and there are plenty. A lot happened in 2016. The transfer market exploded in the summer, managers were sacked and appointed, there were 2 international tournaments and records were even broken. So let’s get straight into it
5. Manchester United sign Paul Pogba from Juventus for £89m
The reason why the most expensive player is on this list is for many reasons. The main reason for me is what it shows or the Premier League. This is the first time in a long time since a team in the Premier League has been able to attract one of the world’s most wanted talents, a player wanted by clubs like Real Madrid. For years now the league has been unable to compete with teams from other leagues like Barcelona and Real Madrid. Manchester United signing Paul Pogba makes the EPL way more competitive in the world of European powerhouses. The importance of this will definitely be seen when Manchester United are actually in the Champions League, to see if they are as powerful as they seem. This is actually the first time since Newcastle signed Alan Shearer that an English team has broken the transfer record, showing Real Madrid aren’t the only power in the world of football. I think Pogba has been quality since arriving but others aren’t convinced yet. We’ll just have to see if he lives up to other transfer record breakers like Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
4. Alex Teixeira moving to China
Even though he wasn’t the first player to accept those huge wages to move to China. He was the one that got everyone to notice the money China had. The first 2 being Ramirez and Paulinho, but both of those were not needed at their respected clubs. But Teixeira was a player in demand. A player wanted by big clubs like Liverpool, who put a big offer for them. But he refused in favour for the huge wages China were offering. He was a player in the prime of his career, who could of had a huge impact at a club like Liverpool and to show the talent he clearly has.But chose money over the game. As mentioned before I don’t have an issue with players near the end of their career moving to China, because you want an easy time while getting a huge check. But when players who still have years left in their career and could be an amazing player is just disgraceful to the beautiful game and brings out the money grabbing side of it. You player football because you want to reach the highest level and to show everyone the talent you have, not for money. Since Teixeira moved we’ve seen Oscar move for £60m and Axel Witsel move to China instead of the Old Lady Juventus. Teixeira was the first player in their prime to move and he can be seen as the beginning of the Chinese clubs spending ridiculous amounts of money to attract players.
3. Ronaldo winning the Ballon d’or
What a year Cristiano had in 2016! Even though I think he isn’t as good as he used to be, I still think he’s an exceptional player and easily one of the world’s best. As a player he’s evolved brilliantly from a flair winger into a goal poacher. Ronaldo has definitely had note worthy moments in 2016. The main one being the Champions League win. Not many people thought they would actually do it because of their new inexperienced manager in Zinedine Zidane. But they did with Zidane getting every game right expect the one they lost. And that’s where Ronaldo comes in. Ronaldo dragged Madrid from a 2-0 loss against Wolfsburg in the first leg to win 3-2 over both legs, with Ronaldo getting a hatrick in the second leg. When the final against local rivals Athletico Madrid went to penalties, it had to be Ronaldo to score that winning penalty. Even though he didn’t play a huge part in the semi finals and the final, he was the one to drag them out of that mess in the quarter finals. Then came the Euro 2016 tournament. Even though to me Portugal didn’t deserve to win based on the fact they came third in their group, Ronaldo did captain them and scored vital goals to help Portugal out. Even though he was unfortunately injured in the final, he was still there to motivate his team to push for that vital goal. His speech after they won the match was brilliant and a real leader’s words. Then came him winning the Ballon d’or. He was the only one I could seeing winning the esteemed award, mainly because of how many goals he scored and what he achieved with Madrid and Portugal. No matter what anyone says he did deserve to win it. That was the year he deserved to win it more than any other year based on how hard he worked. And he worked harder than he’s ever worked in 2016, and you have to credit that.
2. Leicester winning the Premier League
It’s time to talk about the biggest underdog story in football and maybe even in sport. This is something I could go on about for a while but I’ll try and keep it short as possible. Leicester was a team full of players no one wanted like Kante and Mahrez, players who worked their way up from lower leagues like King and Vardy or missfits from bigger clubs like Albrighton and Drinkwater, and a manager everyone thought was going to get them relegated. They shouldn’t of beennnear that top four or even top of the league. Having a 5000/1 chance of winning the league, the same odds of Elvis Presley being alive! But somehow they did it. They defied the odds and won and by quite a gap may I add. Not only did they scrape a few wins they destroyed some teams. Teams like Cheslea and City were completely outclassed by Leicester. This achievement proved a point to the top teams, that they have to step up and not let it happen again. If Leicester win the champions league or even get the final, I think everyone around Europe will be a Leicester fan.
And now some Honourable Mentions for things that were memorable but not as memorable:
failing to win the Copa America after missing his penalty
- Messi retiring and then coming out of retirement
- Luis Suarez in general
- RB Leipzig in general
- Neymar getting the gold
- England getting knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland
- Wales getting to the Semi Finals of Euro 2016
- Tottenham bottling it
- Big Sam sacked after one game in charge
Damn that was a lot of honourable mentions. But anyway how to number 1, which should be pretty obvious by now.
1. The football world reacting to the plane crash of Chapecoense
When discussing players moving to China, I said it was a disgrace to the beautiful game, but the way the footballing world reacted and remembered the 70+ victims of the Chapecoense plane crash was beautiful to see. What makes the tragedy even worse was the story of the team. Chapecoense, like Leicester, were underdogs in the competition and got to the final. The team were the happiest they could ever be, and their lives were unfortunately taken away from them. No one deserves an ending like that to their story. The reason this is number one is because the many ways the football world showed they respects and support around the world. All teams in Europe had a minute silence the weekend after the tragedy, other teams in Brazil offered to give players to Chapecoense so they could continue to play, Barcelona are going to have a friendly with the team during the summer of 2017 and during the El Classico all the players from the two giant teams joined together for their minute silence. The entire football world united to show support for the Brazilian club. They were even given the trophy from the team they were going to face in the final. It was just beautiful to see the football world unite over a tragedy related to the game we all love to watch and play. I was judging these moments based on how they’ll be remembered in years to come, and nothing will be remembered more than everyone showing support to the team and the players families during a very unfortunate time for both of them, and is was a joy to see us all join together to show support.