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2017 World Football Round-up

World Football in 2017: biggest winners, losers, and shocks to remember

December 31, 2017 By Michelle Bonsu
Ahead of 2018, LiveSoccerTV.com takes a look at what transpired over the past calendar year, as there were plenty of talking points from across world football.

Suffice it to say, 2017 has been an interesting year, and football is certainly no exception. Plenty of records were set, and there will be plenty more to be broken in 2018. Aside from records, there were also quite a few interesting news stories from around the world, and ahead of the upcoming New Year, we've decided to take a look at some of the most notable.

Neymar's mega-money move

Paul Pogba set the prior transfer record last summer when he moved from Juventus to Manchester United. Who would have thought that just a year later that record would be not just broken, but totally obliterated? Well, that's what PSG did by buying Neymar from Barcelona for a whopping €222 million (or about $263 million) in a deal sent shockwaves around the world. And the scary thing is, that record is surely to be broken sometime in not the not-too-distant future.

Neymar's move to PSG in 2017 shattered the previous record set by Paul Pogba's move to Man Utd in 2016

Crotone pull off the ultimate great escape

Italian football fans will be quite aware of this story, but others who don't follow calcio probably aren't. To summarize, Crotone were featuring in their first ever campaign in Serie A last term, and after 29 rounds, were looking set for the drop. The Squali had won just three games all term prior to April 2nd, when they took on Chievo - and won.

Following that, they suddenly sprung to life, winning all but one of their last eight matches to secure 17th spot and survival in Serie A for another term. Impressively, along the way, they beat Inter and Lazio, drew AC Milan and only lost to Juventus. Now in their sophomore term, they presently sit in 18th halfway through the season, but don't bet against them from rebounding yet again in 2018.

Monaco's Ligue 1 triumph

Just when people were starting to think that Ligue 1 was becoming a one horse race - like the Bundesliga - Monaco went on to upset the odds and knock PSG off their perch. Les Rouges-et-Blancs, led by Portuguese tactician Leonardo Jardim and spearheaded by an attack featuring veteran striker Radamel Falcao and young star Kylian Mbappe ended Les Parisiens' hold on the Ligue 1 title in resounding fashion in May.

Monaco won their first Ligue 1 title in 17 years by beating Les Parisiens to the title by eight points last term

Onwards and upwards for RB Leipzig

2009. That's the year RB Leipzig were founded, making them younger than all their players, staff, and their fans. But that hasn't stopped die Bullen from rapidly climbing the ranks, as they became the first team in German football history to win back to back promotions from the 3.Liga to the 2.Bundesliga in successive terms. In 2017, they showed no signs of stage fright in their debut top flight campaign. Of course, they ended up finishing second behind Bayern Munich - no surprise there - but it was still an impressive output that helped them qualify for their first ever Champions League tournament.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang etching his name in the history books

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 31 goals during the 2016/2017 term weren't just enough to win the coveted Torjägerkanone, but he becomes the second African player since Anthony Yeobah won back-to-back titles in 1993 and 1994 to achieve this. Can he successfully hang on to his top scorer prize in 2018?

Aubameyang beat Lewandowski by one goal to clinch the coveted Torjägerkanone prize in May. He's the second player (other than Lewandowski) to reach 30 or more goals since Gerd Muller did so in the 1970's

Italy fail to qualify for World Cup

Other teams that failed to qualify included the Netherlands, Ghana, and the USA. However, Italy's absence will be the most keenly felt, as the Azzurri had participated at every tournament since 1958. Ironically perhaps, the last time they did fail to secure a berth, it was hosted by none other than Sweden - the same team who denied Gigi Buffon the chance to be at a history-making sixth World Cup next year.

Regardless of whatever team one supports (except Sweden, perhaps), one couldn't help but feel sorry for Gigi Buffon after Italy's failure to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958

Carlo Ancelotti's sacking

This perhaps wasn't the biggest shock of 2017, but it was still noteworthy as Ancelotti has made history as the first manager to win at least one title in all of Europe's "Big 5" leagues. However, that long and impressive record of trophies wasn't enough to prevent Bayern from sacking him on September 28th and replacing him with former manager Jupp Heynckes.

Harry Kane in some elite company

Harry Kane's hat-trick against Southampton set some notable records, including becoming the first Premier League player to score six hat-tricks in a calendar year. Notably, the 24-year-old English striker, who is rapidly making a name for himself as one of the best attackers in Europe, scored 56 goals in 2017.

Kane has been showing he's not just a one season wonder with his impressive form for both club and country over the course of 2017

That wasn't just enough to put him ahead of Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi as the top goal-scorer in Europe's top leagues but also marked the first time in seven years that Messi or Ronaldo didn't end the calendar year as the top marksman in Europe.

Juventus showing the Old Lady's still got it

Juventus may not have been able to complete a Treble last term, but La Vecchia Signora managed to win a sixth straight Scudetto in May. That sets Massimiliano Allegri's men ahead of the rest, as no team have ever been able to win six Scudetti in a row...and they are hoping to make it a lucky seventh once Serie A resumes action in a few days' time.

Juventus now have won six straight Scudetti...and although they're in second, Napoli will be obviously looking over their shoulders

Manchester City's amazing run...how long can it continue?

Earlier today, Manchester City were so close to winning 19 games on the trot. Had they done so, the Sky Blues would have matched a record of consecutive wins in any of Europe's "Big 5" leagues, which was set by Bayern Munich back in the 2013/1014 season. The coach in charge of Bayern? Pep Guardiola, who has been flying high in his second term. Despite failing to pick up all three points, Manchester City are still unbeaten this term, leading some to wonder if they can match Arsenal's historic squad of 2003/2004.

UNSTOPPABLE? Manchester City have yet to lose a game so far...will they be able to keep this up in 2018?

Zinedine Zidane's historic win in Cardiff

Real Madrid clinched their 12th Champions League title in Cardiff this past June, which makes them the first team to win back to back titles since AC Milan did so in 1989 and 1990. Bayern Munich were the last team to win three in a row - from 1974 to 1976 - and Zidane's troops will obviously be hoping to emulate that in 2018.

Will Zidane be able to lead Real Madrid to another UCL title? They'll have to find a way past PSG first...

 

Diego Maradona's record broken

Another one Serie A fans will certainly remember for a long time. On December 23rd, Napoli beat Sampdoria 3-2, and skipper Marek Hamsik didn't just grab the game winner, but he also broke Diego Maradona's long standing record that had been in existence since 1991.

Hamsik has etched his name into Napoli's history books as the team's all-time top goalscorer

And that's not all. With 116 goals, Hamsik is guaranteed to score more, and having made 478 appearances, he certainly could catch and eclipse the 511 made by defender Giuseppe Bruscolotti from 1972-1988.

So there we have it - some of the most interesting stories of 2017. There were certainly a lot more, but obviously we couldn't include everything in this piece. What will 2018 have in store, especially with the World Cup on the horizon? We'll all be waiting to find out!


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