Sensations, celebrations and some remarkable success stories have made 2009 an unforgettable year in the beautiful game. Now, as the year draws to a close, FIFA.com looks at the statistics that have underpinned its most memorable moments.
Real Madrid supporters turned up to salute Cristiano Ronaldo when the world’s most expensive footballer was unveiled at the Bernabeu in July. This staggering crowd eclipsed the previous record turnout for a player presentation, when Diego Maradona was acclaimed by 75,000 Neopolitans in 1984 after making his historic move from Barcelona. Ronaldo, at €80 million, had just broken the world transfer record, surpassing the benchmark set by Real predecessor Zinedine Zidane, who had cost the Madrid giants €75.8 million.
teams, a record high, took part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ preliminary campaign, and by November only the final 32 remained. The qualifiers, which were fought out by 5602 players, were watched by a staggering 19.3 spectators – also a record – making for an all-time high average attendance of 23,000.
years after establishing a football association, Switzerland claimed the first world title of their history at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria. This unlikeliest of triumphs was secured on the back of memorable victories over the likes of Brazil, Germany, Italy and, ultimately, the hosts and defending champions, Nigeria. It was the high-point of a memorable year for the Swiss, who also qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals and embarked on a remarkable run to the final of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
years of hoping and praying came to an end for Argentina’s Banfield earlier this month when they secured the first top-flight title of their history. The feat earned El Taladro a new world record, with their 113-year wait eclipsing that of Swedish outfit Hammarby, who had existed for 104 years before claiming their first national championship in 2001.
goals between Grafite and Edin Dzeko established the Wolfsburg duo as the most prolific strike partnership in the history of the Bundesliga. The Brazilian contributed 28 goals and his Bosnian counterpart 26 as the tally of 53 amassed by Gerd Muller and Uli Hoeness in seasons 1971/72 and ’72/73 was surpassed en route to the first title of Die Wölfe's history.
years, four months and 11 days after a 16-year-old by the name of Paolo Maldini made his professional debut, the curtain came down on the legendary defender’s career when he made his 902nd and final AC Milan appearance on 31 May. The 40-year-old retired as the most-selected player in the history of I Rossoneri, Serie A and, with 126 caps, the Italian national team.
successive international wins was the new record set by Spain when they defeated hosts South Africa during June's FIFA Confederations Cup. As well as surpassing the previous benchmark of 14 set by Australia, Brazil and France, La Roja also equalled Brazil’s world-leading run of 35 games unbeaten. Spain’s sequences did, of course, come to a dramatic end in their very next match with a shock defeat to USA, but they bounced back by qualifying for South Africa 2010 with an unprecedented record of 10 wins from as many matches.
goals from Dominic Adiyiah established the young Ghana striker as the star of the Black Satellites’ memorable FIFA U-20 World Cup triumph. The free-scoring Ghanaians beat Brazil to become the first-ever African winners of FIFA’s second-biggest tournament, while a record number of supporters - 1,295,586 – turned out to watch the matches.
years of exile for Iraq ended in July when the northern town of Irbil and Bagdad staged back-to-back matches against Palestine in July. The Iraqi players also succeeded in producing performances worthy of this historic homecoming, claiming comprehensive 3-0 and 4-0 victories, the latter of which was watched by a crowd of over 50,000.
major trophies in a single calendar year – a feat never before achieved – was the sum total of Barcelona’s extraordinary efforts in 2009. Under rookie coach Pep Guardiola, the irresistible Catalans prevailed in every competition they entered: La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and, earlier this month, the FIFA Club World Cup.
successive FIFA Women’s World Player awards was the unprecedented feat achieved by Marta a couple of weeks ago, taking the Brazilian on to a new level in the female game. At just 23, the Los Angeles Sol star has now surpassed legendary predecessor Birgit Prinz, who won the award in three successive years. The FIFA World Player Gala also witnessed Lionel Messi engrave his name in the record books as the first-ever Argentinian to win the men's award.
FIFA Confederations Cup titles, the most recent of which was secured on 28 June, have established Brazil as the most successful team in the history of tournament known as 'the Festival of Champions'. A Seleção’s triumph, which culminated in their memorable comeback win over USA in the final, edged them ahead of France, who had won the tournament twice, in 2001 and 2003.
successive top flight titles have only ever been won by a trio of English clubs: Huddersfield Town, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. No-one had ever managed a second run of three consecutive championships until United managed the feat in May of this year, and in doing so equalled Liverpool's long-standing record of 18 league titles. Arguably the highlight of the Red Devils’ season had been an English record stretch of of 1,334 minutes without conceding a goal. Ryan Giggs also made history, becoming the first man in history to win 11 English top flight winners medals and, on Day 1 of the 2009/10 season, maintaining his record as the only player to score in each and every Premier League campaign.