Dec 25 2013, 5:46am CST | by IANS
Beijing, Dec 25 — From all-mighty Bayern Munich to newly Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande, and from retirement of Alex Ferguson to David Beckham's final game, football has brought fans smiles and tears in the year of 2013.
"Congratulations to Bayern for an incredible 2013," said coach Pep Guardiola, who only took credit for one of those four trophies after replacing Jupp Heynckes in the late June.
Earlier this month, the World Cup Draw was unveiled Dec 6. FIFA's seeding system and draw procedures triggered controversy once again because under those rules, Belgium, Uruguay, Colombia and Switzerland, were all seeded than more famous teams like Portugal, Italy, France, England and the Netherlands.
After the draw, Groups B, D and G all have claims to be the tournament's most difficult. Group B comprise world champions Spain as well as the Netherlands and Chile, Group D boasts three former World Cup winners in Uruguay, England and Italy, while Group G has Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the US.
The host country Brazil's inner unrest also provoked worries, as the draw was staged against a backdrop of anti-government protests, which began during the Confederations Cup in June.
Football fans were also shocked as Ferguson announced his retirement May 8, ending his legendary career that included 13 English League titles, five FA Cups and two UEFA Champions League trophies in his 26 years in charge at Old Trafford.
Apart from his excellent coaching experience, Alex is also considered as a talent developer as he helped develop many famous football stars such as David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Gary Neville, Paul Ince and Bryan Robson.
Ferguson's most famous student Beckham also a bid a teary farewell to the game. The 38-year-old former England captain made his final home appearance for Paris St Germain in the Ligue 1 champions May 16.
Barcelona and Argentina No.10 Lionel Messi, Real Madrid and Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Bayern Munich and German midfielder Frank Ribery will fight for the title, after FIFA announced the shortlist recently.
The award in each of last four years all went to Messi, and Ronaldo claimed the title in 2008 and has been repeatedly placed second since then.
Messi led Barcelona's charge to the Liga title last season with 46 goals, while Ronaldo has not only played well for Real but also helped his country qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals. Ribery has also had a fabulous season with five-star Bayern Munich.
The unpredictable result will be unveiled at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich Jan 13, 2014.
The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) was established in 1986, initially to serve as an information bridge between India and its thriving diaspora in North America. Today it is a full-fledged, 24 by 7 agencies putting out the real-time news from India, South Asia and news of interest to this region around the world.
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