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24/12/2017 09:46 SAST | Updated 24/12/2017 09:54 SAST

Football's Best Moments In 2017... And Then There's Bafana Bafana

The beautiful game certainly gave us great moments to remember, and some others we'd all like to forget (look away, Bafana).

The year that was in sports saw records broken, careers ended and stupendous transfer records shattered.

The beautiful game certainly gave us moments worth remembering, and many others we hope we'll forget (side-eyes Bafana Bafana).

From January through December, we rank some of the best and worst, most controversial and humorous moments in footies from around the world.


JANUARY -- Cameroon's road to glory begins in Gabon

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
(Photo by Fared Kotb/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

African powerhouses Cameroon finally fulfilled their potential as one of Africa's greatest when they beat Egypt to be crowned the 2017 African Nations Cup champions, the tournament officially kicked off in January and would be concluded in early February in the showpiece final in Gabon.

Cameroon won their fifth title after defeating seven-time champions Egypt 2-1 in the final with Vincent Aboubakar scoring the winner. The journey for 'The Indomitable Lions' started off in the beginning of the year, finally saw them rewarded in February when they clinched their fifth title. The first in 15 years.

FEBRUARY -- Zlatan Ibrahimovic hands Manchester United the EFL Cup

Reuters Staff / Reuters

Prior to his move to the 'Red Devils', Zlatan Ibrahimovic was a world class striker who had won a trophy in every league in which he has played (Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France). There were, however, suggestions among the British media commentariat that he still had to prove himself.

And that he did: Zlatan won United's first trophy during the Jose Mourinho era as he scored two goals in the EFL Cup final against Southampton [final score 3-2] to help United regain its spot as the best team in England, and proved to be one of the signings of the season.

MARCH -- Barcelona inspires the greatest comeback in the history of football

Getty Images
(Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)

The odds were certainly not in their favour after losing 4-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 knockout games against Paris Saint Germain. Barcelona needed to score six goals in a single game if they were to achieve a reversal of fortunes.

It looked impossible, but not for the mighty Barcelona: the side achieved a staggering comeback as they overturned a 4-0 deficit and ended up winning 6-1 on the night and 6-5 after two legs with Sergi Roberto scoring the winning goal in the final seconds of the game.

APRIL -- Lionel Messi positions himself as the worlds greatest player

AFP/Getty Images
. / AFP PHOTO / OSCAR DEL POZO (Photo credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

Tied at 2-2 after 90 minutes with only seconds to play, Lionel Messi rose to the occasion and scored one of his most celebrated goals against rivals 'Los Blancos'. Real Madrid taking on Barcelona in the 'EL Clasico' in April, consequently, landed up being one of the biggest games of the year.

Read: World's Best Player Lionel Messi Shows Exactly Why, And Oh Wow

Messi scored a 90th-minute winner and darted straight to the corner line where roaring Real Madrid fans cheered as he removed his shirt, making sure the Santiago Bernabeu would know exactly how great he felt. It was an iconic celebration from football's arguably most iconic player.

The goal, and subsequent celebration secured Lionel Messi's position among many observers as one of football's greatest ever players. Take a listen to some of the commentary:


MAY -- Bidvest Wits, Chelsea, Real Madrid and AS Monaco crowned champions of their leagues

Gallo Images via Getty Images
(Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Premier Soccer League (PSL) dark horses Bidvest Wits were crowned PSL champions for the first time in their club's history, managing to push aside African champions Mamelodi Sundowns and secure the coveted title.

Zinedine Zidane and his Real Madrid side also won their first La Liga title in five years, surpassing rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in what was undoubtedly a successful year for Los Blancos. AS Monaco from France also beat out PSG which had a stranglehold on Ligue 1.

Finally, Antonio Conte in his first season in English football won the title with his Chelsea side in what was a remarkable season for the Italian player.

JUNE -- Lionel Messi gets married

Lionel Messi

Taking a brief break from the beautiful game, Barcelona and Argentina football superstar Lionel Messi tied the knot with his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo, now Antonella Messi in a private wedding in Rosario, Argentina during June.

