10. Luis Figo, a world famous football star, who played for FC Barcelona from 1995 till 2000. He was arguably the fans’ most favorite player in FC Barcelona, until 2000. That’s when “it” happened, Barcelona’s biggest rivals, Real Madrid, decided to splash the cash and break the transfer list fees record by getting Luis to Real Madrid.
The move caused outrage among Barcelona fans, Madrid got him for a world record fee of 38 Million Pounds. And that’s when the fun begins, during the match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, when Luis Figo stepped up to take the corner kick, a pig’s head was thrown at him from Barcelona’s side. Another incident took place during the 2004 EURO Cup Final between Greece and Portugal. A Portuguese fan ran out on the field, managed to outrun the police, and heading towards Luis threw a Barcelona jersey at him, as the whole world was watching.
9. 1996 – African Challenge.
1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, The most surprising gold medals went to the hands of Nigerian football stars after they overcame Brazil in thrilling semi-finals, with a 4-3 score. The finals was between Argentina and Nigeria, well over 2 billion people were watching it, of course most of them thought that Argentina will have no problems getting the gold medal, but most of them were wrong. Argentina was in the driver’s seat after leading 1-0. The goal came on a 3rd minute, scored by Claudio Lopez, on the 28th minute Nigeria managed to equalize, as Babayaro scored a perfect finisher. So it was 1-1 on half-time. In the early second half Hernan Crespo gave Argentina the lead again and Argentina was on the way to get the gold medals, but “not so fast” said Amokachi as he scored the equalizing goal and again gave Nigeria hope. Match was almost over and everybody thought it was going to be decided by the penalty shoot out. 90th minute and Amunike gave the lead to Nigeria, it was a shock for Argentina, time was almost over, Argentina had no chance, so it ended with a final score 3-2. Nigeria won the gold medal, for the first time in Olympic Games history.
8. 1960, First ever UEFA European Football Championship (EURO) held in France. It was won by the USSR, beating Yugoslavia 2-1 in a tense final in Paris. It is however quite interesting to note that earlier in the competition Spain had withdrawn from its quarterfinal match against the USSR due to political reasons. As an interesting fact, USSR also scored the first goal in the EURO history, during the qualification games.
7. 1998/1999 English Premier League season, Manchester United got all trophies possible that season. They became the first ever team in football history to do so in one season. First they got the Premier League title, finishing first in the league table, then they took the F.A. Cup title by beating Newcastle United 2-0, and of course the most famous UEFA Champions League final, when United managed to come back from a 1-0 defeat, and score not one but two goals in an injury time beating Bayern Munich 2-1; it was considered to be one of the greatest comebacks ever witnessed.
6. 2002 World Cup, Korea/Japan. Korean fans will never forget that historic moment, when Guus Hiddink took them all the way to the Semi-Finals of 2002 World Cup. Korean national football team became the first ever Asian national football team to reach semi-finals of World Cup. Nobody expected the underdogs to go that far, as they beat Portugal 1-0 in a group stages, then a famous 2-1 win over Italy, drawing with Spain in a quarter-finals and then beating them 5-3 on penalties. In the end however they couldn’t take on Germany in semi-finals, and they lost 1-0. In the game for the third place Korean team met Turkey, but again they lost. Eventually the Republic of Korea finished 4th in the 2002 World Cup, which was still a great success for the country’s football team.
5. June 2003, Chelsea FC was bought by the Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich for a record fee of 140 million pounds. Back then it was the biggest sale of an English Football club. Straight away Roman wanted to make Chelsea the best and strongest club in the world. He began buying players for a record braking transfer fees. First season with a new owner Chelsea FC finished as a runner-up. But next year, the 2004/2005 English premier league season, Chelsea became champions of England, for the first time since 1954/1955 season. 2005/2006 Season they took the premier league trophy again as they were crowned the champions of England for the second time in a row. These 2 seasons were the most successful 2 years in the club’s history.
4. January 11th 2007. It was confirmed that David Beckham will be leaving Real Madrid to play for the United States “soccer” club, Los Angeles Galaxy. Beckham’s decision was a shock to many, as one of the world’s best football players moves to United States of America, where “soccer” is not that popular. He was the first big player to enter Major League Soccer.
3. 6th February 1958, the Munich air disaster. It was the darkest day in Manchester United Football Club history. On the board of the plane was Manchester United football team along with the club supporters and journalists. 23 of the 44 passengers on board died. Captain James Thain, the pilot tried to take off twice, but both attempts were aborted due to engine surging. When a third take off was attempted, the plane failed to gain adequate height and crashed into the fence surrounding the airport and then into a house. Now every year on this day Manchester United holds a memorial to the people who lost their lives in the Munich air disaster.
2. 2006 World Cup Final produced one of the most famous moments in football history, when Zidane’s head-butted on Italian defender Marco Materazzi. It was Zidane’s last international appearance for the French national team and 3 billion people around the world were watching it. The next day newspapers all over the world were not writing about how Italy won their 4th World Cup title, but they were writing about how Zidane pulled the “stunt” on Marco. Definitely that was one of the biggest moments in the history of football.
1. Edison Arantes do Nascimento, aka Pele, the world’s most famous name in football. Football is probably the most famous sport in the world, and Pele is the man who made it what it is today. Pele made 669 appearances in club football, scoring 626 goals. He also made 92 appearances for Brazilian National football side and scored 77 goals. He made his first club appearance when he was just 15 years of age. He made his first international appearance for Brazil when he was 16, and won his first World Cup when he was just 17. Pele is hailed in Brazil as a national hero. The number one moment in football history is when Pele managed to score his first international goal for Brazil, just three month before his 17th birthday.