While it is believed that the bad times of COVID-19 are over, its effects are still largely felt in European football in the post-coronavirus world as it has undergone some major reshuffles. That hasn’t stopped the greats of the game from scaling new heights and Indiatvnews has picked 10 moments as we prepare to bid goodbye to 2021.
1. Messi ends barren international title match with Copa America
All the question marks over Lionel Messi’s legacy is arguably the greatest of all time, which largely depends on his success with his former club FC Barcelona, when Argentina defeated arch-rivals Brazil to capture the Copa America title. defeated by -0. 28 years later. For the winning team, Angel Di Maria scored the only goal of the match on Rodrigo’s pass in the 22nd minute of the match. It was Argentina’s 15th overall Copa America title, equaling Uruguay’s record 15th title.
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo may not have enjoyed a very successful year in his final season with Italian giants Juventus, but his accuracy in front of the target has been such that it is hard to stop the 36-year-old from going into the nets. Performing repeatedly for his national team, Ronaldo became the highest international goalscorer. During a crucial World Cup qualifier match against Ireland, Ronaldo broke Ali Day’s record for the most goals scored with 109 goals.
2. Ronaldo Continues To Break Records
At club level, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Cagliari in the Italian league Serie A, surpassing Brazilian legend Pele to score the most goals overall in professional football, surpassing 767 goals.
Ronaldo, however, was not done yet as he also became the most match-played player in Champions League history.
3. Simon Kajer Life-Saving After Christian Eriksson Falls on the Ground
Football has seen many heartbreaking moments when a footballer has collapsed on the football field and the news that followed has been mostly sad. One such heartbreaking example happened at Euro 2020 (postponed this year due to COVID-19) when Denmark’s star midfielder Kristen Eriksson suddenly fainted on the field. The referee immediately stopped the match as the 29-year-old Inter Milan star fell to the ground just before half time. There were precious moments before medical aid arrived on the field, but team captain Simon Kejer was careful enough to make sure Ericsson didn’t swallow his tongue. He was given CPR on the field. The situation left fans stunned, while Ericsson’s teammate was seen crying on the side of the field. However, Kajar’s heroism proved significant as Ericsson successfully underwent surgery and was discharged from the hospital.
4. The Year of Changes in Major Transfers
The long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic affected some of the world’s richest football clubs; Forced him to let go of his superstars in Ronaldo, Messi and Sergio Ramos. Ronaldo left Juventus after a titleless season and re-signed with Manchester United, which was deemed his homecoming.
However, it was Messi’s transfer that made a big noise as he left Barcelona after spending nearly two decades signing a deal with the cash-rich Paris Saint-Germain. Real Madrid lost their ‘El Capitan’ as well as Sergio Ramos moving to PSG, while Sergio Aguero moved on a free transfer from Manchester City to FC Barcelona.
5. Ronaldo’s ‘Aqua’ moment gives a tough competition to Coca-Cola
Soccer stars are often conscious of every step they take in their lives as it often attracts unwanted attention. And Ronaldo got a fair taste of it when the Portuguese footballer removed two cans of Coca-Cola from his desk during the Euro 2020 press conference for sponsorship purposes. While Ronaldo argued that he dislikes soft drinks because of their unhealthy nutritional value and wants his son to stay away from it, his gesture gave a tough competition to the brand. According to reports, before Portugal’s match against Hungary, Coca-Cola had a loss of around $ 30,000 (about Rs 293 billion).
6. Football’s Rebel Super League dies prematurely after facing backlash
The month of April, the European football landscape was preparing for a major change when 12 big clubs agreed to participate in the European Super League, the brainchild of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez. However, as the league surfaced, it faced backlash from the UEFA Champions League and other indigenous leagues. The fact that the Super League allowed only 12 major clubs to compete while ignoring the rest of the team caused an uproar from fans and footballers alike as they questioned what would happen to the smaller clubs in the future.
Soon, 9 out of 12 teams, mostly EPL clubs, were withdrawn; Leaving the organizers Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus alone.
7. Italy Wins Euro Cup After Waiting For 52 Years
Italy boast one of the weakest defenses in the world and, under coach Roberto Mancini, the side played some excellent football on their way to Euro Cup glory. The opportune day came on 11 July when Italy defeated hosts England in a cliffhanger to win Euro 2020. In the final played at the historic Wembley Ground in London, Italy defeated England 3-2 in a penalty shootout. Luke Shaw scored in the second minute of the match to give England a 1-0 lead. Italy’s Leonardo Bonucci scored in the 67th minute to level 1-1. The score was tied at 1-1 till full time. After which both the teams could not even score in the extra time of 30 minutes. England’s Marcus Rashford, Jaden Sancho and Bukayo Saka failed to score in the penalty shootout. With this victory, the Italian team got a chance to win the Euro Cup after 52 years. Earlier, the team had won this title in 1968.
8. Messi wins record 7th Ballon d’Or
Superstar footballer Messi won the Ballon d’Or award for a record seventh time; Beat title favorite Robert Lewandowski and longtime rival Ronaldo with the Golden Ball. Messi had previously won the Ballon d’Or award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019. However, many questions arose on his winning the title this time. Lewandowski was not given the award, and many fans of the football world also expressed outrage. Lewandowski himself expressed anger over not receiving the award as he broke several records during the year.
9. Lewandowski Can’t Stop Scoring
Bayern Munich star Lewandowski may have missed the Ballon d’Or, but he will have to do something special to prevent him from winning the Golden Boo at the end of the year. In the calendar year, the Polish sniper broke two old records held by one of the greatest players in German football history, Gerd Müller. Lewandowski became the Bundesliga’s highest goalscorer in one year. He scored a total of 43 goals in 34 Bundesliga appearances in 2021, compared to Müller’s 42 goals in 1972.
In early May this year, Lewandowski scored his 41st goal, breaking Gerd Müller’s record for most goals in a Bundesliga season. Lewandowski scored his 69th overall goal this year, equaling Ronaldo’s record for most goals in a calendar year.
10. UEFA Champions League Draw Gaff
UEFA Champions League draws have often come under question as several conspiracy theories have suggested they are often rigged to help big clubs. Although a live event of the event has often made it a very transparent event, this month’s round of 16 draw sparked all kinds of controversy as the European football body was forced to cancel the first draw after a technical glitch. After that the draw had to be withdrawn.
During the first draw, Manchester United and Villarreal were up against each other, despite the fact that they faced each other in the group stages, while the rules explicitly state that two teams from the same group or countries should be played. cannot be pulled against each other. However, after the controversy, UEFA stated that the mistake was due to a technical fault in external software and a new draw was rescheduled.