My Top 10 Football Stories for 2010
2010 has been an interesting year for football. From the sounds of the vuvuzuelas during the World Cup South Africa to the laser issue on AFF Suzuki Cup Finals between Indonesia and Malaysia. Here’s what I think were the stories that topped 2010!
1. La Furia Roja winning the World Cup: No sport is bigger than the World Cup and this year, the Spanish team headed by Vicente del Bosque wins it the first time after the 116th minute goal of Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta in a 1-0 finals against Netherlands (Oranje) at Soccer City Stadium.
2. FIFA corruption: Well, it’s not only in the PFF (Philippine Football Federation) that this became an issue. There were two members of FIFA who were suspended for offering to sell their votes for the 2018 and 2022 bid. There are still a lot of speculations that FIFA did a lousy job in choosing Russia and Qatar as the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 WC instead of the favorites England and USA. The Federation President Sepp Blatter said that he was delighted to bring football to the world. Russia and Qatar have never hosted any World Cup.
3. The Rooney Scandal: The Manchester United Forward Wayne Rooney also had his share for the best and worst days in his career. When his reputation has gone the same level with the likes of Beckham, Ronaldo and Kaka as one of the best players of the new generation, it also went sluggish last September when a Sunday newspapers broke stories about his affairs with prostitutes while his wife, Colleen, was pregnant. He also, after the scandal, shook the world of football after his Manchester City deal which cost Manchester United a five year contract of $347,000 a week for him to stay in Old Trafford.
4. US Soccer (MLS) gets bigger and brighter: With Beckham playing the LA Galaxy, it seems that other European players see that there is a future with MLS. Another footballer from Barcelona, Thierry Henry moves to New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer. The 33 year old French footballer made his name as a world class footballer at Arsenal when he emerged as the Gunners top goal scorer for almost every season of his tenure.
5. Liverpool sold to NESV: On October 15th, the club issued a statement confirming the New England Sports Ventures, who own a portfolio of companies including the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network, Fenway Sports Group and Rush Fenway Racing, had completed the £300 million acquisition.
6. Azkals upsets Vietnam: The recent AFF Suzuki Cup was the highlight on Philippine Football amidst all the politics and issues surrounding the Philippine Football Federation (PFF). The Azkals recorded the biggest upset in the history of the AFF Suzuki Cup last December 5th after beating the defending champions, Vietnam, in a 2-0 campaign in Hanoi. The Philippine National Football Team headed by coach Simon McMenemy continue their run and qualified to the semis , for the first time in Philippine football history, against the in-form Indonesian squad. The Garuda’s eventually sent the Azkals home with a 2-0 win on aggregate points.
7. Togo bus attack in Angola ahead of African Cup of Nations: On the eve of the African Cup of Nations 2010, a tragedy strikes. As it was reported, the Togo National Team bus was ambushed by gunmen and shot at on their way from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the team’s base in Cabrida, where they were due to play their Group B matches where 3 people were killed and 9 injured. Later, Togo withdrew from the cup.
8. El Clasico 2010: The rivalry between two Spanish clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid last November at Camp Nou (Barca’s home stadia), was also an epic clash between Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Both players were regarded as the modern Pele-Maradona of the new generation that fits snugly into the pantheon of rivalries. The 95-minutes kick off concludes the Catalans as the winners with a 5-0 goal making them on top of the Spanish Primera chart.
9. Paul the Octopus predicts the results: The next best thing during the World Cup was Paul the Octopus. The octopus who predicted the outcome of 8 World Cup matches accurately including Spain winning the cup and Germany losing to La Furia Roja during the semis. The story amused everyone and Paul made huge fans around the world. He eventually died of natural causes at a ripe old age – for octopuses.
10. Internazionale’s Treble: Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan did a treble after winning the domestic leagues, Serie A, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, EUFA Champions League in an easy win against defending champions Bayern Munich, and the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi against Congo’s TP Mazembe.
Again, this list is just my personal preference. Pardon me if something did not make it on my list. Last year was definitely a BIG one for the sport that everybody loves. Let’s hope for a better one this 2011 and wish our favorite clubs/teams to lift a trophy and spread the word of FOOTBALL.