Football is merely just about goal tallies, showboating, dribbling, spills, thrills and revenue figures but also inspiration and style! It’s a way of life and the most watched sport in the universe offers useful lessons on the importance of teamwork, preparation, passion, attitude, definitions of success, dealing with failure and having a sense of humor.
Former Liverpool manager Billy Shankly famously noted that “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” And on that note here is our compilation of the 10 most unforgettable moments in football.
10. Cristiano Ronaldo Euro Exit
The Portuguese talisman was forced off injured after just 25 minutes of the Euro 2016 final against France after a collision with France’s Dimitri Payet. Initially Ronaldo tried to play on with the discomfort before eventually sinking into the ground in tears. At the time, Ronaldo’s departure seemingly spelled doom for a Portuguese side that solely depended on their main man throughout the tournament for inspiration but went on to win the country’s first ever Title with Ronaldo urging his teammates on from the touchline. His tears of despair turned to tears of joy.
9. Lionel Messi’s Retirement
The Argentine wonder shocked the world when he announced his retirement from international football after Argentina’s defeat to Chile in the final of Copa America Centenario in 2016. Messi, 30, is widely regarded as the world’s greatest ever talent was quoted saying ““The team has ended for me, a decision made,” after suffering a third final defeat in a row, a decision that even got Argentina’s President off his seat prompting him to call on the forward to reconsider. The Argentine later called off his retirement.
8. Diego Maradona vs England
In 1986, there was little debate on who was the world’s greatest talent, technically the most perfect jigsaw in the history of the game, the player of the 20th century according to an internet poll run by FIFA in 2000. While he was the main orchestrator in Argentina in the world cup then, the most defining moment of Maradona’s career came against England in the quarter-final. Four years earlier, the two countries had been at war where thousands lost their lives, a fixture of immense controversy and Maradona’s first goal was nothing short of that as he scored with his hand to give his side the lead, a goal that he later coined the ‘Hand of God’. His second, a masterpiece, the best goal ever scored in the competition, Maradona picked the ball from midfield, dribbled past the entire English team including the goalkeeper and scored. The moment that made him immortal in the eyes of the world.
7. Manchester United 8 vs Arsenal 2
Arguably the greatest rivalry of the 21st century in English football, this fixture become the highlight of seasons and on 28th August Manchester United responded to their noisy neighbors’ 5-1 victory over Spurs by humiliating Arsenal with a brutal victory at Old Trafford, Arsenal’s heaviest defeat since 1986.
6. Zinedine Zidane’s last Match
The playmaker extraordinaire featured in his very last competitive game in the famous Los Blancos shirt on May 7, 2006 against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu and was treated to a touching reception before, during and after the game just prior to the infamous send off after a replay showed Zidane appearing to headbutt Italian defender and the then goal scorer Marco Materazzi. However, on his last game for Real Madrid, thousands turned up and when the final whistle went off, the whole stadium including rival fans paid homage to the undisputed number 5.
5. Francesco Totti last Match
Striding out on to the Stadio Olimpico pitch for a farewell address at the end of his last-ever match for Roma, a club he played for his entire career, he shushed the home crowd that was already in tears and teased them that staying quiet “ought to be easy for you”. The already emotional crowd sobbed as the Roma legend played his last ever game for his boyhood club.
4. Abdelhak Nouri Collapse
The Dutch midfielder suffered serious and permanent brain damage after collapsing during a friendly against Bundesliga side Werder Bremen with 20 minutes left to spare. Nouri who required emergency treatment from paramedics on the field was eventually airlifted to hospital before doctors announced that the 20-year-old will never play again. Thousands of fans gathered outside Nouri’s parents’ home to stand in solidarity with the family during these trying times.
3. Colombia Chapecoense Plane crash
The small team from Chapeco which had just been promoted to Brazil’s first division of Serie A brought not only the football fans but the world as a whole when a plane they were traveling in crashed as it approached Medellin en route the Copa Sudamericana Final, killing 71 people in the process.
2. Francis Kone saving Martin Berkovec
The Togo international saved Martin Berkovec, an opposing player’s life in the Czech Republic, the fourth time he has done so in his eight-year career. Koné, took to the ground on his knees when instinct took over, planted one foot across Berkovec’s chest keeping his left arm tightly in forcing his fingers into his [Berkovec] mouth stopping him from biting off his own tongue.
1.Neymar’s Transfer to PSG
The Brazilian wonder ditched Lionel Messi and Barcelona for Paris Saint Germain when the French club smashed the world transfer record splashing out £198million[£132million more than what India used to explore space] for his services, a transfer that would cost the club up to £420 million (including wages).