Football is a game that evokes emotion like no other sport on this planet. The reason being the deep cultural roots it has across the globe. Any fan of the “beautiful game” will understand that there is more to football beyond statistics and tactical battles. In this article, we will take a look at the five unforgettable individual achievements in football this century.
#5 Suarez’s 31 goals and 12 assists in 2013/14 PL season
An achievement that is rarely mentioned on the same breath as others in the list is Suarez’s mind blowing numbers in 2013/14 PL season. Ronaldo and Salah have also scored the same number of goals in a PL season but Suarez assisted more while playing lesser games. After biting Ivanovic the previous season, Suarez had to sit out for the first 5 PL games of the season.
After biting Ivanovic the previous season, Suarez had to sit out for the first 5 PL games of the season. Suarez’s favorite opponents in that season was Norwich City as he destroyed them both home and away. He scored 4 goals against them in Anfield and then a decisive goal at Carrow Road.
#4 Lewandowski breaks Muller’s record
Lewandowski was Bayern’s key man when they won the continental treble in 2020. The Polish striker scored 34 goals that season, which is no mean number considering the fact that Bundesliga has only 18 teams. But he managed to level up next season and despite a late-season injury, he scored 41 goals. Lewandowski thus broke Gerd Muller’s 39 year old record of 40 goals in the 1971/72 Bundesliga season.
#3 Teenager Mbappe scores in World Cup final
For any teenager, making it to their country’s squad for the World Cup itself is a tremendous achievement. Mbappe made it to France’s squad for the 2018 World Cup but he lit up the tournament with his deadly pace and finishing. After a brace against Argentina, he was kept quiet in the quarter-final and semi-final fixtures.
In the final against Croatia, he scored a wonderful outside-the-box goal to beat Subasic. This made him only the second teenager since a 17-year-old Pele in 1958 to score in a World Cup final, definitely among the unforgettable individual achievements in football this century.
#2 Ronaldo breaks Ali Daei’s record
Ronaldo’s record 115 international goals is second among the unforgettable individual achievements in football this century. Ali Daei held the record for 15 years before Ronaldo broke the record in September 2021. The most remarkable thing is Ronaldo might still carry on until EURO 2024 and keep extending his goals tally. The perennial question of whether somebody, someday can break Ronaldo’s record can be answered only in the future.
#1 Messi’s 91 goals in 2012
If there is an individual achievement in football that might never be broken, it has to be Messi’s record-breaking tally of 91 goals in 2012. With every passing year, the little magician’s exploits as a false nine seem even more unreal. He scored 84 goals for Barcelona of which 59 came in the league, 13 in UCL and 7 in domestic cups.
More importantly, he scored all kinds of goals, including headers. 12 of his 91 goals came for his national team Argentina. This record simply cannot be beaten for a variety of reasons. First of all, playing throughout a year at the highest level requires incredible skill and fitness levels. Secondly, modern football has become more system oriented and it is unfathomable to see any individual scoring 91 goals in a calendar year again.