Check Out Most Epic Sports Moments of 2022
© AFP 2023 TOMAS CUESTAArgentina's players celebrate on board a bus with supporters after winning the Qatar 2022 World Cup tournament as they leave Ezeiza International Airport en route to the Argentine Football Association (AFA) training centre in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires province, Argentina on December 20, 2022.
© AFP 2023 TOMAS CUESTA
From arch-rivals crying for their biggest challengers to players slammed for their antics, 2022 saw it all.
Sports stars are generally the most popular figures on social media with Cristiano Ronaldo being the most popular figure there with nearly 800 million followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter combined.
In India, former Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli has traditionally dominated the headlines besides being the most dominant figure in this segment. Once again, these names were among the people who were on top of the trending and viral charts during the last 365 days.
With a little time left for this year to come to an end, Sputnik takes you back to 2022's most viral moments.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo Smashes Fan's Cell Phone
There's little doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo is among the greatest footballers in history and holds a plethora of world records, including the most goals (118) on the international stage.
Yet, over the years, he has been involved in brawls with opposition players, quarreling with referees, and even undermining the achievements of his fierce rivals like Lionel Messi.
In April, Ronaldo's temperamental character was back on full display as he smashed an Everton supporter's phone on the ground following Manchester United's 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been accused of smashing a fan’s phone after Man United’s defeat to Everton 😬— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) April 9, 2022
🎥 @evertonhub pic.twitter.com/pTWgUpkLCa
Though the 37-year-old football superstar later apologized to the fan, his shameful act was heavily criticized on social media. Besides the trolling, the Football Association charged him for the incident in September following an investigation by Merseyside police.
2. Babar Azam's Post for Virat Kohli Breaks the Internet
In June, Pakistan cricket skipper Babar Azam came out in support of India's talisman Virat Kohli who was going through an extended slump in form at the time.
Azam took to Twitter to post a picture of himself with the former Indian cricket captain and wrote, "This too shall pass. Stay Strong," in the caption.
Till December 30, the Pakistani player's motivational message for Kohli has received nearly 370K likes and more than 54K retweets.
Though Azam's inspiring words didn't have the desired effect on Kohli's batting immediately, the Delhi-born cricketer subsequently ended his over three-year century drought during the Asia Cup in Afghanistan.
Kohli then dazzled the crowd in the T20 World Cup in Australia in October and November, finishing the event as the competition's top-scorer with 296 runs in six matches.
3. Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic Shed Tears on Roger Federer's Retirement
In September, Roger Federer announced his retirement from tennis. During his farewell speech during the Laver Cup, the Swiss legend broke down as he recalled some of the biggest highlights of his career.
On seeing Federer become emotional, his great rivals Nadal and Djokovic could not hold back their tears. The official site of the Australian Open shared a photo of Nadal crying alongside Federer and the post's caption read: "Biggest rivals, best mates #Fedal".
Nadal crying at Federer’s retirement - no finer testament to the admiration & friendship of two amazing sportsmen pic.twitter.com/DwWdW1HJc0— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) September 24, 2022
Meanwhile, others shared pictures of Djokovic joining the two in their tearful celebrations.
"Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic crying at Roger Federer’s retirement. How beautiful is sport? How enriching, how inspiring, how magical," a fan wrote on Twitter while summing up the emotional moment.
4. Kohli Match-Winning T20 World Cup Knock Against Pakistan
The Indian cricket team's talisman Virat Kohli made a sensational 82 runs off 53 deliveries to power them to a memorable triumph over Pakistan in front of a capacity crowd at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia.
Kohli's performance was all the more special, considering the Indians were on the ropes at 31 for 4 in the seventh over before he and Pandya began India's monumental fightback.
Later on, Australian great Greg Chappell called Kohli's knock a "song by God" and a "divine innings".
"The Bhagavad Gita is the holy book which is the synthesis of Hinduism. Literally translated, it means 'the song by God'. Virat Kohli played an innings that was as close to a 'song by god' as has ever been played in T20 cricket," Chappell wrote in his column for an Australian media outlet.
"Kohli is the most complete Indian batsman of my time. Only the greatest of champions has the courage and the intelligence to transport their imagination beyond the mortal plane. Kohli has that," the Aussie great concluded.
5. Lionel Messi's Social Media Post Breaks All-Time Record
13 days ago, Lionel Messi ended Argentina's 36-year wait for the FIFA World Cup title following their victory over France in a pulsating final in Doha.
Besides having wild celebrations with his teammates at the Lusail Stadium and their hotel in Qatar, the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner marked the occasion with a social media post, sharing a picture of himself with the coveted trophy on his Instagram page.
19 December 2022, 12:31
La Pulga also shared a special message for his countrymen in addition to other photos of the historic moment.
"WORLD CHAMPIONS! I dreamed it so many times, I wanted it so much that I still haven't fallen, I can't believe it. Thank you very much to my family, to all who support me and also to all who believed in us. We demonstrate once again that Argentines when we fight together and united we are capable of achieving what we set out to do. The merit belongs to this group, which is above individualities, it is the strength of all fighting for the same dream that was also the dream of all Argentines. We did it! GO ARGENTINA! We are seeing each other very soon," Messi said.
Messi's photo has so far accrued over 74 million likes, surpassing the previous record held by TikTok star whose lip-synching song 'M to the B' has garnered 60 likes on the short video platform in 2020.
6. IPL Tops Google's Trending Search List in India
Among the most searched topics on Google in India, sports dominated the list. While the Indian Premier League (IPL) topped the charts, FIFA World Cup was the third top term followed by the Asia Cup and the ICC T20 World Cup (both cricket) in fourth and fifth spots.
2022 witnessed the search for the FIFA World Cup and T20 World Cup exceeding the previous all-time high. Additionally, the Women's Cricket World Cup also made its presence felt among the trending terms for sporting competitions.