Harder than it looks?
You’ve got to feel for Gorka Iraizoz.
The Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper did what few of his contemporaries have done before him — score a goal from a set piece. Even better, Iraizoz’s textbook header off the 95th-minute free kick had given his side an unlikely late equalizer against Malaga.
If it wasn’t for that heartless referee Antonio Mateu, that is.
The match official called the goal back for a mystery foul, crushing Iraizoz’s dreams to finally etch his name into the La Liga scoring charts and Athletic Bilbao lore.
Here, see if you can spot a foul. We’ll wait:
Image provided by Reuters.
Botev Plovdiv manager Velislav Vutsov got a little excited when his team scored the first goal in their Bulgarian league match against defending champion Ludogorets:
Is that Fred Flinstone?
Unfortunately, Vutsov would not do any more running. Ludogorets came back to win, 3-1.
Sharing your last name with an international superstar is tough.
To share it with “The Biebs,” well, that just might be the single hardest thing in the world, especially nowadays.
Alas, such is the fate that has befallen young Christopher Bieber, a soccer player for German fourth division club Würzburger Kickers. But rather than getting down on his luck for undoubtedly being the butt of every joke in Würzburg, the German Bieber has taken some important steps to distance himself from the pop idol.
He’s got his own cool nickname - “Bibo!” - for one, and, rather than performing songs about love and trying to act like a badass, the footballing Bieber is just straight-up badass.
How else can you explain this goal? A diving header… while lying down!
Baby, baby, baby (oooooh)! Eat your heart out, Robin van Persie. That is the greatest “diving” header goal we’ve ever seen.
Not even Orlando Bloom could hate on those skills.
This summer has produced yet another arms race between the elite clubs in Europe. Real Madrid signed James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, Barcelona scooped up Luis Suarez, and Chelsea reloaded with the likes of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas.
Bayern Munich? They’ve been rather quiet, but for good reason.
The German champions did their best business back in January, when it was announced that Robert Lewandowski would join them on a free transfer. You’d be forgiven to have forgotten about him, since he couldn’t star at the World Cup and all.
But on Monday against third-division side Duisburg, in his first test as a Bayern player, the Polish goal machine announced his arrival with an impressive goal:
GIF via Pies
Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku already looks in World Cup form.
The Everton striker (on loan from Chelsea) scored a hat trick against Luxembourg in the Red Devils’ first tune-up game, with his third being particularly impressive. Watch as he splits two defenders like a banana:
Okay, so we are only talking about Luxembourg here. But thanks to plays like that, Belgium’s Group H opponents are sure to have nightmares of the bullish striker in the weeks to come.
Promotion to the Championship was on the line for League One clubs Rotherham and Leyton Orient on Sunday, and the high stakes evidently brought out the best of Rotherham’s Alex Revell.
With Leyton holding a 2-0 lead early in the second half, the striker notched two goals in five minutes to get Rotherham level. His second was an absolute firecracker:
GIF via @bubbaprog
The only thing better than that sweet strike? His manager’s priceless reaction:
Steve Evans is probably still running and fist-pumping somewhere.
Revell’s brace sent the playoff final into extra time, and after thirty more minutes of drama, Rotherham won 4-3 in penalties to clinch back-to-back promotions and return to England’s second division for the first time since the 2004/05 season.
The location was the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, and the occasion was the first UEFA Champions League final played between two teams from the same city: Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Thousands of fans who couldn’t score a ticket to Lisbon watched from their respective home stadiums in Madrid. And since Real’s Bernabeu and Atletico’s Vicente Calderon are located just five miles from one another, they probably could hear each others’ chants as if they were at the game:
— Mark Donaldson (@DonaldsonESPN)May 24, 2014
Okay, on to the match.
It started out, well, strange. Diego Costa, Atletico’s hobbled star striker, was subbed off after just nine minutes. And no, nobody could figure out why he started in the first place.
The third-fastest substitution in European Cup final history (Getty Image).
It didn’t seem to matter, at least at first.
Diego Godin — who scored last weekend’s winner against Barcelona to clinch the La Liga title — struck again to give Atletico a 1-0 lead before halftime, profiting from Iker Casillas’ huge error:
It would stay 1-0 for what seemed like an eternity to Real Madrid fans. The 90th minute passed, the game was in stoppage time, and Atletico could already taste their first ever Champions League triumph.
But then, with only 120 seconds left on the clock, Sergio Ramos did THIS:
BOOM! You should probably listen to Gus Johnson’s incredible call for that goal. Pure madness:
Real were level, Atletico were denied the trophy at the death, and Casillas, the man responsible for the first goal, was easily the happiest man on the field:
We were going to extra time, and we needed a hero.
That’s when Gareth Bale paid back every single penny from his $130 million transfer from Spurs last summer:
Gus Johnson, once again, you are the greatest.
Watch the goal again, and again… and a few more times:
It was the first goal ever scored in extra time of a final in the Champions League era. And it wouldn’t be the last.
Suddenly in the mood, Real went on to score twice more — one being a Ronaldo penalty kick — to put the game under wraps. More importantly, this gave Ronaldo a chance to remove his shirt:
And with that full-body flex, Real Madrid were crowned Champions of Europe:
The celebrations spilled over to the media conference room, where Carlo Ancelotti was ambushed by a pack of his rowdy players:
Of course, in Madrid the party was just getting started as well:
Over in Madrid… happy fans making their way to city-centre Cibeles statue to celebrate Real’s Decima European Cup: pic.twitter.com/fwDPYofZq5— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax)May 24, 2014
Though not everyone in the Spanish capital was probably in the mood:
Ah yes, euphoria and heartbreak - the two inherent components to every final. See you next season, Champions League.