After a thrilling World Cup which saw Germany steal Brazil’s thunder, the domestic seasons across the world return with higher expectations than normal. And they didn’t disappoint with too many moments to mention. In order to capture as many of them as possible, we have pulled together an A-Z list of the season that was, highlighting those great achievements, the miserable moments and sometimes the downright bizarre. Enjoy!
A – A is for Aberdeen who pushed Celtic all the way in the title race in the Scottish Premiership; and for Auckland City who won the OFC Champions League for the fifth time in a row.
B – B is for Bournemouth, Bristol Rovers, Burton Albion and Bury who all secured promotions from various English leagues and for Bolivar who won their 24th title in Bolivia. Its also B for Blatter and more importantly Chuck Blazer whose testimony could end up bringing FIFA’s corruption to an end.
C – C is for former Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro who faces jail for breaking in to his own house to go for a dip in the pool and for Chelsea who won their fourth Premier League title with an eight point margin over second place Manchester City.
D – D is for Dost and De Bruyne who inspired Wolfsburg to second place in the Bundesliga and ruined Jurgen Klopp’s leaving do by beating his side in the DFB Cup final. Its also for FC Dila Gori who shocked Georgian football on route to their first ever title and for Memphis Depay who inspired PSV to glory in the Eredivisie before departing for Manchester United.
E – E is for Eibar, the little club from the Basque country who have managed to stay in La Liga for another season despite finishing third from bottom after 13th placed Elche were relegated due to unpaid taxes.
F – F is for the FBI who finally brought FIFA to its knees with a series of arrests and a mountain of confessions and for Luis Figo who gave everyone the briefest of hopes by running for FIFA president before eventually dropping out in disgust.
G – G is for Germany, who not only embarrassed the World Cup hosts Brazil on their own backyard but won the trophy in dramatic fashion and for Girona who won promotion to La Liga for the first time in their history. G is also for Gibraltar who began their first ever journey towards a international tournament by competing in the European Championship qualifiers and for Steven Gerrard who played his last game for Liverpool before joining LA Galaxy.
H – H is for Hearts who went unbeaten until January on route to the Scottish Championship title, ahead of arch rivals Hibs and favourites Rangers. H is also for Hamburg who after a torrid season managed to save their place in the Bundesliga next season with a late strike against Karlsruher in the playoff final.
I – I is for the Ivory Coast who finally ended a twenty three year wait to lift the African Cup of Nations and for Inverness Caley Thistle who won their first ever Scottish Cup and with it secured a place in Europe next season. I is also for FC Ingolstadt who will play their first ever Bundesliga season next year after securing promotion.
J – J is for Juventus, the Italian champions for the four consecutive year as well as the Coppa Italia and a place in the champions league final. J is also for Jorge Jesus, the new manager of Sporting Lisbon after sensationally leaving arch rivals Benfica to join them, the first manager ever to cross the divide.
K – K is for Harry Kane, the Tottenham and England striker who has been a revelation this season for club and country and is also for Kasier Chiefs, not the band but the Johannesburg side who regained the South Africa title with a record breaking 21 wins in 30 games.
L – L is for Luiz Adriano who was on fire in the Champions League scoring nine goals in seven appearances and for Leicester who despite being bottom of the Premiership at Christmas managed to survive with thanks to their pragmatic manager (see P). L is also for Lens who crashed out of Ligue 1 primarily due to a court order forced them down.
M – M is for Mourinho, the Chelsea coach who steered his side to yet another title and one more for his growing collection. M is also for FC Metalist who managed to lose all six of their Europa League group games and for FC Midtjlland who proved that the moneyball theory can work in football as they breezed to the Danish title for the first time.
N – N is for Norwich and their inspirational manager Alex Neill who guided them back in the Premiership despite having only taken over five months previously. N is also for Newcastle who imploded after the departure of Alan Pardew and almost got relegated before a last game of the season win saw them saved.
O – O is for Michael O’Neill, the Northern Irish manager who has transformed the once whipping boys of European football into a real force that stands a strong chance of qualifying for France 2016. O is also for Olympique Marseille who pushed PSG all the way in Ligue 1 for most of the season before faltering at the last hurdle.
P – P is for Nigel Pearson, Leicester media friendly manager who turn around the fortunes of his side by creating a siege mentality and for PSG who won the domestic treble whilst PSV snatched the Eredivisie title away from Ajax. It is also for Parma who were declared bankrupt by the Italian courts and fell out of Serie A for the first time in their history.
Q – Q is for Qarabag, the Azerbaijani champions who shocked Europa League finalist Dnipro in the group stage with a 1-0 win whilst holding Inter Milan and Saint Etienne to a draw. Q is also for Queens Park Rangers who dropped back out of the Premiership only a season after winning promotion to it from the Championship.
R – R is for Ronaldo who scored an amazing 48 goals this season in La Liga, 5 more than Lionel Messi and for River Plate who won the Copa Sudamerica this season only four years after being relegated from the Primera Division
S – S is for Sevilla who beat Dnipro in the Europa League final to secure back to back cups and for Stjarnan FC, the new Icelandic champions for the first time in their history. Finally S is for Sassuolo who continue to impress in Serie A, this time finishing 12th despite many tipping them early on for relegation.
T – T is for Luca Toni who at 38 has showed that he is still a lethal striker by finishing the Serie A season as joint top goal scorer with 22 goals and for Thomas Tuchel, the man chosen by Borussia Dortmund to fill Jurgen Klopps shoes.
U – U is for Peruvian side Universidad Cesar Vallejo who came from behind to beat Alizana Lima and win the final of the Copa Inca.
V – V is for Andre Villas Boas, the former Tottenham and Chelsea boss who has finally hit his stride again by winning the Russian title with Zenit. V is also for Videoton who retained the Hungarian title after a four year absence. V is also for Jamie Vardy, the one-time non-league player who now finds himself in the England squad after an impressive season at Leicester City.
W – W is for Watford for gaining promotion back to the Premiership and for Western Sydney Wanders who won the AFC Champions League title by beating Al Halil in the final.
X – X is for Xavier Alonso who has rolled back the years, becoming a key player for Bayern Munich this season and also for Spanish midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez who called time on his Barcelona career after 24 years at the club.
Y – Y is for Ashley Young, the once forgotten man at Manchester United who has been a revelation this season as a utility player under Van Gaal.
Z – Z is for Zenit St Petersburg who under Villas Boas secured the Russian title and for Zidane who continues to lie in wait for his chance at the Real Madrid managers job.