Football is a game of passion and emotion and always has been. The world’s most-watched sport has given fans moments of joy as well as sorrow. Over the years, Football has grown in popularity due to the upsets it can cause and surprises it can deliver. We have witnessed some iconic moments from the world’s best teams and players on the biggest stages. Let’s dive right in and look at the top 10 most iconic moments in football history:
10) FIFA Corruption Scandal
The summer of 2015 came in hard for football’s governing body. Numerous FIFA officials were accused of wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering by the US Department of Justice. The scandal led to the suspension of FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini by the FIFA Ethics committee who later that year, banned both individuals from all football-related activities for 8 years. In July that year, Sep Blatter was doing an interview when a protestor came and showered him with fake dollar bills. The image captured by reporters and journalists is still one of the most iconic images in the history of football resembling the dark side of the organisation.
9. The Flying Dutchman
The Netherlands was taking on Spain in the 2014 World Cup group stage. The Dutch went into the game looking for redemption after their World Cup final loss 4 years ago. Late in the first half, Robin Van Persie scored a magical diving header from a long ball played from the edge of the Spanish half. It was one of the best headers scored in the history of World Cups which earned him the nickname, ‘The Flying Dutchman’.
8) Corner Taken Quickly
Barcelona was taking on Liverpool in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final in 2019. Barcelona had a 3-0 lead going into the game and it should have been an easy night for them. But Liverpool came with different plans. Their tactics worked well as they scored 3 goals without conceding and the aggregate score was 3-3 until the 78th minute when Liverpool won a corner. Trent Alexander Arnold started was walking away from the ball when he suddenly turned around and took a quick corner catching Barcelona off guard. Divock Origi was a fox in the box as he was the first to ball and calmly hit it in the back of the night. The night, the drama and emotions along with the commentator’s words “Corner taken quickly” became an iconic moment in football history, one for Barcelona fans to forget.
7. La Remontada
Barcelona lost the first leg 4-0 and it was going to take more than a miracle for them to overcome the deficit against a strong PSG team. With the score 3-1 for Barcelona until the 87th minute, it looked as though they were all set to be eliminated. But they weren’t ready to give up as Neymar scored back-to-back goals in the 88th and 90 + 1st minute. The aggregate score was 5-1 but Barca still needed to score another thanks to an important away goal from Edinson Cavani. With minutes passing and success looking further and further away, Neymar set up Sergi Roberto in the 90 + 5th minute to score the 6th goal that took the Catalonian club to the next round.
6. That Night in Barcelona
Speaking of comebacks, it is hard to ignore Manchester United’s treble-winning comeback in 1999. The Red Devils had already won the Premier League as well as the FA Cup and had their sights set on the UEFA Champions League. A win would help them become the first English team to win the treble. But the game was going differently than they had planned. Manchester United was losing 1-0 due to an early first-half goal. With the game in stoppage time, United fans had given up. But goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 90 + 1st and 90 + 3rd minute respectively helped them overturn a 1-0 defeat to a 2-1 win. That historic victory made them win the treble and they are still the only English team in history to do so.
5. Leicester City winning the league in 2016
The odds of Leicester winning the league in 2015/16 were 5000/1. They had the worst odds in the league and were favourites to get relegated that season. Despite that, Leicester City showed courage and determination to win the Premier League thanks to a tremendous team effort and tactical masterclass by Claudio Ranieri. If you would have bet ₹1000 on Leicester winning the league, you could have won ₹50,00,000 by the end of the season.
4. Roberto Carlos Freekick
Brazil was playing France in 1997 when Roberto Carlos scored a historic long-range freekick goal. Standing 35 meters from goal, Carlos struck the ball as it went and took an unseen trajectory. The ball was swinging away from the goal and going wide when it suddenly swung back in and landed in the back of the net while a baffled Fabian Barthez just stood and watched. Scientists to this day cannot explain the physics behind one of the greatest goals ever scored.
3. Hand of God
Every kid growing up has tried to recreate this famous goal scored by Diego Maradona. The late Argentinian sneakily used his hand to hit the ball in the goal when Argentina was taking on England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final. The goal was nicknamed the ‘Hand of God’ by his fans. One of football’s greatest, Diego Maradona was the star of the Argentinian team and as the nickname ‘Hand of God’ suggests, he had no limits when it came to winning a game for his country.
2. Zidane Headbutt
Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt on Marco Materazzi is definitely one of the most iconic moments in the history of football. Both Materazzi and Zidane scored first-half goals as Italy was taking on France in the 2006 World Cup Final. As the game headed into extra time, an argument between the two led Zizou to headbutt Materazzi in his chest. He was awarded a red card in his final game as a professional footballer and saw the French side lose the game on penalties.
Losing 2-1 in stoppage time on the last day of the 2011/12 Premier League season, a loss or draw wasn’t enough for Manchester City to win the league title. Title contenders Manchester United had won their game against Sunderland and were anxiously waiting for the Man City v QPR game to finish. City managed to score a goal in the 92nd minute but 2-2 still wasn’t enough to see them through. Aguero received the ball in the 94th minute from Balotelli and hit it into the QPR goal. The Etihad Stadium erupted as fans were sweetly surprised at what they had witnessed. Commentator Martin Tyler, a city fan, saw the ball in the back of the goal and shouted “Aguerooooooo. I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again”. The goal and commentary became one of football’s most iconic moments ever as Sergio Aguero calls it the best goal of his career.