Soccer is a game that is loved by many. And by many, I mean around 3.5 billion estimated fans. And you don’t amass a following such as this without a few historically epic moments under your belt. In fact, soccer history is filled with them.
The important thing to remember about soccer is that everything is on the line for these teams and supporters. Everyone watches on the edge of their seats. Every pass, every play, every tackle, every shot. They all matter.
And no two games are ever the same. Each one is unique. And both players and teams can really surprise us with certain moments in soccer that will never be forgotten.
From goals that just don’t seem real to underdog teams rising from the ashes, you never know what will happen next.
And in this article, we’re going to go back over some of the best moments that soccer has blessed us with throughout the years.
Soccer’s Most Epic Moments
1. Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand Of God’ Goal
If you ever mention the name Diego Maradona, the first thing that comes to mind is this epic Hand Of God goal (see also ‘How Many World Cups Did Maradona Win?‘). Before the days of VAR, rule decisions came down solely to the referee.
During the 1986 World Cup in Mexico Maradona, playing for Argentina, scored a handball goal that was not overruled.
Maradona also scored another goal, while England, the opposing team, was able to score just one goal. This meant that Argentina won the game and knocked England out of the world cup.
After the match, Maradona was asked how he scored the goal to which he replied ‘A Little with the head of Maradona and a little with the Hand of God.’
2. Pele Greets Ronaldo After Brazil’s 2002 World Cup Win
When it comes to soccer, Brazil are no strangers to trophies – especially where the World Cup is concerned.
In fact, during 2002 the country would come to win their 5th World Cup. And while the win itself was definitely worth a watch, there was one moment after the game that fans would never forget.
One of Brazil’s Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) players Pele would come up and greet Ronaldo Nazario during the awards ceremony.
The picture of the legendary number 10 player celebrating the current number 9’s victory goal was a captured moment that Brazilian fans would remember for years to come.
3. Roberto Carlos’ Iconic ‘Banana’ Free Kick
There are often times in soccer when certain balls are played in a way that is just breathtaking and totally perplexing. And Roberto’s ‘Banana’ free kick during the 1997 Tournoi de France.
The ball appeared to be going massively wide and into the crowd. It had the fans fooled. It had the keeper fooled. However, surprisingly it swerved back, glanced the inside edge of the post, and then sunk into the back of the net.
This free kick resulted in the win and for all involved, the mind still boggles at how such an impressive goal was scored.
4. Messi Scores His First Goal For Barcelona
Messi has become one of the most well-known soccer players over the years. In fact, in the debate of who is the all-time greatest player, you’ll hear his name pop up a lot.
And while during his career he has scored well over a whopping 600 goals, it is that very first one that is revered as one of soccer’s best moments.
When the rising star first sunk his first goal into the net, he celebrated by jumping on the back of his teammate Ronaldinho. This moment has since been regarded as the passing of the torch from one amazing player to the next.
5. Leicester City Win The Premier League
As is always the case with soccer, you have teams in the league that are expected to be battling each other for that much-coveted top spot. Then you have other teams that well…not so much.
Leicester by no means was a team that you’d expect anywhere above the mid-table. But during 2015 and 2016, in a classic example of an underdog victory, soared through the table and became Champions of the English Premier League.
6. David Beckham Gets Sent Off In 1998 World Cup
David Beckham is one of those soccer player names that anyone will instantly recognize. But during the 1998 world cup, his notoriety would be for all the wrong reasons with headlines such as 10 Heroic Lions, 1 Stupid Boy hitting the newspapers.
During the game, Beckham would go on to unnecessarily kick out rival teams player Diego Simone. This resulted in a straight red card and thus Beckham would receive the title of England’s biggest World Cup villain…oops.
7. Oliver Kahn Consoling The Opposition Keeper
While long-standing rivalry has come to be expected during soccer, sometimes players surprise us with random acts of kindness that cannot be forgotten. Such a moment was seen during the 2001 Champions League Final.
Oliver Kahn, the keeper for Munich was seen consoling a devastated Canizares after Valencia’s loss.
8. Liverpool’s Touching Tribute To Ronaldo’s Son
Liverpool and Manchester United have been rivals for so long now it’s hard to remember when it all began. However, the animosity didn’t stop the kind-hearted Liverpudlians from paying a touching tribute to Man U Player Christiano Ronaldo (CR7).
In the 7th minute of the Manchester United v Liverpool game, fans gave a one minute’s silence followed by a massive applauding and singing of You’ll Never Walk Alone. This was done following the tragic announcement that Ronaldo and his wife had lost their baby boy.
There are so many unforgettable moments in soccer, and these only begin to skim the surface. There are so many other epic moments in the history of the sport. Were your favorite moments on the list?