The year 2017 has been an eventful one not only for the rest of the world, but significantly for the footballing world as well. From sad retirements of legendary players, to incredible goals and turnarounds out of nowhere, the term has seen it all.
And thus, we have stitched together a set of some of the most iconic and unforgettable moments from this calendar year:
1. Olivier Giroud kicks off New Years brilliantly[01/01/2017]: Arsenal faced Crystal Palace on the first day of the year, wherein the Frenchman broke the deadlock with a rare scorpion kick via a beautiful cross from teammate Alexis Sanchez.
Making the opener look even more stunning, the goal was preceded by a brilliant yet classic Arsenal counterattack. The goal went on to win Giroud the FIFA Puskas award, despite getting beaten by Andy Carroll to the goal of the month award.
2. Dimitri Payet: From fan-favourite to a traitor[30/01/2017]: After a strike that lasted weeks, Payet finally secured his dream move to Ligue 1 side Marseille whilst also becoming one of West Ham faithfuls’ most hated player in the process.
Though subtle, the Londoners themselves were unhappy with the saga, and thus proceeded to replace the French international’s mural at the London Stadium by Andy Carroll’s January goal of the moth.
3. Bayern Munich 10-2 Arsenal[08/02/2017]: At this point, the North Londoners seem to dominate the list, but it’s probably because they’re almost always the centre of football’s most iconic or hilarious moments, and there’s no in-between.
Arséne Wenger’s side lost to the Bavarians on a whopping 10 to 2 goals on aggregate, yet again failing to get past the round of 16 in the Champions League; one of the biggest defeats in the history of the competition.
4. Sutton United vs Arsenal: ‘The’ pie incident[21/02/2017]: The humble London side drew the Gunners in the fifth round of the FA Cup after brave performances in the previous round. Though the Sutton’s stadium capacity is a mere 23.75% of the Emirates, that was hardly the talking point after the final whistle.
Towards the dying minutes of the match, Sutton goalkeeper Wayne Shaw was spotted eating a pie, which later prompted complaints from betting agencies, and thus, got him fired from the club.
5. Leicester City break Claudio Ranieri’s faith[23/02/2017]: Regardless of the club one supports, the day Leicester broke the news of Ranieri’s sacking, everyone felt a genuine sense of sorrow.
The Italian had led the Foxes from a seeming relegation battling side to Premier League glory out of nowhere, and was sacked less than a year after achieving that.
6. Barcelona pull off the greatest Champions League comeback[09/03/2017]: After a shock 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain, Luis Enrique claimed his side to be capable of turning the tie around in the second leg.
Surprisingly, that’s exactly what happened, as a 6-1 victory over the Parisians saw the Catalan giants qualify for the CL quarter finals. Though a very controversial game in retrospect, it was a memorable 90 minutes for good and questionable reasons.
7. Lionel Messi’s iconic celebration at the Santiago Bernabeu[24/04/2017]: El Grande Classico at the Bernabeu, and it was Messi yet again who handed the victory to the Catalans.
The Argentinian scored an inch perfect goal in stoppage time to extend the scoreline to 2-3 and proceeded to celebrate cheekily by showing off his name on the Barcelona shirt to the Bernabeu crowd.
It was also Leo’s 500th career goal.
8. North London painted white after two decades[30/4/2017]: After 22 years of being dominated by Wenger’s side, Spurs finally managed to secure a spot above their bitter rivals after a 2-0 win at White Hart Lane.
And thus, the power-shift talk begins as Arsenal finished outside the top four for the first time in over two decades, whereas Tottenham finished runners-up to the title.
9. Antonio Conte conquers England in his first season[12/05/2017]: After a disaster start to the campaign, the Blues refound their top-form following a 3-0 embarrassment at the hand of derby rivals Arsenal.
Conte’s men also managed to equal the 13-game win record set by the Invincibles squad and secured the title mathematically in 36 matches after a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Chelsea finished the season with a 10-point gap between themselves and runners-up Tottenham.
10. Real Madrid win their 33rd La Liga title[21/05/2017]: After an almost disaster season for Classico rivals Barcelona, Los Blancos needed just a single point from the final match of the season to lift the title.
But the Galacticos made sure to end the season on a high note, and a 2-0 breeze over Malaga secured their 33rd Spanish league title.
11. La Duodecima[03/06/2017]: Though not through a completely clean fixture, Real Madrid extended their Champions League record to 12 titles following a 4-1 trashing of Juventus.
Mario Mandzukic’s stunning overhead kick failed to keep things level for long, and it was none other than Cristiano Ronaldo who confirmed his side’s glory through his goal. On the other hand, the feud between Sergio Ramos and Juan Cuadrado is still talked about even today.
