The Best Soccer Moments of 2017
From incredible goals to dominating teams, these were the best soccer moments of 2017.
2017 is coming to an end and with Boxing Day having just passed, it's time to look back on the year that was. In a year full of World Cup qualifiers and fantastic plays and moments throughout the year, here are the best soccer moments of 2017.
In the 94th minute of their World Cup qualifier against Congo, Egyptian Mohammad Salah lined up for a penalty kick, with a chance to send the Egyptian national team to their first World Cup since 1990. Stopping a penalty kick is no easy task—it really just comes down to if the keeper and the shooter are thinking of the same side of the net. The Congo keeper guessed wrong, he dove left and Salah went right, sending the crowd and Egyptian team into madness and to Russia for the World Cup.
In August, Brazilian soccer star Neymar agreed to a contract with Paris Saint Germain (PSG). Neymar's transfer from Barcelona was the most expensive transfer in soccer history, 197 million euros. On top of the 197 million euros paid for the transfer fee, Neymar and PSG agreed to terms on a five-year contract in excess of 225 million euros, the third richest in sports history, which will run through the 2022 season.
Manchester City ended 2017 as soccer's hottest team. The last time Man City lost was in the English Premier League play in April; since then, they have rattled off 18 consecutive wins. This ranks as the second longest active win streak in world soccer but this win streak is considered to be the most impressive thanks to the quality of competition in the EPL, making this win streak part of soccer's best moments of 2017.
One of the best soccer moments of 2017 came in January when Cameroon proved themselves to once again be an African soccer powerhouse by winning the African Nations Cup, their first in 15 years. Cameroon defeated seven-time champion Egypt 2-1 in the final with Vincent Aboubakar scoring the incredible game-winner.
After losing 4-0 in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 knockout games to PSG, Barcelona needed to outscore PSG by five goals to win the aggregate goal battle and advance to the next stage of the tournament. After taking a 3-0 lead in the game, cutting the aggregate score to 4-3 in favor of PSG, Barcelona surrendered a goal, meaning they would need to score three more goals in this one game without allowing another one. That is exactly what happened. Barcelona just proved what having two of the top five players in the world can do. With Neymar and Lionel Messi, Barcelona just had too much firepower. In the final seconds of the game, Sergi Roberto put one last ball in the back of the net to give Barcelona the 6-5 aggregate win they desperately needed. This was definitely one of the best soccer moments of 2017.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi, the battle for the right to call themselves the greatest soccer player in the world and this game did not disappoint. Tied at two in the 90th minute, Barcelona got the ball at their own end line and Sergi Roberto outran just about everyone down the field. Time was running out and Barcelona had to score quickly. After a couple of brilliant passes, Messi received a perfect pass right outside the box and fired a strike into the back of the net. Without stopping, Messi ran right to the corner of the field in front of screaming Real Madrid fans, took his shirt off, like soccer players are known to do, and showed just how great he was and how great he felt. This game, and this goal specifically, tipped the tide in Messi's favor for the best player in soccer.
Germany reclaimed its throne at the top of the international soccer mountain after an onslaught at the 2014 World Cup and that continued through the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Going into the 2018 World Cup, Germany is the current holder of two of FIFA's most prestigious trophies. Germany defeated Chile 1-0 in the final to win the country's first Confederations Cup championship, setting them up in prime position for Russia 2018.
One of the best soccer moments of 2017 was Cristiano Ronaldo taking home his fifth Ballon d'Or award. The Ballon d'Or is awarded to the world's top player of the year and Ronaldo certainly deserved it. Ronaldo scored 42 goals across all competitions this year, leading his club, Real Madrid, to the La Liga and Champions League double. Ronaldo's five Ballon d'Or's ties him with Lionel Messi for the most all time.
Now, this goal isn't the most spectacular bicycle kick ever completed, but the fact that this goal wasn't scored by a striker or midfielder, but a goalkeeper, makes it one of the best soccer moments of 2017. Oscarine Masuluke, from South Africa, found himself out of his element on the offensive end of the field but his club Boroka desperately needed a goal. After a bad clear attempt on a corner kick, Masuluke found himself looking at the ball with this back to the goal. He flipped and launched an awesome bicycle kick into the back of the net.
With so many different leagues throughout the world, there are plenty of champions to be crowned in the soccer universe every year. A major upset came in the Premier Soccer League when Bidvest Wits won their first championship in club history.
Real Madrid picked up their first La Liga title in five years, while AS Monaco beat out PSG for the Ligue 1 championship, which PSG has dominated recently. Maybe the most impressive championship though was Chelsea winning the EPL, led by Antonio Conte in his first season with the club.
2017 was an incredible year in all sports, filled with great comebacks and incredible performances. While every great moment couldn't make the list, these were the best soccer moments of 2017 and here's hoping 2018 is just as amazing for the sport.