Apocalypses come and go, but the spirit of fútbol survives.
From daily trending topics on Twitter to the most liked pics on Facebook, football has crossed all limits of imagination of this world. In this post Mayan era, the time has now come to reflect upon the graceful moments of this beautiful game that was played this year.
The statement that “this has to be one of the most unique years in football history” may sound clichéd right now, but I ponder on it once again. Club football saw stories of heroics in the top 3 European leagues as Spain, Italy and England were conquered by new champions. The London games saw the rise of a youthful Brazil amongst the forlorn Great Britain and Spain, only to be beaten completely unexpectedly by a spirited Mexico for the Gold. Though Spain retained their Euro glory, the rise of Prandelli’s Italy from the ashes was really the story of the summer.
Here we shall look into those matches and incidents that have become turning points in Leagues or Tournaments; the players, managers and refereeing decisions that shall go down in history as icons of 2012.
1. Fergie’s 2012: Expectation is a bitch
Sir Alex Ferguson might have become used to finding the League trophy in his cabinet come May, but the emergence of the money-laden Manchester City and Chelsea have led to his rude awakening. After going 5 points clear of City in April and after listening to Mancini’s continuous mourning of having lost out to United, Fergie might just have settled his nerves for a 20th title. But for that eventful game game at the Eastlands where Kompany rose to head home the winner, and the unforgettable final few seconds where Aguero scored the 3rd which left a celebrating Fergie shell shocked next to Phil Jones.
Oh how Ferguson must hate the guts of that brat Joey Barton, whose red card put QPR a man down!!
Though Fergie might have pulled up an ace against City by bagging RVP, and the fact that the Red Devils lead the pile by 7 points; as the Scotsman will know very well, no lead is ever unbeatable. The naked truth lies in the fact that Ferguson is rarely expected to do anything but win the title, and the rising superpowers around him don’t seem to allow Fergie the easy route.
And well, calling a Tyneside club of proud Geordies a ‘wee-club’ doesn’t help.
2. Mou finally conquers Camp Nou: also wins the La Liga
If the story in England was all about not able to hold on to a lead at the top, Madrid and Mourinho’s success story in Spain was completely down to how well they could hold a 7 point lead. Though Mou might have won the League in the 2011-12 season and the Copa in the previous season, nothing would have brought ‘the Special one’ more joy than his stupendous feat on 21st April 2012. Madrid beat Barca at the Camp Nou for the 1st time since 2012, and Mourinho for all his eye poking and other pranks on the touchline might just have lived for this moment.
Again the Champions League Trophy continued to evade the Los Blancos and this might be the sole reason why Mourinho is still at the capital. As a matter of fact, the CL might be the only title that is left to play for this season, as the Champions lie 14 points adrift of Barca at Christmas and Mourinho has already conceded defeat.
New challenges seem to be Mourinho’s future in 2012 and England might seem the most beckoning to the Portuguese. There is a very viable possibility that the rivalry that blossomed in Spain between Pep and Mou, will be reignited in English soil next season.
3. Paris seeks Ibra and Silva: Milan and Italy bankrupt
Europe is going through a financial crisis, and soon there will be no money in the football industry; Wenger has been quoting this from a long time and all of mankind just notices this as an excuse to the Frenchman’s transfer policy.
And then Galliani goes and sells his 2 stalwarts Ibra and Silva to a force in France, and now plans to offload Pato and Robinho in the winter, there has been almost a null away fan following for most Serie-A clubs; clubs this have rarely been able to do anything but loan in players from other leagues.
Juve were able to achieve a remarkable unbeaten streak of 49 games under Conte, but the Old lady had her own problems with Conte banned for a long period of the season under corruptions allegations. Though the likes of Isla and Asamoah have moved to Turin this season, Italian League experts believe the drop of form of the Milan clubs to be the reason of Juve’s rise.
4. RDM appointed interim manager: Wins Roman a Champions League
Chelsea undoubtedly have had the most start-stop year in recent history. The club’s year can be easily depicted in 4 phases: the 1st would be the poor start to 2012 under AVB, the 2nd is the appointment of interim manager Di Matteo under whom Chelsea won the double, the 3rd would be the transitional phase to a new- attack minded squad; and the 4th a phase which I like to call the Rafa-Nando time.
Many would have called the Blues’ successfully Champions League campaign to be a big fluke with their only strategy to park their bus against superior opposition. But this style is pretty much reminiscent of older English teams; the 1990 World cup qualification comes to mind.
5. Dortmund beat Bayern again, and top Group of Death: Klopp manager of the year
Jürgen Klopp will have many a folklore to his name and so deserving has been his job. Building a 2 time League winning squad from scratch is no mean deal, but going into the Group of Death in the Champions League and giving Real Madrid a beating is an entire league ahead.
Talents like Goetze and Lewandowski have chosen to stay at the club under Klopp’s tutelage, and though they are way off the top in the Bundesliga, a semifinal berth in the CL looks certain. Klopp definitely ticks most of the boxes for the manager of the year, and for people who think Klopp is suited for big clubs instead; Borussia Dortmund is a big club today.
6. Shebby Singh becomes Director of football of a club managed by Venkys’: RIP Blackburn Rovers
An Indian firm Venky buy a EPL club Blackburn Rovers, the club gets relegated to a lower league, they sack Steve Kean who could be one of the most hated managers; and lo-behold the Venky’s appoint Shebby Singh as their director of football.
TRP has a soft corner of our Shebby, as you can see in our About Us section, and the fact that the Venky’s denied world wide audience a chance to listen to Singh’s analysis week in and week out, would be a lone positive for the ‘Chicken Kings’.
Shebby Singh has since sacked Kean, appointed and sacked Berg within 10 games and 57 days, and is yet to appoint the next manager.