A look back at football in 2017
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 26, 2017 06:36 AM
Neymar's jump to Paris Saint-Germain was arguably the biggest football story of 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
As usual, the biggest game in the world provided some of the biggest talking points of 2017 in the world of sports.
Here are some of the biggest stories from the beautiful game in 2017!
Neymar jumps to PSG
(AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Arguably the biggest story of the year was star Brazilian striker Neymar Jr. jumping from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in a record-breaking transfer for 262 million US dollars, making him the most expensive player in football history.
The 25-year old made a name for himself in FC Barcelona from 2013-207, playing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
In his first 20 matches with PSG, Neymar has already made an immediate impact with seventeen scored goals.
No Cup For You
(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Another big story in the football world this year was the United States’ failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Needing just a draw against a lowly Trinidad and Tobago team in their last qualifying match, the US ended up conceding, 2-1, closing the door on their 2018 World Cup chances. The American side hasn’t missed a World Cup since 1990.
The US wasn’t the only big name that failed to book their ticket to Russia, however.
Four-time World Cup champions Italy failed to qualify as well, missing out on two chances to seal a spot.
Powerhouse Netherlands won’t be joining the festivities as well, and neither will Chile.
Hoist ‘Em High!
(AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
A number of powehouse clubs found their way back to the top of their respective leagues, as the Antonio Conte-led Chelsea won their fifth Premier League title by dominating the table and finishing seven points ahead of Tottenham.
Bayern Munich also returned to the top for the fifth straight year with a dominant performance in the 2016-2017 German Bundesliga. The record-holding 27-time champions finished way ahead of the field, with second-placers RB Leipzig coming 15 points behind.
Juventus captured their record-setting sixth-straight Serie A crown, their 33rd in club history, finishing just four points ahead of runners-up AS Roma.
Monaco ruled the French Ligue 1, winning their first title since the 1999-2000 season, finishing way ahead of Paris Saint-Germaine.
But speaking of champions…
(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
2017 definitely belonged to Real Madrid.
The perennial Spanish powerhouse eked by rivals Barcelona to clinch their 33rd Spanish La Liga title, and then blasted through the best that Europe had to offer, taking out Napoli, German champions Bayern Munich, and Atletico Madrid to reach the final, where they faced off against Italian champions Juventus, winning via a commanding 4-1 final to become the first team to retain the UEFA Champions League crown, their 12th overall.
Add in a UEFA Super Cup crown.
Just another year at work for the Spanish champs.
Terror strikes Dortmund
In April, the tour bus of German club team Borussia Dortmund was attacked with roadside bombs as they were on their way to Westfalenstadion for their Champions League match against Monaco.
Fortunately, there were no casualties, as only player Marc Batra and a policeman sustained injuries.
After multiple claims involving terrorist groups, a man was ultimately arrested when it was found that he had been behind the bombing. His intent: to get Dortmund’s stock to collapse and profit from it.
On the Brink of History
Over on the local front, the Philippine Azkals found themselves in the brink of history as they’re a win away from earning a spot in the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in federation history.
The Philippine men’s National Team dismantled Nepal and bested Tajikistan to jump to an early lead in Group F of the Asian Cup Qualifiers. After back-to-back draws to Yemen, the Azkals found themselves needing just one more win to make Philippine football history.
Unfortunately for the Pinoy side, they were held to a draw by Yemen, and the chance at history will have to wait until March of 2018.
After a seven-year run, the United Football League closed up shop in 2016, but it paved the way for a brand new club league to rise in the Philippines.
Enter the Philippines Football League.
The PFL officially launched in April, and the first set of matches were played in early May.
Eight teams, namely Ceres-Negros FC, Global Cebu FC, FC Loyola Meralco Manila, Stallion Laguna FC, JP Voltes Marikina FC, Kaya Makati FC, Davao Aguilas FC, and Ilocos United FC, made up the inaugural season of the PFL, with powerhouses Ceres-Negros and Global Cebu figuring in the finals.
Ceres-Negros ultimately claimed the inaugural PFL Championship, beating Global 4-1.
Ateneo, DLSU reign in UAAP football
After coming up painfully short in UAAP Season 78, the Ateneo Blue Eagles made sure that they wouldn’t suffer that kind of heartbreak again.
Led by collegiate phenom Jarvey Gayoso and a cast of talented rookies, the Blue Eagles dominated the UAAP Season 79 football tournament, losing only once in the eliminations and then taking down UST in the semifinals and Far Eastern University in the Finals for their first championship since UAAP Season 75.
It was indeed a magical season for the Katipunan-based squad, and with a lineup that’s generally intact heading into UAAP Season 80, they could be in for another tremendous season.
Over on the women's side, the De La Salle women's football completed a perfect season, sweeping the eliminations and claiming their ninth UAAP women's crown, and their first since UAAP Season 72.