Read: ICYMI: Here Are The Best Snaps From Lionel Messi's Wedding

LIONEL MESSI

The wedding was hosted in a private location in Rosario, and had the glitz and glamor of a Hollywood union. Messi scored a goal of a lifetime: his wife, Antonella.

JULY -- Germany wins the 2017 Confederations Cup

Germany

Germany won the 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup in Russia and now holds two of Fifa's prestigious international trophies (including their 2014 World Cup triumph). Germany is enjoying the fruits of their labour and is touted as the team on top in international football.

Read: Germany's 2017 Confederation Cup Triumph Shows How They Are Monopolising International Football

Germany has incrementally secured their position of dominance: following their 2009 Under 17 European Championship win, the country went on to win the 2014 World Cup, 2015 Under 19 European Championship, 2017 Under 21 European Championship and 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup.

German football titles:

World Cup: 🏆🏆🏆🏆

Confederations Cup: 🏆

European Championship: 🏆🏆🏆

Euros Under 21: 🏆🏆

World Cup Under 21: 🏆

Euros Under 19: 🏆🏆🏆🏆 🏆🏆

Euros Under 17: 🏆

AUGUST-- Neymar becomes the world most expensive player ever.

Courtesy of BR/Football

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior officially became the world's most expensive football and sports star in history, when he was signed by French club Paris Saint Germain for a world record fee of £197m (approximately R3.5-billion).

Read: The World's Most Expensive Player -- And What His Price Tag Means For Football

The transfer was finally made official following months of speculation, and one of the brightest stars of football left Spanish club Barcelona for PSG to begin a new adventure.


SEPTEMBER -- Corruption haunts Bafana Bafana

Bafana Bafana

South Africa had won the match 2-1 [against whom?] back in November last year when a fortuitous penalty award to Bafana Bafana won them the game. The referee, however, soon went under review following complaints by the Senegalese national team and was found [when] guilty of "unlawfully influencing match results".

Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey was found guilty of match manipulation and was subsequently banned for life from all football activities by FIFA.

Read: 5 Reasons Why Bafana Bafana Will Always Break Your Heart

He had awarded the penalty to South Africa in their 2-1 win for a handball, but replays showed the ball hit Senegal's Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly on the knee.

OCTOBER -- South African goalkeeper Oscarine Masaluke nominated for Fifa Puskas award

KickOff

A spectacular overhead kick goal in the dying moments of a football game is what gives fans the thrill of the game.

To have that goal nominated for the prestigious FIFA Puskas award, which is the best goal scored anywhere in the world, is what dreams are made of.

FIFA

Notably, the player is not a striker nor a midfielder. He is a goalkeeper.

Oscarine Masuluke's wonder goal for Baroka against Orlando earned him an honourable nomination of which any striker in the world would be proud.

Here is the worldie Masuluke scored that got him Puskas nomination:

NOVEMBER -- Bafana Bafana miss out on Russia 2018

Bafana Bafana

Bafana Bafana's 2-0 loss to Senegal in November smashed hopes the team would qualify for the Russia World Cup in 2018.The equation was simple: win both games, and Bafana Bafana would be on its way to Russia next year.

Read: Senegal Sends Bafana Bafana Packing: Goodbye Russia 2018🇷🇺 🏆

And they bottled it...

The South African national team hasn't qualified for a World Cup in 15 years since the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea.

Football

(This photo above surely sums it all up, no?)

DECEMBER -- Cristiano Ronaldo crowned the best player of 2017

Angel Martinez via Getty Images
(Photo by Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images)

Real Madrid and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo ended off 2017 with his 5th Ballon d'Or to equal Lionel Messi and was crowned the best player of 2017.

Ronaldo scored 42 goals across all competitions during the 2016-17 season, leading Real Madrid to a La Liga and Champions League double.

Here's to 2018! (With hopes Bafana will at some stage return to glory).