12. The little fan rests among the angels[07/07/2017]: Around midway through the 2016/17 season, a little bundle of passion made his way through the Stadium of Light into the hearts of every football fan. Bradley Lowery, a 6-year-old Sunderland fan, finally lost his battle with cancer.
The young boy was often seen around Jermain Defoe, holding hands and taking pictures. Bradley idolised the Englishman and followed him around every moment. Unfortunately, on that day, a life-long Sunderland supporter left everyone to rest among the stars.
13. Wayne Rooney returns home[09/07/2017]: The Old Trafford crowd saw its hero and a club legend depart after more than a decade worth of loyal service to the club. The Englishman had become the club’s all time top-scorer, playing across multiple position and roles.
However, all good things come to an end, and so did this one. Rooney switched back to his boyhood club Everton, but still with his usual flair and love for the Manchester giants.
14. Neymar and many others break the transfer market[Summer transfer window 2017]: Actually, five names include in this entry – Neymar Jr., Sheikh Nasser Al-khelaifi, Pep Guardiola, Josep Bartomeu, and Jose Mourinho. A grand total around €940 among PSG, Manchester City, Barcelona and Manchester United.
The former Barcelona man’s switch to the French capital alone took €220m, breaking the world transfer record by a margin and sprouting the biggest controversy of the year in the process. Moreover, the Ligue 1 giants also managed to lure Kylian Mbappe on loan, which brought the total around €370m.
Guardiola, on the other hand, broke two records by signing two of the world’s most expensive defenders alongside raiding AS Monaco; a total reported to be around €250m.
Mourinho added Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelof, and Romelu Lukaku to his squad, which adds to a sum around €170m.
Finally, the Barca president used his influence to import Ousmane Dembele and Paulinho for a grand total of €150m.
It’s safe to say that from here on, the very structure of the transfer market has tilted far towards the expensive side.
15. Ronaldo returns the favour[13/08/2017]: When Messi decided to celebrate his El Classico win with ‘that’ celebration, he must’ve known at the back of his mind that a reply from one of the Galacticos might be brewing in the distant future.
The Supercopa de España hosted the next El Clasico, where Ronaldo scored the winner at the Nou Camp and proceeded to recreate the Barca talisman’s shirt celebration. Though the Portuguese international received harsh jeers from the club, it would be totally worth it in his opinion.
16. World Cup Russia 2017: (Dis)qualified sides[October-November/2017]: Whilst Mohamed Salah’s brave feats led Egypt to their first World Cup in almost three decades, Italy failed to show quality in the qualifiers and will not make the trip to play for the biggest sporting event on the planet for the first time in 60 years.
USA also followed the Italian trend and missed their trip to the World Cup for the first time in 31 years.
17. Wembley hosts Real Madrid’s defeat
When Spurs drew into a group alongside the likes of the Spanish champions and Borussia Dortmund, hardly anyone expected them to top the group.
However, Mauricio Pochettino led his team to a stunning and convincing 3-1 home victory against Zinedine Zidane’s men, and finished the group stages at the top of their group table.
18. Patrice Evra follows the footsteps of Eric Cantona[03/11/2017]: Cantona’s Kung-Fu kick on a fan’s chest is one of the most iconic moments in the history of English football. And another former Red Devil, Patrice Evra, decided to follow in the his fellow compatriot’s footsteps.
It started when a Marseille fan threw hurtful racial slurs at the defender, which infuriated him so much that the supporter was received with a kick to the chest.
Evra was then suspended from all European football for 8 months, and was eventually released by Marseille with mutual consent.
19. Cr7 gets level with Messi[07/12/2017]: After enjoying his side’s double last season, Ronaldo then went on to secure the FIFA Best Player award whilst being inducted to the FIFA Team of the Season as well.
However, it was the former United superstar’s fifth Ballon d’Or that became the biggest talking point. Now level with Messi, both the living legends are back to square-one.
20. Fan-favourites announce their retirements: 2017 has been a sad year in the perspective of many legends of the game hanging up their boots.
Dirk Kuyt decided to step down after helping Feyenoord secure their first trophy in decades. Spain, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich star Xabi Alonso also hung up his boots after winning it all.
With the Premier League, Champions League and the title of England’s top scoring midfielder title to his name, Frank Lampard also announced his retirement this year.
Francesco Totti, after 24 years as an AS Roma player, decided to stop playing professional football as well, along with Arsenal and Dortmund fan-favourite Tomas Rosicky, who became the latest star to announce his retirement.
Though 2017 was definitely a year that hit new levels of high and extreme levels of lows, like everyone, BlameFootball also expects the New Year to bring something new and better.
Do you think we missed something on this list? Let us know in the comments below.
Written by Ashish Sreejith
Have had two addictions in life- playing football and watching football. Usually described as introverted but not when it comes to speaking and writing about the beautiful game of football.