This is one moment that while being absolutely iconic and unforgettable, is also terrifying for Liverpool fans, even today. In 2014, Liverpool came extremely close to finally winning a Premier League title after 2 decades. They were top of the league towards the end of the season and looked pretty unbeatable. However, in a match against Chelsea, something happened that still makes fans cover their eyes in horror. In the second half of the match, the Liverpool captain, legendary midfielder Steven Gerrard failed to control a simple pass played to him. Then, he slipped and this allowed Chelsea striker Demba ba to bear down on goal relatively unchallenged. The match ended in Chelsea victory and also helped Manchester City to the title. While still considered a Liverpool legend and rightly so, that slip has left an undeniable blemish on Gerrard’s otherwise impeccable career as a footballer. However, the fact that every year fans continue to remember the slip on the day that it happened, makes it completely iconic and unforgettable.
Higuita scorpion kick (1995)
In a game that was supposed to be a friendly international between England and Colombia in 1995, the Colombian goalkeeper, Rene Higuita, produced one of the most iconic and fearless things a goalkeeper could ever do - a scorpion kick save. Higuita was known for being eccentric and entertaining even as a goalkeeper. He was a great dribbler and a brilliant freekick taker too. However, it was this scorpion kick that cemented his place among the most iconic players to have played football. You all know the moment I am talking about; no one can not have seen that video clip. It made a virtually forgettable 0-0 friendly, a match to be remembered. Years later, Higuita claimed that he had been waiting for years to pull that move off. I think we can all see from his face after he made that save that he was indeed very pleased with himself.
The 2006 World Cup will always be remembered as the ‘one with the zidane head butt’. In the final of the 2006 world cup, France played against Italy, and lost on penalties. Moments earlier, Zidane headbutted Italian player Marco Materazzi in the chest and was sent off with a straight red. I don’t know about you, but that seems to be the only thing I can remember from that entire world cup campaign; the definition of iconic. Apparently, Materazzi said some questionable things about Zidane’s family and with the testosterone pumping, Zidane thought the best thing to do was ram his head into the man’s chest. Materazzi of course also added his own theatrics to it and rolled about on the ground until the time that Zidane was sent off. Regardless, you can’t help but wonder if given the chance again, would Zidane do things differently? To be sent off in a world cup final and then to lose it must account for a great deal of sadness and guilt. Either way, it remains an extremely iconic moment, one that will be remembered for many years to come.
Even though City are one of the big clubs today, it was only in the 2011-12 season that they won their first premier league title, although to their credit, they have managed to do this difficult feat a handful of times since then. The way they won it however, could not be any more dramatic. Who would win between Manchester City and United was brought down to the very last day of the league. Both Mancunian clubs had the same number of points, however, due to goal difference, unless United won by a record 10 goals or more against Sunderland, if Man City won against QPR, they would win the league for the first time. QPR were hardly an elite team, however, at the Etihad, they made things very difficult for City. In fact at the end of the 90 minutes, the score was 2-1 to QPR. United seemed to have won the title, however, in the last five minutes something akin to a miracle happened. First Edin Dzeko equalized for City. However since United had won their match, a draw would still mean defeat for Manchester City. Then, with barely a minute of added time to go, Balotelli, in the penalty area, while falling anaged to pass the ball to Sergio Aguero who then expertly and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net. The players went crazy, the crowd seemed close to madness with tears streaming down their faces. It was an iconic moment in itself, however what made it so much more unforgettable is the commentary that Martin Tyler provided in the dying seconds of the match.
“Manchester City are still alive here...Balotelli...AGUEROOOOO!!!”
Finally, perhaps the most iconic, notorious moment belongs to the Argentinian football icon Diego Maradona during the 1986 World Cup. In the quarterfinals against England, He scored one of the most controversial and well remembered goals of all time. As the ball was launched into his path, Maradona jumped up and seemed to head the ball into the back of the net to give Argentina the lead. However, closer examination of the grainy footage shows that it was not with his head but his hand that Maradona had guided the ball in. This was brought up much later and by that time, nothing could really be done about it. Maradona has never shied away from accepting that he used his hand. In fact, the famous “hand of god” phrase comes from him when in an interview he claimed that the goal was scored “a little with the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of god (spanish: la mano de dios). Maradona never seems to regret either, claiming that given the chance, he would do it again. An absolute icon in every sense of the word!
I know that I have left out many other iconic moments, but there are simply so many that it is hard to quantify them. It is moments like these that make us love football even more.