It’s been quite a rollercoaster year for football fans around the world. Regardless of who you support, surely your club felt the impact of Covid just as much as any of us. After a difficult first round of matches being withheld, it would seem as if things are about to get bad soon. Team players have once again started testing positive and we may be on the brink of another halt. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the highlights of 2020.
The Top 5 Talking Points
The Never-Ending Saga
Every year there are a handful of rumors that predict Messi’s departure. Usually, we dismiss these but this year was a close call for Messi and Barcelona. According to reports and his own interview, he’s been unhappy at Barca for a while now. The only reason he hasn’t left in 2020 has been because of his love and respect for the club. While he’s definitely staying till summer, what happens after that is anyone’s guess really.
Racism and Football
It has been a while since the horrific incident occurred in the United States but the Premier League has not yet forgotten. The grit and the vigor shown by the players has ensured that the #blacklivesmatter movement in football goes on and serves as a reminder to everyone. This is exactly the kind of thing that football has stood for and today, we’re getting one step closer to winning the battle against racism one matchday at a time.
VARy Good or Bad?
Once again, VAR has been subject to much controversy throughout the year. Earlier while the last premier league season concluded, we saw goal-line technology fail to give Sheffield their deserved goal which went on to save Aston Villa from their perils at the time. Since then, many calls have been made, and many beer bottles have been broken over calls. One thing though is for sure, VAR is still far from what it should be. Here’s to hoping that 2021 will bring fonder memories in football.
Rest in Peace, The Hand of God !
It feels like just yesterday that England and Argentina had fought that glorious world cup semi final which saw one of the most bizarre goals in the history of football. Since then though, the legend Maradonna has retired, coached Argentina and been a massive symbol for football throughout the world. His health had been on the decline but surely nobody was ready for his departure this early.
Read more about the legacy of Maradona here.
Football in the times of Corona
It’s been a year since the inception of the Coronavirus and no one could have predicted the impact it would have on our lives. Football fans especially, miss the stadiums more than ever. While some fans have been allowed into stadiums off late, there still is a growing concern in the community. Competitions have been shortened, 2 legged games have been changed to 1, fixture pile ups have worsened and worst of all, lives have been lost. Let us hope that things return and get better very soon.
Picks of the Litter
The Premier League race this time around has been tighter than a jar of pickles. There’s barely any point difference and a good six clubs can still be considered serious contenders. This has made it very difficult for us to pick one football club above the other.
Regardless, winning by a mile here is Tottenham, who have changed their ways drastically under Mourinho. Going into the new season, things were expected to be tough for Spurs but they now sit 2nd on the table at the end of 2020, as a serious contender and look like they could get their hands on some silverware this year.
As for the best PL player for 2020, few would disagree with Bruno Fernandes here. The Portuguese arrived just a year ago in the December window and has since then, been an absolute beast. You may not like the sheer number of penalties he takes but what he brings to the game, no one else can.
If you are to take a look at the La Liga table right now, you’d see that it’s a Madrid race and anyone could win it now. Both sides of the city have been performing at their top level of football this year and it’s going to be very interesting to see who wraps it up .
While both the Madrid teams have been fantastic, the best La Liga team so far has to be Real Sociedad. Just a couple of weeks ago they sat on top of the table and who’s to say they won’t again? Something about the Oyarzabal and Silva connection has just clicked and they can use their position for some great transfer business to make a push for the title.
They often say it is lonely at the top but the bottom hasn’t been that great this time around either. Lionel Messi sits as the best player in La Liga, if not the world for 2020, but still finds his club in a bad position. The Argentine recently surpassed Pele’s record for most goals for a single club but one has to wonder how many more would be needed to help Barcelona this season.
Usually, by this time Bayern is far ahead in the Bundesliga and there’s only Dortmund who can make a miraculous push for a title bid. Unfortunately, this time out the fixture fatigue and mental drainage has seen Bayern underperform. They have still done enough to stay atop but they sit just 2 points above Leverkusen and Dortmund.
That brings us to Leverkusen who has hands down been the best team in the German division this season. After losing Kai Havertz there weren’t many people who thought this side could perform but Bailey and Patrick have been a class apart to give Leverkusen the position they deserve.
Dortmund may be underperforming at the moment but Haaland surely is not. Since his arrival, he has been on fire and he is showing no signs of slowing down. Keep your eye on this starlet if you haven’t yet because he is destined for big things!
Who knew that we were going to have another good old fashioned Milan battle for the league this season?Currently, AC and Inter Milan sit at top of the table and it is anyone’s guess as to who will win the league. For once though, Juventus might not have it as easy as they thought they would.
League leaders and probably one of the best sides in Europe right now, AC Milan are tearing it up once again at the highest level. Everything just seems to have clicked for the San Siro classics and they look hungry for that Lega Italia title which hasn’t come home in a long time now.
Leading the pack of the hungry Milano’s is the lion himself aka Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Who could have dared to think that his career was over? The man has proven everyone wrong and looks like he could be on his path to defy both age as well as haters this new year.
Not many would have predicted that PSG would be 3rd on the table going into the final days of the year but it surely has been a year full of surprises. Lyon and Lille have trumped the Parisian side but stay only one and two points ahead of them, making the French race a very interesting one indeed.
Despite their third-place position, PSG has in all fairness, been as usual, exceptional this season. Truthfully this should really be a draw between PSG, Lyon, and Lille for all three of these teams have been a class apart but PSG gets our special recognition for surviving that group of death CL scenario.
He may just have two goals and three assists so far this season, but the magical Dimitri Payet has been the conductor guiding his team to glory this time out. Last year, his sublime efforts earned Marseille a second spot. Who knows what he is capable of if placed in a top team?
The Wicked Wildcard
We cannot conclude our recap of the year without mentioning the greatest tragedy with the greatest award that was never given. Robert Lewadownski was positively on his way to win his first-ever Ballon D’or and you’d have to be crazy to disagree. Unfortunately, due to the many significant hardships faced by both clubs and their people this season, the Ballon D’or was canceled. Sorry Lewa, at this point the award is just cursed for you.
It has been a strange and baffling year for football this one. One could argue that their club’s fortunes or woes have been unfairly awarded but that wouldn’t change much. Much like a VAR overruling, we must take what we get and move on.
On the brighter side of things, we are close to having an official worldwide available vaccine now and if we’re being optimistic, we’d even say that football can finally return to normal very soon! The players though desperately need a vacation. After last season was halted, there barely have been any space to relax for them and they will surely be looking forward to their time out. As for the fans, we’re sure that they can’t wait to get back in the stands and start invading the pitch again.