Even amid a lingering global pandemic, sports went on and even returned to some form of normalcy in 2021. From stellar individual achievements to exceptional team accomplishments, 2021 had plenty of notable sports moments.
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- Ronaldo Returns To Man Utd
August 2021 saw Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the greatest of all-time, return to his former club Manchester United. His first performance back in a red jersey saw him score twice in their win against Newcastle. The 36-year-old’s two-year contract delighted many United fans, who were ecstatic to see their talisman of old back after 12 years spent at Real Madrid and Juventus. A sense of confidence around the club was restored after his return and despite their struggles on the pitch this season, Ronaldo has been the man to lift United time and again, often with crucial late goals
- Messi Leaves Barcelona
While Lionel Messi’s eternal foe might have shocked the world by returning back to Manchester United, he also finally cut his playing ties with his boyhood club Barcelona to join French giants, PSG in a record deal. This came even after Josep Bartomeu resigned as Barcelona’s president and Joan Laporta was elected as the new president.
Messi’s exit from Barcelona was quite an emotional one that left him crying in tatters.
- Italy Wins Euro 2020
Two old war-horses Giorgio Chellini and his friend and club side colleague Leonardo Bonucci both showed the world that defenders too can win tournaments as they helped their National side go on a 37-games unbeaten record and lift the Euro 2020.
Italy defeated England at Wembley to win the Euros 2020, with coach Roberto Mancini, midfielder Jorginho, goalie Donnarumma all winning big at the tournament after a number of stellar performances.
- England Makes It To The Final Of Euro 2020
The Three Lions were so close to winning the European Championship 2021 for the first time but fell agonisingly short as they lost out to Italy on penalties. After Luke Shaw scored in the second minute, confidence around Wembley steadily grew, but the Italians began to ramp up the pressure in the second half. Leonardo Bonucci scrambled home from a corner on 67 minutes and the game looked set to go the distance. Ultimately all the pressure fell on the shoulders of Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka as he stepped up to take England’s final penalty with them trailing 3-2 in the shoot-out. It wasn’t to be, as Gianluigi Donnarumma saved and English hearts sank. The national heartbreak this game caused stretched far and wide, but the journey through the tournament was still something to be remembered.
- Max Verstappen Wins Formula 1 2021 season, Defeats Lewis Hamilton
Arguably the most controversial sporting moment of 2021 was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen’s winning of the F1 World Championship title. An incident-packed season saw a fierce rivalry develop between Verstappen and seven-time World Champion and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and it all came down to the final race in Abu Dhabi. The two drivers were level on points, and the season was decided following a reversed decision involving the safety car’s presence that ended with Verstappen passing his rival on the final lap. Despite his loss, Hamilton is still favourite to win the Drivers’ Championship in 2022.
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- Lionel Messi Wins An International Competition With Argentina:
Arguably the greatest player ever, Lionel Messi finally won an international trophy with his National side Argentina after retiring from international football and later making a u-turn, he is now a national team champion.
Lionel Messi won Copa America with Argentina, and just last month he also won his 7th Ballon d’Or.
- Teenager Emma Raducanu Wins US Open
This list wouldn’t be complete without Emma Raducanu’s performance in the US Open. Upon entering the competition, Raducanu was ranked 150th in the world, yet 10 matches later she was holding the US Open trophy, along with the title of being the first British woman to win a grand slam singles title since Virginia Wade in 1977. She beat Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the final, capping an extraordinary run where she didn’t lose a set all tournament. Raducanu’s heroics led to her recently being voted BBC Sports Personality Of The Year, and her star is likely to continue its upward trajectory in 2022. Emma is tipped to become WTA world number 1 by the end of next year.
- Leicester City Wins FA
Leicester City led by Jamie Vardy becomes the first side outside the top six sides of, Manchester United, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal to have won more than at least two top-flight trophies in the last 10-years in the EPL. With Youri Tielemans bullet of a shot, the Foxes defeated Chelsea to win the English FA Cup. While narrowly missing out on the top-4 spot in the league.
