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AS USA Awards 2022: the best football moments of the year

Do I call these the ASses? Is that funny enough? They’re staying nameless for now, but yes, these are the AS USA awards as presented, hosted and chosen by myself. If you want to dress in a suit and celebrate then adelante, all yours. If not, and you just want to take a trip down memory lane for 2022, then feel free to stay and enjoy yourself.

Best goal

Mbappé’s strike against Argentina in the World Cup final was quite good, but since he didn’t win the trophy, he’s not having this one either. Benjamin Sesko’s volley was a stunner, and a shout out to Gudelj for Sevilla against Mallorca, we had no idea you could do that. Alba’s equaliser against Atlético was lovely, as was Pablo Pérez’s overhead strike for Newell’s Old Boys.

I’m giving it to Erling Haaland against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Look at the assist, drink in the finish. What a monster.

Best game

The World Cup final was pretty good, wasn’t it? A 3-3 draw that came out of nowhere, with goals from Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé, extra time, penalties, amazing saves… what more can we ask for? Real Madrid’s Champions League win was special, but we’ll get to that.

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Argentina forward Lionel Messi lifts the World Cup trophy.FRANCK FIFEAFP

Best comeback

Here we are. Real Madrid’s Champions League win in 2022 was the most predictably unpredictable tournament run in modern football history. They went behind 100 times and came back 101, with last-minute goals and Benzema magic sprinkled throughout – and remember that Modric pass with the outside of his boot to Rodrygo? Woof. What a run.

09/03/22 PARTIDO VUELTA OCTAVOS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 
REAL MADRID - PSG 
PRIMER GOL EMPATE 1-1 BENZEMA

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09/03/22 PARTIDO VUELTA OCTAVOS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
REAL MADRID – PSG
PRIMER GOL EMPATE 1-1 BENZEMA
JESUS ALVAREZ ORIHUELADiarioAS

Best sh*thouse

If the answer is not Emiliano Martínez, then who could it possibly be? Yes, the Aston Villa goalkeeper thrived as the pantomime villain at the World Cup in Qatar. His performances in the penalty shootouts will go down in football folklore and *that* celebration on the podium with his Goalkeeper of the Tournament trophy – do I even have the words to describe it? Honestly, I don’t mind Dibu Martínez doing this, but only because he can back it up by being a genuinely good goalkeeper.

Best World Record

Surely it’s Barcelona breaking the world record for the attendance at an official female football match, right? What an extraordinary moment in football history. And not a bad Barça team to go with it!

Best first touch

Christian Eriksen returned to play football, captaining his side against the Netherlands, 300 days after suffering a cardiac arrest. He did this with his first touch of the ball

Best signing

Erling Haaland, the crazy beast, broke another record against Leeds (1-3) and he’s already got 21 league goals this season; Harry Kane is next with 13. Only 8 games were needed for him to get THREE Premier League hat-tricks; the 22 year-old player needed the fewest games to reach 20 goals in the history of the competition. I could go on, but this list is big enough.

That’s why I’m going with Robert Lewandowski. The Barcelona striker has changed his team completely, taking them from the edge of the abyss to top of the league at Christmas. Haaland’s City team, however scary, are still 7 points behind Arsenal; Barça would be nowhere near without the Polish forward.

As well as the AS USA best signing, Lewandowski also won the Golden Shoe for being Europe's top scorer. I know which one I'd prefer.

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As well as the AS USA best signing, Lewandowski also won the Golden Shoe for being Europe’s top scorer. I know which one I’d prefer.ALBERT GEAREUTERS

Best worst performance

Maybe a bit of recency bias, but poor Leicester’s Wout Faes scored the two most ludicrous own goals in the game against Liverpool that the award has to go to the Belgian. First it’s one of those outrageous spinning flicks that loops over everybody and takes 3 years to find the back of the net, the second is a ball over the top that hits the post before bouncing straight into the backtracking defender. Leicester lost 2-1.

Best magic trick

Try this from Fulham’s Antonee Robinson. Mindblowing.

Best quote

Messi made it to the World Cup semi-final after beating the Netherlands, but not before telling man mountain Wout Weghorst to go away by calling him something your nan might shout at the television. “Bobo” translates to “silly”, but it’s so diluted that it’s a hilarious choice of insult. Especially in Spanish, where the options are hardly limited.

Best big man in a small car

Dan Burn wins.

Best cringe

Be honest, did you know Piers Morgan was still on TV? Me neither. So when Cristiano Ronaldo popped up whinging about everything from Eric ten Hag playing him for 3 minutes against Spurs to then saying he wasn’t “cocky” right after asking “how they don’t want a player who scored 32 goals last year, with national team?”, we all gave that look of ‘OK, he’s going out of football that way’.

Best fan moment

The Argentinian fans were simply breathtaking in the aftermath of the World Cup final, causing the players’ bus parade to be scrapped for a helicopter tour due to the amount of people on the streets of Buenos Aires. But one moment of true fan love and togetherness sums up what football is all about.

And, since we’re AS USA… Best USMNT POTY

I’m giving this to Tyler Adams. The new USMNT captain for the World Cup was a perfect mixture of sportsmanship, sh*thousery and respect, as well as footballing talent, in 2022. His move to Leeds was seen as a good choice by everyone, especially since he was reunited with Jesse Marsch, who is something of a mentor to the player. He has played excellently in the Premier League so far, giving US players a platform to stand on alongside fellow American stars, Pulisic and Aaronson. Adams has been linked with moves far above the level Leeds are at and those rumours are not undeserved, his performance against England in the group stages made everybody want an Adams in their team and Leeds have got a real player on their books for 2023.

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