And that was the season that was. Nine months of chaos, shocks, egomania and unpredicitability – and that was just Mario Balotelli! Yes, the 2011-2012 season turned out to be a memorable one. Not just in England – but elsewhere too.
Well, I’m sure most of you witnessed the good, the bad and the downright ugly (not looking at anyone in particular, Joey Barton!) at the Etihad stadium as Manchester City won the Premier League in the most dramatic fashion in the history of the English game. Yes, even more so than 1989. It was like a Hollywood movie. Even Paul Merson nearly went into cardiac arrest live on Sky Sports News. Unforgettable – especially if you’re from the blue half of Manchester.
In Italy, Alessandro Del Piero and Filippo Inzaghi played their last games for Juventus and AC Milan respectively. Both players scored in the final day of the season (Inzaghi, incredibly, was ONside), but it was Juve that were already crowned champions of Serie A after an unbeaten season. It was an incredible season in Italy with players such as Fabrizio Miccoli, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo and Edinson Cavani playing our of their skin all season. Don’t be surprised if Cavani, the Uruguayan at Napoli, is being eyed up by Roberto Mancini or Roman Abramovich as we speak.
As reported last month, Holland’s Eredivisie was wide open as there was four points between the top six teams by mid-April. But it was Ajax who claimed the title. Their second consecutive title – both under manager Frank De Boer. But it’s not all settled at the bottom end of the table. The brilliantly named VVV-Venlo currently find themselves in the relegation play-offs, facing Helmond Sport this week.
Like Ajax, Borussia Dortmund find themselves with their second consecutive Bundesliga title win just ahead of Champions League finalists Bayern Munich. Jürgen Klopp’s side must have been quite worried having lost the Bundesliga player of the year last year, Nuri Şahin, to Real Madrid. But luckily, thanks to the brilliance of players such as wonderkid Mario Götze, Die Borussen marched on for another title. Note: – keep your eye on Götze playing for Germany in this summer’s Euros.
So that was 2011-2012. What about next season? Will King Kenny still be at Anfield? Will Tito Vilanova flop as new Barcelona coach? Who will shine in Euro 2012, prompting massive money transfers? Will Mario Balotelli still be going to take-aways at 1am in Manchester city centre? Which ageing stars will seek a final big payday in the MLS? And will Joey Barton calm down?
Still – we got the Champions League final on Saturday coming. Gulp! See my preview later on in the week. In the meantime, hit me up on Twitter with your thoughts (@robsmithireland)