A reflective overview of 2015 in soccer
The year 2015 will always remain special for Barcelona. The Catalan giants became the first ever European club to win the treble twice. Not only did Luis Enrique’s men broke many records in their way, but they also ended the year with a total of five major trophies.
The trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar netted over 120 goals for the Blaugrana giants and they are also being touted as the best-attacking partnership in the history of the sport. They decimated defenders all over the world and are still continuing to give nightmares to the opponents. Lionel Messi’s performance over the year has made him the frontrunner for the Ballon d’Or award, which will be announced on January 11, 2016.
The two biggest surprises of 2015 were the stories of the rise and fall of Leicester City and Chelsea respectively. Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester are currently ruling the roost in the Premier League while the reigning Premier League champions are just a few points above the relegation zone. The condition of both the clubs have reversed from the end of last season to the end of 2015. Jose Mourinho lost his job at Stamford Bridge following his side’s downfall in the first half of the season, and the Portuguese boss is now rumored to take on the job at Manchester United. No one could’ve predicted such scenes at the start of 2015/16 campaign.
Chile won the 44th Copa America on home soil by defeating Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the final. Following the disappointment of 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Messi was again left heartbroken as he couldn’t win a major trophy with the national team despite reaching two finals in two years.
United States Women’s National Team won the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Canada. They faced Japan in the final on July 5 and defeated them to win their third world championship.
Corruption allegations have dogged FIFA for years, but everything changed May 27 when Swiss agents (working with the U.S. Department of Justice and its attorney general, Lynch) raided the fancy Zurich hotel housing FIFA honchos and made a series of arrests connected to racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Within days FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced he would be leaving his post—FIFA would ban Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, the two most powerful people in world soccer, for eight years—and by the end of the year, more than 40 soccer officials and marketers had been charged in the U.S. investigation.
Iceland qualified for Euro 2016 in France after beating Netherlands (the team that finished third in the 2014 World Cup. It will be Iceland’s first ever major tournament while the Dutch will miss out. The European championship next year will consist of 24 teams rather than 16 teams like on previous occasions.
Many major player and manager transfers also took place in 2015. Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool while Guus Hiddink became the interim manager at Chelsea. Rafa Benitez took on the job at Real Madrid after the Spanish giants sacked Carlo Ancelotti from the helm.
Manchester United’s latest signing, Anthony Martial, was also awarded the ‘2015 Golden Boy’ trophy.