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Outside90 editors Chris Hearn and Joel Fruci count down their hand-picked biggest stories and incidents of 2016.

Part one counts down from 16 to 9, with part two taking care of the top eight.

The 16 biggest footballing incidents, and stories of 2016 - Part 1Here’s our list, counting down from number 16.

16. Sepp Blatter has his ban upheld

After appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Sepp Blatter’s six-year ban from football as punishment for almost two decades of systematic corruption was upheld.

15. Adelaide United’s perfect run

Adelaide United has just transitioned from Josep Gombau’s tutelage to that of Spanish counterpart Guillermo Amor, and things turned bleak very quickly with the Reds starting the 2015-16 A-League season win less after eight matches.

But what United did next was simply incredible. They dropped just one more match that season, marching on to claim both the premiership and a maiden championship.

14. Will Grigg’s on fire

Wigan fan Sean Kennedy’s simple football chant YouTube upload kicked off a global sensation and created a new cult hero, the Latics’ Will Grigg. The take on Gala’s ‘Freed From Desire’ made it all the way from League One to Parc des Princes at Euro 2016, where Northern Ireland and Grigg faced Germany.

13. Argentina flop in the Copa, Messi retires, then makes U-turn

“For me, the national team is over,” Messi said after a Copa America Centenario penalty shoot-out defeat to Chile. “I’ve done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion.”

Social media went berserk in an attempt to process the very thought of an international retirement. Thankfully, he’s since made a U-turn and is doing things like this…

12. China becoming a force in world football

Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG, China. The booming east Asian metropolis flexed its muscle upon football as number of Chinese Super League clubs joined Europe’s elite on the game’s rich list. Leading the way was Jiangsu Suning, who spent big on Brazilians Ramires and Alex Teixeira, accompanying Socceroo Trent Sainsbury.

11. England losing 2-1 to Iceland

One of the year’s greatest upsets and, in a way, another result that can be added to the year’s long list of underdog triumphs.

A favourite in an anecdotal sense, too. This writer watched the match in a Trafalgar Square pub and witnessed locals that were saltier than the plate of fish ‘n’ chips before him.

10. Jose Mourinho, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic join Manchester United

It’s arguably the biggest summer transfer swoop ever seen at Old Trafford, and that’s saying something.

Pogba joined for a world record £89 million pounds and has been under the microscope ever since. Ibrahimovic does what he does best, score goals, while a slightly more subdued Mourinho is still dividing opinion as well as ever.

9. Real Madrid claim La Undecima

Florentino Perez dreamed about the highly coveted La Undecima as Real Madrid president. Zinedine Zidane (as a player), Luis Figo, David Beckham, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos could not deliver it.

In 2016, Sergio Ramos claimed La Undecima, an 11th European crown after winning it in 2014. Spanish football showed no signs of slowing down this year.

Post written by Outside 90
Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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