The year of 2017 is coming to a close, and as fans look behind to an eventful and fruitful term, moments of joy, passion, and overwhelming euphoria are still reminiscent.
However, most of the time, we look past some embarrassing and regretful moments from players, managers, clubs, and even fans. And so, we have decided to piece together a list of events that occurred on and off the pitch that some would likely want to forget and never bring up.
Note: This list is in no particular order, preference, or chronology and is merely a collection of some incidents that certain clubs or players would probably not want to talk about.
The Tinker-man gets the last laugh
After dragging Leicester City from a bottom-half club to the ultimate glory in English football, Claudio Ranieri was sacked from the club without his approval, consent, or awareness to the issue, after a shockingly weak title defence.
Consequently, assistant manager Craig Shakespeare was assigned to the King Power Stadium helm after he, Jamie Vardy, and few other Leicester players reportedly held a secret meeting to axe the Italian.
However, despite managing to save the Foxes from relegation and leading them to a promising new campaign, Shakespeare himself was sacked due to what seemed like a consistent row subpar performances.
The Gunners had to be included sooner or later on the list, especially considering the number of embarrassing and rather, well, ‘fails’ they endured over the course of this calendar year.
After suffering a 10-2 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich over the course of two legs, Arsene Wenger’s side yet again failed to get anywhere past the Champions League round of 16.
Going just two months further following that embarrassment, Tottenham Hotspur’s win over Arsenal secured their neighbour’s spot above them for the first time in over 20 years.
The Emirates faithful usually 10-2 not talk about those few months anymore.
Manchester United transfer drama
Though not exactly a ‘fail’, this particular incident is worth mentioning due the fact that both clubs that were included are still ‘salty’, as many would say, over the incident.
It’s no secret that before Manchester United made Romelu Lukaku their new record signing with an upfront fee of £75 million and a bonus fee of £15 million, they were very keen on signing then-Real Madrid star, Alvaro Morata.
But due to United’s reluctance to sell David De Dea, not only did negotiations for the ex-Juve striker prolong, but his price tag also became too expensive.
The Red Devils thus dropped the plan to sign the Galactico, and Morata ended up joining Chelsea for a reported £75 million – £15 million less than what Los Blancos demanded from the Mancunian outfit.
Dembele to Barcelona
Now, before judging this entry seeing the almost misleading title, hear out the explanation.
The Dortmund starlet’s incredible performances was enough to earn him a switch to arguably the biggest club in Europe. However, it went almost completely downhill for Ousmane Dembele from there.
First of all, during the Frenchman’s unveiling as a Barca player, he constantly found it hard to do anything presentable and entertaining to the crowd which came to witness his unveiling.
Further, after just 122 minutes of football as a Blaugrana man, the £100 million signing was struck with a long-term injury which he still hasn’t recovered from till this day.
Mainz goalkeeper almost concedes ridiculous goal
However, when Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner tried to keep the ball with himself for a bit too long, it created one of the most hilarious fails of the whole year.
When Zentner’s side met Borussia Monchengladbach, he lost track of the ball whistle trying to set himself up for a perfect pass to his teammate, ending up kicking up a mere gust of air. The German was very lucky to not have conceded a goal from that mistake.
Legend says Mustafi is still celebrating
When Arsenal faced Chelsea back in September, goals seemed to be a rare commodity. But when a cross managed to flick off of Shkodran Mustafi’s head into the net, past Thibaut Courtois, the Gooners finally thought the deadlock had been broken just like the defender had.
However, the German international failed to realise his effort had been adjudged offside, and ran off to a rather long celebration with an Arsenal fan who decided to invade the pitch.
Mustafi then realised what had happened, and returned back to his position with an embarrassed face, whereas the supporter was thrown out of Stamford Bridge.
But the defender’s Instagram story got everyone talking, as he ‘trolled’ himself over the incident with a picture and a caption that read “Legend says Mustafi is still celebrating.”
Zinedine Zidane’s third season curse
Becoming the first manager in history to win consecutive Champions League titles is no joke, and by doing so, the Real Madrid legend had established himself as one of the best managers in Europe.
However, from what Zidane’s side has displayed so far this campaign has no indication of proper tactical grip over the squad. The Galacticos now sit fourth in La Liga, with their latest defeat awarded by the hands of bitter rivals Barcelona last weekend.
Moreover, the Frenchman’s best players such as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Cristiano Ronaldo have failed to replicate their usual magic on the pitch, adding salt to the wounds.
‘Wenger Out’ propaganda reaches new heights
When was the last time the supporters of a particular club were so dissatisfied and disappointed by the club’s regime that they rented an actual aeroplane to fly a banner over the pitch during a match?
Well, the only time that happened was in March when the Gooners finally decided to battle it out in the skies as a ‘No contract #WengerOut’ banner was flown across the Hawthornes. And the drama doesn’t even stop there as a yet another plane quickly followed with a banner that read ‘In Arsene we trust #RespectAW.’
Arsenal fans had taken a wild turn with their stunts which did not help their cause one bit, especially since their social media fanbase had already become the biggest joke in English football.
The statues of the Galacticos
Towards the end of the month of March, an International Airport in the Portuguese island of Madeira was renamed to Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo in the honour of the country’s biggest sportsman, Cristiano Ronaldo. A statue of the Los Blancos superstar was also unveiled at the airport to commemorate the event, which is well and good, except for one particular problem.
The statue looked nothing like Ronaldo and quickly became a joke on the internet.
See it here:
— William (@GiantKorean) March 31, 2017
Now, unfortunately for the Spanish giants, the embarrassment does not stop there as the same Portuguese sculptor unveils a Gareth Bale statue staying true to the same quality of his previous work. But unlike his teammate, Bale was not given a replacement.
— AM Malik (@DaLazyTeen) May 31, 2017
Lukaku’s holiday gifts to Guardiola
When Romelu Lukaku finished as the Premier League’s runner-up for the Golden Boot, every top-tier club was put on high alert. Rumours of Chelsea and United interest had surfaced up right after the transfer window opened, and it was Jose Mourinho who managed to capitalise on the Belgian’s availability.
Nevertheless, an initial fee of £75 million and an extra add-on saw the former Everton man become the club’s new record signing at a cost of £90 million and a huge burden of expectations. But unfortunately, despite piling up goals right off the mark, the Belgian international found it hard to perform against the top sides of England with the latest subpar display against Manchester City.
City won 2-1 over the Red Devils, both goals coming from a direct error from the Belgian international- ‘2 assists to City’ as many fans chuckled with even many United faithful turning on him after that incident.
Do you think we missed anything, does anything else need to be on the 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.