2016/17 Football Season in Photos

28 August 2016, Hoffenheim: Local fans’ banners ironically mock RB Leipzig.

Built from the scratch in a tiny German village, Hoffenheim have gone against all traditions of Bundesliga football, gaining considerable success thanks to the investments of a local businessman, Dietmar Hopp. However, when corporate-owned team from Leipzig has gone the same way, only with a foreign energy drink sponsorship that rules with the iron fist – TSG fans did not hesitate to unveil several witty banners during the direct confrontation.


 

15 October 2016, Naples: Roma relentlessly storms the San Paolo fortress.

Unbeaten at home last season, Napoli were looking to further extend their amazing run and their convincing wins over Milan, Bologna and Chievo only fueled this ambition. Unfortunately for them, it was also the time when Roma striker Edin Džeko, 31, has hit the form of his life, scoring 29 league goals to win the Serie A Golden Boot. In Naples, the Bosnian giant struck twice and Giallorossi took the three points to back to the capital.


 

17 October 2016, Liverpool: Adorable cat invades the pitch in Merseyside.

This handsome fella showed up at the Anfield Road’s pitch minutes before the kickoff of a huge game between Liverpool and Manchester United. It was the third time in five years when a feline invaded the field of play owned by The Reds – although it’s always been distinctly different, furry individuals, who’d visit. The October cat has brought LFC a dull, 0-0 draw, allowing himself to steal several headlines at ‘the real highlight of the evening’.


 

18 December 2016, Manchester: The ‘RIP İlkay Gündoğan’ tribute makes it’s debut.

Four days after the knee injury ruled out the ex-Dortmund playmaker for the rest of the season, his teammates uncorked one of the most absurd gestures of support, wearing the shirts with the German’s name prior to the game against Arsenal. Such move, so far reserved exclusively for deceased or debilitatingly ill football personalities, has soon come under fire from the online community, sparking dozens of memes and parodies.


 

1 January 2017, London: Olivier Giroud scores an outrageous scorpion kick.

17 minutes into the game against Crystal Palace, Arsenal’s French forward has opened the score in a most stunning way, backheeling an overhead kick to finish Alexis Sánchez’s cross. Unlike Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s similar goal for Manchester United, this was actually a perfectly legitimate strike, as Giroud wasn’t offside when landing his acrobatic volley. Too bad that it mattered so little: AFC would only finish fifth and missed out on the Champions League….


 

15 January 2017, Sevilla: The hosts shatter Real Madrid’s invincible run.

Before this game, Zinedine Zidane’s men have recorded a 40-game unbeaten streak. Still: Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán is not a very hospitable place. The visitors might’ve taken the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty, but the late own goal by Sergio Ramos and an injury-time winner by Stevan Jovetić have collapsed their dreams of an ‘invincible’ campaign. If only Sevilla was just as good away from home – they’d stand a chance for a top-three!


 

28 February 2017, Brighton: Mohamed Diamé comes up with a fluke wondergoal.
Two teams, one Championship title. Newcastle United against Brighton and Hove Albion. In a crucial, direct encounter, NUFC were trailing after just 14 minutes and their forward Diamé blocked two shots from… his own teammates. On a third occasion though, the already-deflected strike would deflect again off his heel and freakishly loop just under the crossbar, providing the late equalizer which inspired a 2-1 comeback. Newcastle prevailed!


 

11 April 2017, Dortmund: Borussia’s team bus is hit by a homemade bomb.
Less than two hours before the Champions League quarterfinal match against Monaco, the explosions of three roadside bombs have damaged BVB’s bus, delivering two, minor injuries to centre-back Marc Bartra and a policeman escorting the team on a motorcycle. The ensuing investigation revealed that the attack was a part of a plot masterminded by a Russian citizen, who wanted to damage the stock price of Borussia’s shares and make profit from it.


 

13 April 2017, Lyon: riots and chaos during the Europa League game.
Besiktas’ fans did not improve the notoriously suspect reputation of Turkish football fans. During the Europa League quarterfinal rematch with Olympique Lyon, they’ve instigated the fights in the stands by throwing projectiles and fireworks into the home sides’ crowd. Trapped and endangered by the riots, many fans seeked the refuge on the pitch, ultimately delaying the match that was won by the hosts 2-1 after an equally tense battle.


 

18 April 2017, Madrid: Arturo Vidal gets booked and sent off for a fair tackle.
An exciting Champions League tie between Bayern and Real Madrid comes to an abrupt end when referee Viktor Kassai removes Vidal from the field of play after the Chilean makes suspiciously-looking but ultimately clean, ball-winning tackle on Marco Asensio. Later that night, Cristiano Ronaldo’s two offside goals are not getting disallowed and the Spanish side goes through after a thrilling, yet very suspicious extra-time scramble.


