TEAMtalk guest Adam Bate picks 10 of the top moments from a memorable year of football, featuring Aguero, Messi and all-conquering Spain.
Aguero goal against QPR
"Aguerooooo!" ... Martin Tyler's commentary is still echoing around the Etihad Stadium with Manchester United fans destined for a lifetime of wincing as the moment is played again and again. For the rest of us, Sergio Aguero's last-gasp goal against Queens Park Rangers to win Manchester City the Premier League with seconds to spare will be remembered as one of the most dramatic moments in the history of English football.
Everton peg back United
The astonishing turnaround that saw United surrender an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table would not have been possible without the efforts of Everton at Old Trafford on April 22nd 2012. Two goals down with 10 minutes remaining, Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar conjured up late efforts to earn the Toffees a remarkable 4-4 draw and stun Sir Alex Ferguson's side. In a season of twists and turns the result was as pivotal as it was unexpected.
Cisse super strike
If there were many candidates for Premier League game of the season, the most outrageous goal of 2012 surely came at Stamford Bridge in May. Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse lit up the league with 13 goals in his first 12 games following his January move from Freiburg but none of them quite matched his breathtaking second strike against the Blues. A swerving right-footed shot from a near-impossible angle left the Bridge in shock and goalkeeper Petr Cech helpless.
Of course, Chelsea supporters had plenty to cheer about in 2012 and were busy causing plenty of shocks of their own. Barcelona were seen as invincible when Roberto Di Matteo's team prepared to take them on in a two-legged UEFA Champions League semi-final in April. A 1-0 home victory was impressive enough but the real drama occurred at Camp Nou as Chelsea salvage a 2-2 draw despite being two goals and one man down just before the break. A stunning achievement.
Chelsea win it
Compared to that feat it would be easy for everything else to appear routine but lightning did strike twice when a Chelsea team robbed of key players through suspension recovered from a goal down against Bayern Munich in their own stadium to win the Champions League for the first time. Didier Drogba was the hero, equalising late on with a header before firing home the winning penalty to seal an extraordinary triumph.
Although Barcelona surrendered their Champions League and Primera Liga crowns in 2012, the little genius that is Lionel Messi enjoyed another amazing year. The Argentina international is far more than a goalscorer but he also happens to be the greatest accumulator of goals that the world has ever seen - surpassing Gerd Muller's major-league record of 85 goals in a calendar year with a brace at Real Betis in early December.
Many of Messi's club team-mates had something to celebrate too as Spain claimed an historic victory at Euro 2012. It was a third successive tournament triumph for La Furia Roja after winning Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup and occurred in emphatic circumstances. A slow-burning campaign for Vicente Del Bosque's men ended with a devastating 4-0 demolition of Italy in the final that emphasised Spain's dominance of international football.
Zambia's shock triumph
While Spain were predictable victors in Poland and Ukraine, the winner of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012 was a real shock. Not least to tournament favourites and runners-up Ivory Coast. After a stalemate, Drogba & Co were beaten in the penalty shootout with Premier League stars Kolo Toure and Gervinho both missing from the spot. It was left to Stoppila Sunzu to find the top corner and complete an incredible backs-to-the-wall triumph for the rank outsiders.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker has struggled to have his status as one of the world's greatest footballers truly acknowledged in England. But that all changed when he produced a striking masterclass for Sweden in a 4-2 win over the Three Lions in November. Ibrahimovic netted all four goals including an outrageous overhead kick from outside the area to confound his critics and inflict Roy Hodgson's first defeat over 90 minutes as England boss.
The League Two club pulled off an extraordinary cup shock as they reached the semi-final of the League Cup with a penalty shootout victory over Premier League heavyweights Arsenal in December. The Gunners looked to have escaped the ignominy of being on the receiving end of a giant-killing when Thomas Vermaelen cancelled out Garry Thompson's opener. But there was a sting in the tail as the Bantams held on for penalties and a sensational victory.