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Remember when some celebrities died in 2016 and we were convinced it was the worst year ever?
2020 has made an absolute mockery of 2016.
We are not quite sure we can find the words to sum up the year so we will let others from around the football world and beyond do it for us.
Nick Cushing announced that he would step down as Manchester City’s women’s coach in January to take over as assistant coach in New York City.
However, City still had five games to play between Cushing’s announcement and the game in February. What were they like, Nick?
“In these last five games I felt like I was separated from my girlfriend, but I still live in the same house as her.”
Experts often hit the nail on the head when it comes to analysis.
Sometimes we should leave it to well-spoken British actors.
Hugh Grant tried to explain who Norwich City was to co-star with Matthew McConaughey during Football Focus‘The Premier League predictions in January, and they perfectly summed up Daniel Farke’s likeable but ultimately very beatable top flight team.
“Oh, they are lovely. They play in a yellow fool.”
Crowds have been absent from much of the soccer fields since March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
For fans, the absence of soccer on a Saturday afternoon left a void in their lives, and the absence of fans left soccer with a similar sense of emptiness.
Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa and his faithful translator were the ones who best articulated the importance of football fans (via Leeds Live).
“Everyone who is part of this business that football has become is replaceable. The only people who cannot be replaced are you, the fans. The people who ask for nothing in return, just emotions.”
Sometimes the shortest dates are the best.
In June it was announced that Everton full-back Luke Garbutt would be leaving the club at the end of the month after 11 years at Goodison Park (though to be recognized with six separate loan periods).
Carlo Ancelotti was asked what he thought about the player. He paused to carefully consider which words would be most suitable for Garbutt, before replying:
Bury has had a hard time in the last 18 months, and in August the club issued a statement keep fans updated on his latest attempts to regain his EFL status.
So far so normal.
The statement then concluded with:
“Finally, on an unrelated matter. “
And when they said unrelated, they meant unrelated.
Then came an attack on the BBC, the license fee, and the Last Night of the Proms controversy.
“The Suits that roam the corridors of power at the BBC decide that one of our biggest events, which when you watch it makes you proud to be British than we were, but certainly not what we risked becoming. Now it seems who have determined that we can no longer sing soulful songs that united our GREAT COUNTRY together, it again appears that the moral compass of the few controls the majority. IT IS INCORRECT “
Bayern Munich’s 8-2 win over Barcelona in August was one of the most ridiculous, scandalous and iconic football moments of 2020.
Bayern headed into the match on a strong run of form, undefeated in 2020 and with a 100% Champions League record during the 2019/20 campaign. However, Barcelona’s Arturo Vidal was quick to warn Bayern not to be complacent.
“Tomorrow they don’t play against Bundesliga teams but they will play against FC Barcelona, the best team in the world.”
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Antonio Conte was in a very good mood after Inter’s departure from the Champions League.
The Serie A side drew 0-0 with Shakhtar Donetsk in their last group match to leave Europe, and when asked by a journalist how his team had managed to play two draws at home and away against Shakhtar, after having them beaten 5-0. In August, Conte replied:
“They lost 5-0, so they switched. Think before asking questions.”
Scotland provided one of the highlights of 2020 as the men’s team qualified for a major tournament for the first time in 23 years through a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Serbia.
Celtic’s Ryan Christie gave a beautiful and emotional full-time interview that captured what each Scotsman was feeling as he tried to describe seeing the kicks on the spot, before simply concluding:
“Ohhhhh. I left.”
Most footballers feign modesty when asked about individual awards; they don’t really matter, everything about the team, etc.
However, Chelsea Women’s boss Emma Hayes admitted in a very refreshing way that she was absolutely thrilled to be nominated for the FIFA Best Female Coach award (via Sun) – before returning to earth when she talks about her choice of attire for the ceremony.
“I have a lot of musician friends who lived in the United States when I lived there. And I tell them, ‘This is like being nominated for a Grammy or an Oscar.’ Apparently I have to wear formal clothes. But why, ‘I’m going to be home in a computer, I think I’m going to put something over my pajamas. “
Soccer lost a true great in November when World Cup winner Diego Maradona passed away.
Summarizing Maradona’s flawed genius is impossible, but a conversation between an Uber driver and a journalist Roberto Lioi is the best way to describe why the imperfect Argentine was so contagiously adored.
“Messi is what every Argentine would like to be. Maradona is what we are.”