The year 2015 about to come to an end. In the world of football, for some, it was a year that was packed with good memories. While for others, it is a year they can’t wait to see come to an end.
As the year gradually winds down, Completessportsnigeria.com’s JAMES AGBEREBI, in our continuing review of the year, takes a look at 12 top world football moments for which 2015 will be remembered…
FIFA CORRUPTION SCANDAL
In 2015, U.S. federal prosecutors disclosed cases of corruption by officials and associates connected with FIFA, the governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer.
Near the end of May 2015, fourteen people were indicted in connection with an investigation by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) into wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering. The United States Attorney General simultaneously announced the unsealing of the indictments and the prior guilty pleas by four football executives and two corporations.
Not left out in the whole scandal are FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Mitchel Platini.
The pair currently face charges including corruption, conflict of interest and noncooperation, and are expected to receive lengthy bans from the game.
CHELSEA SACK JOSE MOURINHO
After a poor start to the 2015/2016 Premier League campaign, Chelsea finally cut ties with Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho who returned to Chelsea in 2013 after leaving Real Madrid led them to the EPL title and also the Capital One Cup last season.
Unfortunately Chelsea did not get the best of starts this season as they have already lost nine league games, including four home losses.
They currently lie 16th in the league table, and are just one point above the relegation zone.
This latest sacking is Mourinho’s second at Chelsea, having also been fired in the middle of the 2007/2008 season.
LEICESTER CITY’S AMAZING PREMIER LEAGUE CAMPAIGN
After finishing 14th in the 2014/2015 English Premier League season, it was believed that Leicester City would be one of the teams that will be fighting for survival in this current campaign. But to everyone’s surprise, the Foxes are top of the league table.
Coached by the tinkerman himself, Claudio Ranieri, Leicester have only lost one league game, which was a 5-2 home loss to Arsenal.
Since then, they’ve been churning out impressive results among which include a 2-1 win against incumbent champions Chelsea.
Also, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, who now holds the record of scoring in 11 straight league games, is the leading goal
scorer with 15 goals.
CHELSEA’S POOR RUN OF FORM
Nobody saw this coming but Chelsea, who only in May were crowned champions, are currently 16th in the Premier League table, one point above the relegation spot.
The Blues have only managed four victories so far, and have gone on to lose nine league games. Even Stamford Bridge which used to be a fortress, is now a place where even teams such as newly promoted Bournemouth can claim maximum points.
That poor run of form ultimately led to Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
BARCELONA’S TREBLE WINNING FEAT
After winning their first ever treble in 2009 under Pep Guardiola, Barcelona replicated the feat again in the 2014/2015 seaon under the guidance of another former player Luiz Enrique.
With the deadly trio of Lionel Messi, Luiz Suarez and Neymar, known as the MSN, Barcelona brushed aside every opposition before them, to claim their second treble in their history.
They finished top of the Spanish La Liga with 94 points, ahead of eternal rivals Real Madrid, who were second with 92 points.
In the Copa Del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao, which took place inside the Nou Camp, Barcelona triumphed 3-1.
And to cap a wonderful season, the Blaugrana faced Serie A giants Juventus, who were also aiming to win the treble. And after 90 minutes of exciting football, goals from Ivan Rakitic, Luiz Suarez and Neymar, secured a 3-1 win for the Catalan giants.
RONALDO’S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE GOAL SCORING RECORD
Reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo, set a record for goals scored in the group stage of the Champions League of 11 when he netted four against Malmo this season.
The Portugal forward made it 3-0 to Real six minutes before halftime at the Bernabeu and added three more goals in the 47th, 50th and 59th minutes of an 8-0 win over the hapless Swedes.
Ronaldo, who has reached double figures for a fifth consecutive Champions League campaign, extended his all-time Champions League scoring record to 88 goals.
KARIM BENZEMA SEX TAPE SCANDAL
Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema could face five years in prison after being charged with “complicity in an attempt to blackmail” international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
With the scandal unfolding, both players were left out of the France squad for their friendly matches against Germany and England.
A source in the investigation said that Benzema had admitted approaching Valbuena about the sex tape “on behalf of a childhood friend” who himself had been contacted by blackmailers. The “friend” has a previous conviction for armed robbery.
The gang are said to have threatened to release the tape ahead of the Euro 2016 tournament in France next year unless he paid €150,000 (£107,000). It allegedly featured intimate footage of Valbuena with his partner shot on his mobile phone.
RIVALDO COMES OUT OF RETIREMENT AT 43
Ballon d’Or and 2002 FIFA World Cup winner Rivaldo came out of retirement at the age of 43 to help struggling Brazilian second division outfit Mogi Mirim.
Having enjoyed illustrious stints with Barcelona and AC Milan, Rivaldo’s career wound down a decade ago as he spent several spells in modest surroundings, including Greece, Turkey and Angola, before eventually calling time on his career last year.
However, he decided to come out of retirement in an attempt to kick start Mogi Mirim’s campaign, where he is club president.
ARSENAL’S RECORD 12TH FA CUP WIN
Arsenal are officially the most successful club in FA Cup history after clinching their 12th title.
Arsene Wenger’s side clinched the Cup with 4-0 victory over Aston Villa at Wembley back in May to retain the title following
last season’s 3-2 triumph over Hull City.
Victory sees Arsenal overtake Manchester United, who have 11 titles to their name, and move four above North London rivals
The win was the club’s sixth under Arsene Wenger, and the Frenchman now moves joint-first with legendary Aston Villa manager
Wenger has now lifted the FA Cup more times than Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson, who won the trophy five times
during his 26 years at Old Trafford.
CHILE WINNING THEIR FIRST EVER COPA AMERICA TITLE
Chile finally laid their hands on a major trophy after emerging winners of the 2015 COPA America on home soil.
Star striker, Alexis Sanchez, converted the game-winning penalty kick as Chile defeated a star-studded Argetine side 4-1 on penalty shootout after 120 minutes of football failed to yield any goal from either side.
Chile converted all four of their spot kicks, while Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega missed for Argentina, as Chile claimed the Copa America crown for the first time in history.
TERRORIST ATTACK DURING FRANCE VS GERMANY FRIENDLY
The world of football was shaken to its roots towards the end of 2015 when a horrendous terrorist attack on Paris hit the venue of the France versus Germany friendly match among other targets.
Thankfully, the attempt on the stadium was not successful but well over 100 innocent souls were lost in concert halls, restaurants and the streets to the mindless, brutal attacks.
Football was adversely affected as matches got cancelled and security became heightened at match venues.
MESSI’S TAX EVASION SCANDAL
The year 2015, will go down as one with both the good and the bad for Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi, who was charged with tax evasion by the Spanish authorities.
Messi and his father Jorge were accused of defrauding the authorities of more than 4m euros (£3.1m; $5m).
It is alleged that they withheld the money between 2007 and 2009.
The income related to Messi’s image rights, including contracts with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company.