David Beckham is the most recognizable footballer off the field and as such his performances on it are often viewed as secondary to Brand Beckham. In January all eyes were on him as he made a shock loan move to AC Milan during the American off season in a desperate bid to get into Fabio Cappello's 2010 World Cup team and for the most part he hardly put a foot wrong. A few months later he would be greeted back at LA by jeering fans who felt he tried his best for a move away from the LA Galaxy, but by the end of the season he had won them over again. He seems to be in Capello's mind and with another loan spell looming, his World Cup place looks assured now.
The Australian open always offers up a few surprises, but this year seemingly everything went to plan. The top two seeds met in the final and for the third grand slam final they faced in row Nadal was the one who walked away with smiling. But that was not to be the case for the rest of his year. 2009 was to be a frustrating year for Nadal as injuries forced him from defending his French Open and Wimbledon crowns and by the end of the year when he was fir again, his competition seemed to be running circles around him, and that is a feat.
The new age of terrorism attacks mainstream sport, with cricket the unfortunate recipient. 12 gunmen, near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan, fired upon a bus carrying Sri Lanka cricketers. The cricketers were on their way to play the third day of the second Test against the Pakistani cricket team. Six members of the Sri Lanka national cricket team were injured. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed. These were the first attacks on a national sports team since the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes by Palestinian militants in 1972.
Ryan Giggs has won every medal there is to win in England a few times over and as a consummate sportsman he is a role model for any young footballer. In April he added to his medal tally with one he had never won before, the PFA Player of the Year award. After only starting 12 games in the qualifying period many thought the award was given as a sort of lifetime achievement medal. Even if that was the case it was inspiring to see a genuine hero get the reception he deserves that too voted in by his peers.
The month of May only ever belonged to Barcelona, after streaking their way past Chelsea into the Champions League final they set up a date with the holders Manchester United and set about dismantling them in a way only they can make artistic. It was to be their year as they collected 6 trophies along the way to cap an inspiring and probably unrepeatable year for Messi and the boys.
With the football leagues finally over the transfer window went into over drive with Cristiano Ronaldo finally making his long awaited and much hinted at move to Real Madrid. What was not expected was the mind boggling 80M GBP price tag on him, making him the not only the world's first $ 100M football player but also by far the most expensive footballer ever. He has lived up to his price tag well by scoring more goals than games played, but that is also mainly due to his chronic injuries since late September that have kept him out of Action.
There are many things one can say about Rodger Federer, he is cool, calm, sophisticated and suave, by the way he is also a damn good tennis player. In July he finally over took Pete Sampras as the most successful Grand Slam player of all time winning his 15th at Wimbledon. It was to prove to be another successful year for Federer as he became the 5th man to win a Grand Slam on all four surfaces after he finally conquered the clay in Paris. Featuring in four Grand Slam finals with two victories would probably be considered a failure by Federer's standards, but then again who needs standards like that.
The PGA championship was a sure shot for Tiger Woods. In 14 previous majors he entered the final day in the lead he has always gone on to take the victory, but someone spoiled the script. His name to be exact was YE Yang, the first Asian to win a major. South Korea is known for its female golfers, but Yang broke the mould and in an astonishing last day stole the show and the title from Tiger. Not too many people can claim to have done that, but I guess it just wasn't Tigers year.
It was truly the mother of all sporting comebacks. Kim Clijsters of the Belgian fame made a stirring return in her second career in tennis. The new mother beat a host of seeds and left the Williams sisters in her wake as she sewed up a Grand Slam title in sensational circumstances. She celebrated with her baby girl, in an iconic image from Flushing
Meadows this year.
Rio de Janeiro is elected as the host city of 2016 Summer Olympics by the IOC session in Copenhagen, and becomes the first ever city in South America to stage the Olympic Games. Rio de Janeiro beat Madrid by 66 votes to 32 in the third round of voting, after Chicago and Tokyo were eliminated in earlier rounds.
Not since Maradona has a hand been so revered by one nation and hated by another, but Thierry Henry forced the world to relive 1986 again, just this time trying to qualify for a World Cup and not during it. His infamous hand that helped France qualify for the World Cup may have been one of the low points of his stellar career, but in terms of Irish football it was a body blow. They may not have qualified for the World Cup but they showed spirit and character like no other team. They should be saluted.
The biggest sports story out of December actually had nothing to do with scores and results, but the return of a champion. Michael Shumacher's eagerly anticipated return to F1 was announced at the perfect time for the sport. Since he left the sport has never quite been the same even after three drivers were famously involved in the final race last year for the title. With his return, the sport has regained its image after the race fixing allegations and the nefarious activities of Max Mosely. He is truly the sport's knight in shining armour, the saviour, the messiah, the one and only Schumi.