CBC Sports Online's soccer expert, John Molinaro, takes you inside the world of soccer and offers his insights about the action on the pitch and in the front office.
Soccer's very best of 2007
Monday, December 31, 2007 | 11:28 AM ET
So many memories, so many great games, so many fantastic players, so many lasting stories.
Here's a look back at the best of the beautiful game in 2007….
Best player: There could only be one choice, Kaka. AC Milan's Brazilian star swept all the major awards and guided the Rossoneri to their seventh Champions League title. No doubt Manchester United fans will argue for Cristiano Ronaldo, but Kaka out-performed the Portuguese star by a wide margin in the Champions League, club soccer's biggest stage, by leading the tournament in scoring with 10 goals.
Best team: Again, only one choice, and it's AC Milan. Yes, the Rossoneri were less than impressive in Serie A and should not have even been allowed to compete in the Champions League, but they did end up winning the tournament (beating Man U along the way) and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Best goal: Lionel Messi's effort against Getafe in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey was a thing of beauty and conjured up memories of Maradona's famous goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.
Best game: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, El Gran Classico. Spain's two biggest teams produced another classic match at Barcelona's Nou Camp back in March, as Messi netted a hat trick during a 3-3 tie in a 90-minute, thrill-a-second contest played at a breakneck pace
Best story: Has to be Iraq winning the Asian Cup. A team drawn together from all parts of the Gulf overcame the odds to defeat heavily favoured three-time Asian champion Saudi Arabia in the final and provide a beacon of hope for a country divided by war.
Best fans: Toronto FC supporters didn't have much to cheer about in 2007. The expansion franchise stumbled to a 6-17-7 record and finished dead last in MLS, but Toronto supporters packed into BMO Field game after game, producing the best pro sports atmosphere in the city.
Best Canadian: A couple of names to choose from (Pat Onstad, Dwayne De Rosario, Julian de Guzman), but my vote goes to Jim Brennan, who showed great leadership, heart and skill in leading an inexperienced Toronto FC side during its first season in the league.
Best moment: With the world watching, Canada sets a new FIFA U-20 World Cup attendance record by drawing a total of 1,156,187 spectators in 50 games, surpassing the previous mark set in Mexico 24 years ago. When Sepp Blatter handed out the gold medals to tournament winners Argentina on a makeshift stage in the middle of BMO Field back in July, it was the culmination of a brilliantly-organized competition that captured the imagination of sports fans all across the country.
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About the Author
John F. Molinaro is a reporter for CBC Sport Online whose chief love is international soccer. John served as senior editor of Sports Online's Euro 2004 website, which helped him win a CBC.ca Award of Excellence, and was the driving force behind our coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He holds an honours BA in sociology from York University and a print journalism diploma from Sheridan College, and is also the author of The Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time (Stewart House, 2002).
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