Tension, drama and surprises - 2008 had it all in footballing terms. Fans from all four corners of the globe certainly got their money's worth as the beautiful game proved just how beautiful it can really be. Emotions were the order of the day, and 2008 certainly had more than its fair share of tears of joy and sorrow and heart-rending moments.
Beijing 2008 was one of the high points of the year, with the Men's and Women's Olympic Football Tournaments being won by Argentina and the USA respectively. And then, mere days after Lionel Messi had helped the Albiceleste defend their golden crown from Athens 2004, Europe became the final confederation to begin qualifying for the next edition of the biggest event on the footballing calendar: the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Thrills and spills on grass, sand and indoors
Goals rippled the back of the net left, right and centre, and not just on grass. The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup may not have taken place on the legendary Copacabana beaches of Rio de Janeiro, but Junior Negao and Co. provided enough samba soccer flair for Brazil to successfully defend their title over in Marseille. One tournament that was held in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain was the FIFA Futsal World Cup, and again Brazil emerged victorious. Women's football also showed that it has an exciting future ahead of it, with Korea DPR and the United States taking home the silverware from the keenly contested FIFA U-17 and U-20 Women's World Cups in New Zealand and Chile respectively.
Even fresher in the memory is the FIFA Club World Cup, where the red-hot favourites Manchester United played up to their reputations and treated fans in Japan to some sparkling football. This success came mere months after Sir Alex Ferguson's star-studded squad triumphed in one of the most dramatic UEFA Champions League finals in history, beating Chelsea on penalties and earning the right to travel to Japan to meet planet football's other continental kings. And speaking of continental supremacy, who can forget the jubilation shown by Spain and Egypt as they celebrated their hard-earned and well-deserved titles at the UEFA EURO 2008 and CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2008 respectively?
These were of course the stories that grabbed all the headlines, but maybe you have your own special memory from 2008. Was it a certain club winning promotion or a title, or perhaps an epic derby victory for your favourite team? Or did your hero score a classic goal that will live long in the memory of all those who saw it? Share your experiences and emotions with your fellow FIFA.com users and give us your answer to the following question:
What was your favourite footballing moment of 2008?
Remember that comments should always be respectful of others and made in the spirit of fair play. We look forward to hearing from you.