Football has given us some iconic, memorable and frankly infamous moments throughout history. While the minutes of all the games might get blurred in our memories and we might not remember each match distinctively, there are some moments that make you marvel at football and the emotions it can make us feel and the truly beautiful, poetic and sometimes terrifying moments and photographs it can give us. Though the nature of these moments might differ widely, the similarity is that we are still talking about them years later.
Everyone’s list may vary depending on what team or league you follow, but we have tried to make our’s truly unbiased. Therefore, here is our ranking of the top 10 most shocking moments in football:
*That* Messi goal for FC Barcelona (2007)
Today, Messi is widely considered one of the best footballers of this generation and perhaps of all time. However, when he first started playing for the first team of FC Barcelona, no one knew who he was. He was a diminutive figure on the pitch who did not really command much attention, that is, until he got the ball at his feet. Having been included in the first team at Barca, it didn’t take him long to score his first goal for Barcelona, and in true Messi style it was a glorious chipped shot. This goal in itself is iconic as after scoring the goal he was carried on the back of Ronaldinho while the English commentator prophetically told us to “remember the name” of Lionel Messi. However, his much more iconic goal came in April, 2007 against Getafe, a notoriously defensive team in La Liga. In this particular match, Messi took the ball into possession near the half way line and proceeded to dribble past nearly the entire Getafe team, including the goalkeeper before scoring. The goal was freakishly similar to the one scored by his compatriot Maradonna in the World Cup and that is where the comparisons first began. Still considered one of his best goals, paired with the crazed “Anakara Messi '' commentary, it definitely deserves a spot in this list.
Francesco Totti, today often considered synonymous with loyalty, retired from football forever in 2017 at the age of 40. While he was definitely a brilliant footballer in his own right in Roma, it could be argued that his skill and ability could have been put to better use and that he could have achieved much more honours and money had he left Roma for any of the big name clubs that were touting him. In fact, he had the opportunity to become a Glalctico with Real Madrid, however, he turned it all down to continue playing for his childhood football club AS Roma. HE famously once said “They taught us in school that family is the most important thing. Roma is my family. Have you ever heard of someone leaving his poor parents to live with rich strangers.” His love for Roma was truly beautiful and this can be seen in his farewell speech to a stadium full of teary eyed fans.
“Now I’ll go down the stairs, I’ll go into the locker rooms that met me when I was a kid, and I will leave as an adult. I am very proud and happy to have given you 28 years of love. I LOVE YOU.”
If you haven’t heard the entire speech, do go and listen to it. It is guaranteed to hit you in the feels and give you goosebumps even if you are not a Roma or Totti fan. Simply iconic.
AH! The 2010 World Cup, probably one of the best football tournaments ever hosted, gave us absolute gems such as Shakira’s Waka Waka and the annoying yet beloved sound of the vuvuzelas of South Africa. The Spanish squad sent to the 2010 World Cup is probably one of the best national teams ever to have been assembled. It was filled with the best footballers in every position with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Casillas, Ramos, Busquets, Villa etc. That was the time when Barcelona was playing their fluid tiki-taka style of football, and since a lot of the starting XI were from FC Barcelona, it was easy to play nearly the same style of football for Spain as a national team. They were one of the favourites to win it and they did so in style. In the final, they found themselves up against Netherlands who themselves had no shortage of talented players. In fact, had it not been for a reflexiv save from Casillas off of a Arjen Robben shot in the 62nd minute, Netherlands might have won the final. However, at the end of the 90 minutes, the score was poised at 0-0 and the game went into extra time. Penalties seemed inevitable, however, a Spanish goal came in the 109th minute from perhaps the most unlikely source - Andres Iniesta. Mere minute before the end of extra time, Iniesta, a player usually skilled at ball retention and passing, volleyed the shot low into the net, and won Spain their first World Cup. It was like a prophecy had been fulfilled, because honestly, if that Spanish team hadn’t won a World Cup, it would have been one of the most unfair things to ever happen in football.
Ronaldo bicycle kick
A bicycle kick is one of the most physically difficult things to pull off during a football match and it requires not only peak physicality, but also great body coordination and technique. This is why bicycle kicks are very rare during games. However, how can you expect less than iconic from the great Cristiano Ronaldo. Perhaps his most iconic goal came in 2018 in the Champions League (what a surprise) with Real Madrid. In a 3-0 victory over Juventus, the then 33 years old (!) rose to an incredible height before successfully pulling off one of the most acrobatically inhumane kicks ever seen. It was so unexpected and breathtaking that even the Juventus fans around the stadium had no choice but to stand up and applaud the goal’s beauty. Little did they know that the same man would go on to play for them one day.
A truly unforgettable goal for the highlight reel for Ronaldo.
We all love a good underdog story and there are so many of them in football. Perhaps the most iconic and unrepeatable moment came during the 2015-16 season. That year the Premier League was won not by Manchester City or United or even Liverpool or Chelsea, but by Leicester City FC. Against all odds, with 2 games to spare, after a 2-2 draw between Tottenham Hotspurs and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Leicester were announced the Premier League champions for the first time in history. It was a truly fairytale moment for the players and fans alike, keeping in mind that Leicester had started the season with a 5000/1 chance of winning. They had spent only £72 million on their squad while Man City had spent nearly £415 million on theirs. Leicester winning the Premier League remains one of the most iconic and miraculous moments in club football. It is truly reminiscent of the late great Johan Cruyff’s quote “Why couldn’t you beat a richer club? I’ve never seen a bag of money score a goal.”