 

20 April 2017, Manchester: Zlatan Ibrahimović suffers a terrible injury.
It was a painful season ending for Zlatan. At the age of 35, the Swedish forward has finally moved to England and defied logic by scoring 28 goals in 46 appearances for Manchester United – the number that should not be possible at his near-retirement age. It all ended during the Europa League game against Anderlecht, when Ibra fell awkwardly and broke his right leg. MU went on to win the competition – but that’s hardly a consolation…


 

23 April 2017, Madrid: Lionel Messi silences Santiago Bernabéu.
In perhaps the most entertaining ‘El Clásico’ in years, Barcelona have managed to beat Real Madrid in their back yard thanks to Messi’s last-gasp stunner. Before that happened, the Argentinian superstar scored one more goal and drew several fouls from his rivals – one of which resulted with a red card to Sergio Ramos. As it turned out: that victory was only Barça’s consolation prize, as the La Liga title has gone to their sworn enemies anyway.


 

25 April 2017, London: Tottenham release photos of their new stadium’s construction.
800 million pounds. 61559 seats. 180-bedroom hotel and a supermarket nearby. Eight years of planning and legal bureaucracy; two years of pure engineering effort. While the current Spurs’ team enjoys their best results in several decades, the construction of their new ground known as ‘New Tottenham Stadium’ is progressing steadily. A year from now, they’d be able to enjoy their new home; for the moment, though, they’ll stick around at Wembley.


 

9 May 2017, Turin: Gianluigi Buffon consoles Kylian Mbappé.
At 39, Buffon is a Juventus legend, a World Cup winner, the most capped Italian footballer in history and the most expensive goalkeeper of all time. On the other hand, Mbappé, 18, is rapidly becoming the young superstar after a season in which he scored 21 goals in 40 goals across all competitions for Monaco. Here, the veteran goalie comforts his young opponent, as Juve had little trouble dispatching ASM in the Champions League (4-1 on aggregate).


 

12 May 2017, West Bromwich: Michy Batshuayi seals Chelsea’s title.
Signed for a massive, £33 million fee from Marseille, the Belgian forward has been severly underused in London, where he’d make only a single Premier League start through the whole season. Nevertheless: he’d eventually earn his little moment of glory at Hawthorns, where his team would bang it’s head against West Bromwich Albion’s defensive walls for 81 minutes – only to see their most expensive substitute to score the late, title-deciding winner.


 

14 May 2017, Rotterdam: Dirk Kuyt celebrates the Eredivisie triumph.
18 years. It’s been 18 years since the giants from Feyenoord have lifted their last Dutch title. After being repeatedly humiliated by the rivals from Ajax and PSV, the team from De Kuip finally finally prevailed, winning the title on a final day by a mere one point. Veteran Kuyt, 37, won his first league trophy in style, providing 12 goals and 4 assists – including the decisive hat-trick in the last game of the season, against Heracles Almelo.


 

17 May 2017, Moscow: Spartak Moscow in heaven after winning the Russian title.
An early penalty, scored by highly-rated Dutch winger Quincy Promes was enough for ‘Narodnaya Komanda’ to beat Tom Tomsk on May 6th and achieve their first domestic league success in fifteen years. Being forced to live in the shade of either Zenit St. Petersburg or the local rivals from CSKA, the fans in Red and White couldn’t help themselves and eventually invaded their beloved team’s pitch after the season’s finale against Terek.


 

21 May 2017, Rome: Lazio fans are bidding farewell to their rivals’ legend.
“Best of enemies, farewell, Francesco” – reads the banner unveiled by SS Lazio’s ultras group, Gli Irriducibili. They’ve been referring to Francesco Totti, the 40-years old captain and AS Roma’s superstar, who’s annouced his retirement from football after 25 years spent at a single club. The man in question, with 619 Serie A appearances marked by 250 goals, one league title and one World Cup under his belt, couldn’t have asked for a bigger praise.


 

28 May 2017, Crotone: Local side celebrates a miraculous Serie A survival.
After losing 22 out of their first 29 league matches this season, the smallest club in the Italian top-flight was doomed to a drop. However: from April onwards, the Calabrese side has turned everything upside-down by winning six out of nine remaining games and narrowly securing their Serie A status on a final day, thanks to a 3-1 home victory against Lazio. As the paper sheet in the picture says: “Pardon us all for staying up!”


 

3 June 2017, Cardiff: Real Madrid lift their twelfth Champions Cup.
It was a smooth walk in the park for the royal Spanish side to defend the trophy they’ve picked up last season. In Wales, Juventus, seemingly unbreakable in the previous games, had an abysmal second-half performance. The Italians completely collapsed after Casemiro’s long-range, deflected shot that snuck into the back of Buffon’s net, giving Madrid the 2-1 lead. Two more goals later, Los Blancos earned their fourth trophy of the season.

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