- Lille LOSC Wins Ligue 1, At PSG’s Expense
The French Ligue 1, saw a team crowned the champions of the highest level of professional football in France. Lille LOSC led by Turkish striker and Portuguese defender Jose Fonte crowned the champions of France deposing the Parisien giants PSG after 9-seasons of dominating the league.
- Tokyo 2020, Finally Took Place In 2021… That’s the message the Olympics in Tokyo Japan finally took place after it was purported that it might be cancelled or suspended. It tournament took place for the first without having fans, supporters and family members at the competition arenas. The world witnessed seeing the athletes celebrate their feats through monitors with their family members, coaches and even supporters.
- Denmark Reaches Semi-final Of Euro, Despite Christian Eriksen Collapsing On The Field
The Danes made the semi-finals, but they will be most remembered for what happened when their talisman, Christian Eriksen, collapsed with cardiac arrest in their opening match against Finland. The captain, Simon Kjaer, rushed to Eriksen’s aid, organised the players into a protective circle as the paramedics worked, and comforted Eriksen’s distraught partner Sabrina. We are, as this showed, made human by those who hold us close, who come to our aid, and who circle the wagons around us when we fall.
- Aguero Forced To Retire Due To A Heart Issue
Manchester City’s former super striker and its all-time highest goalscorer, Kun Aguero saw his footballing career come to an abrupt end. The striker had during the summer of 2021 called it time in the EPL, moving to Barcelona only to go on the field and fall to the ground holding his chest. He was later diagnosed with arrhythmias” – which is an abnormality of the heart’s rhythm. After detailed examination and treatment, Kun Aguero was advised to retire from football. He retires from football after spending just 4-months at Barcelona and playing just 5-games and scoring once.
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- Inter Milan Wins Serie A, Dethrones Juventus After 11-Season
Inter Milan clinched their first Serie A title in 11 years on Sunday after Sassuolo drew 1-1 with second-placed Atalanta to assure Antonio Conte’s side of the league crown.
- Chelsea Wins UEFA Champions League
Chelsea turned an initial season of turmoil into the ultimate victory after they beat Manchester City in Porto, to lift the Champions League for a second time. Kai Havertz, assisted by Mason Mount, scored the winning goal in the 42nd minute to put the Blues ahead and some inspired defending kept out the Manchester side as they pressed for an equaliser in the second half. It was a particularly notable success for new Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who led his team to victory just 124 days after he took over following the departure of Frank Lampard.
- Simone Biles withdraws from Olympic competition
It takes courage to perform top-level gymnastics, but no less courage to walk away in the heat of competition. Simone Biles did so for her own self-preservation — a gymnast risks serious injury when they have “the twisties” and can no longer sense their position in the air — but in doing so she shone a light on the intense, unrelenting mental pressure that top sportspeople are under. They dedicate their lives to excelling and judge those lives by their success. She proved there’s more to it than that.
- Olympic High Jumpers Decide To Share GoldThe delayed Tokyo Olympics provided many memorable moments, but more of sad moments from the Nigerian perspective, with Blessing Okagbare and 10 other Nigerian Olympic athletes disqualified and bundled out of the competition without even getting an opportunity to compete. Nigeria won only 3-medals at the tournament, 2 Bronze and silver. However, arguably the most joyous moment of the 2021 Tokyo 2021 came when high jumpers Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Essa Barshim decided to share the Olympic title rather than face a jump-off. Tamberi was thrilled with Barshim’s offer and instantly accepted it before jumping into his rival’s arms.
- Milwaukee Bucks Wins After Losing First 2 Games Of Series Finals
It took the Milwaukee Bucks just three seasons into their existence to win the franchise’s first NBA championship in 1971. The second one took a little longer — a half-century to be exact. Led by superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA Finals MVP after he averaged 35.2 points, 13. 2rebounds and 5.0 assists in the title series, Milwaukee overcame losing the first two Finals games at Phoenix by winning the next four — including the final three games by a combined 17 points. The Bucks’ triumph overshadowed a stellar Finals from Phoenix’s own star Devin Booker, who twice scored 40 or more in that series.
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