As we come to the end of 2013, it seems like the perfect time to relive some of the more impressive moments we saw in the world of soccer. From top class goals to crazy finishes to games, we again seen it all and were treated to entertainment at the top level.
Here is our list of the best soccer moments of 2013.
No. 10 - Messi wins Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo Not Impressed
Oh man, Cristiano Ronaldo was not happy with the fact Lionel Messi was awarded another Ballon d’Or award this year. So much so, that his reaction to Messi’s crowning was captured on TV and captioned in some of the most hilarious ways. Who can blame Ronaldo; in any other era he would be crowned the undisputed player of the year. But that pesky Argentinian just keeps hanging around!
We all know Ronaldo is the lead sponsor for team Nike and he gets a lot of say in the boots he wears. The Vapor series has been his boot of choice for the past several years, but we are at the stage where Ronaldo gets several of his own “CR” collections released each year.
No. 9 - Lewandowski Smashes Four Past Real Madrid
This was one of the performances of the year, where an individual player shook up the soccer world in one 90 minute game. Robert Lewandowski bagged four very taken goals in the Champions League versus Real Madrid. He made one of the best teams in the world look very average defensively and the big clubs in Europe took note.
The Dortmund frontman has quickly become a focal player for the Nike Hypervenom range, and he definitely has the ability to make them look good. They seem to be a popular choice for attacking players who are not to get the ball down to their feet in order to move it about the pitch.
No. 8 - Tahiti Score versus Nigeria
Tahiti might have conceded 24 goals in 3 Confederations Cup games, but they did manage to score one and create a new meaning for the word “underdog”. In fact, the world was captivated by the stories of amateur players from an island in the Pacific Ocean. Their one goal came compliments of Jonathan Tehau, who took the opportunity post game to let the top teams in Europe know he was “available”.
The unusual thing about the Tahiti team was that their players were wearing boots from several seasons ago. There was no large sponsorship deal and each player was pretty much left to wear whatever boots they desired. We saw some original adiZeros as well as old school Vapors and even some mid-tier boots like the T90 Laser Strikes.
No. 7 - Sporting Kansas City Claim MLS Title
A few seasons ago, the Kansas City club decided to make a fresh start and changed their name from the Wizards to Sporting KC. It was a move that started in motion a new beginning for the club having experienced missing the playoffs two years in succession and they have quickly prospered into the best team in MLS.
The star of this run has to be Jimmy Nielsen. The now retired goalkeeper was a true leader and played a pivotal role when this seasons MLS Final went to penalties. I doubt anyone will forget his strategy of reading a “cheat sheet” before players stepped up to take their penalties. When other players were moving to the adidas Samba collection, Nielsen did what any seasoned pro would do – he stuck to wearing the previous model adiPure 11Pro that he had been wearing all season long! You can’t beat comfort and reliability.
No. 6 - Manchester United Re-Claim EPL Title, Sir Alex Retires
After 26 years at one of the biggest clubs in the World where he amassed 38 trophies, Sir Alex Ferguson called time on his managerial career this year and set off for retirement. But, in typical Fergie fashion, he went out on a high note by securing the EPL title and wrangling it back from the noisy neighbors in Man City. And it actually proved to be a pretty easy campaign on the domestic front, with Robin van Persie leading the charge for the Red Devils. Having made the bold decision to leave Arsenal and head to Old Trafford, RVP was an influential figure and scored 26 goals in his debut season.
The case of Robin van Persie and his choice of boots has been an interesting one to say the least. Last season, he wore a pair of adidas adiPower Predators, even though we were introduced to a newer version in the Predator LZ in 2012. Rather than switching to the new silo, RVP kept banging in goals in his older model. Late in the summer, adidas released details about RVP’s switch to the adiZero, although he got a custom pair designed just for him.
No. 5 - Zlatan’s Cheeky Back Heel
We have to include this goal on the list for its sheer brash nature – who would even think about tring to pull this one off? Zlatan makes it look easy, mainly because of his tall physique. But needless to say, the Bastia defenders were not too happy about the fact it went in!
During this season, we saw the Swedish striker make an odd transition from the Vapor to the Hypervenom back to the Vapor. It is not unusual to see players switching boots, but it was strange that Zlatan became a key marketing figure for the Hypervenom before switching back to the Vapor.
No. 4 - Neymar Shines on the World Stage – in Hypervenoms!
This summer, we really got a first look at the talent that is Neymar. And on the World stage, he really didn’t disappoint. Fresh off the announcement he would be heading to play in Spain for Barcelona and being the lead player in Nike’s Hypervenom release campaign, he really did face a wrath of fire and a lot of pressure. But, he responded and put in some scintillating performances.
Nike decided to use Neymar as the lead player for the release of the Hypervenom, right before the start of the Confederations Cup in Brazil. Whoever made the decision on timing and to put Neymar front and center as the lead advertising figure made a very wise move. It was the perfect spotlight and the end result was pitch perfect for the new silo, immediately raising its stature among players. Not only did Neymar win player of the tournament, but he also grabbed 4 goals and 2 assists in 5 games.
No. 3 - Arjen Robben Scores Champions League Winner
When he missed a penalty in extra time for Bayern Munich versus Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League final, Arjen Robben must have felt like a jinxed man. Had he scored, Bayern would have most certainly went on to win, but as it was Chelsea won a shootout. It was the fourth major cup final that he had been on the losing side during the previous two years (World Cup final, two Champions League finals and the DFB Pokal). Then, Bayern reached the Champions League final again this year, giving Robben another opportunity to atone for his miss. He did, and in style.
Robben set up teammate Mario Mandžukić's goal to open the scoring in the 60th minute and then he netted an 89th minute winner in a 2–1 victory over Borussia Dortmund. His performance also received UEFA’s “Man of the Match” award. As a winger, Robben has found plenty of success wearing the adidas adiZero F50. Although he isn’t a focal player in adidas advertising, he is a true example of the type of player that can benefit from the boots performance. They are lightweight and provide great feel on the ball for players who like to take defenders on down the line, or cut inside to unleash shots.
No. 2 - US Qualifies for Brazil 2013
Securing a spot at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil proved to be substantially easier than any US fan would have anticipated. With Mexico floundering and struggling to win at the Azteca, the US took control of the Hexagonal group and finished top, 4 points clear of Costa Rica. It would have been exactly what Jurgen Klinsmann would have wanted and shows that his work with the National team behind the scenes is paying dividends.
There were many players that shone through qualification, but it is difficult to select one individual as the star. MLS players like Graham Zusi and Omar Gonzalez highlighted the quality currently in the league by cementing their starting spot in a squad full of European players.
No. 1 - The Craziest Finish to a Match Ever!
It is Watford vs Leicester, with the winner headed to the Championship playoff final and the opportunity of a huge multi-million dollar payday for the club. With the game already past the allotted additional time, Leicester was awarded a penalty to win the game. What happened next was pretty incredible! A double save followed by a counter attack, where Watford managed to score, ensuring they won the game and went to Wembley.
Manuel Almunia was the real hero as he saved the initial penalty before clearing the ball for the ensuing counter attack. On his feet and glove wise, he wore Nike boots. His save actually came via his Nike T90 Laser IV boots.