The best and worst of football in 2016
With 2017 just around the corner, there's no better time to reflect upon the year 2016 in football. ESPN FC's Mark Ogden reviews the best and worst of the year.
Best Goal: Vardy vs. Liverpool
Jamie Vardy's 25-yard strike for Leicester City against Liverpool in February tops the bill for its audacity, importance and how it emphasised the striker's sky-high confidence. Receiving the ball from deep, Vardy allowed it to drop over his shoulder before hitting an unstoppable right-foot strike into the net. Stunner.
Best Achievement: Leicester winning the Premier League
Iceland's run to the Euro 2016 quarterfinals and Portugal's emergence as European champions were both incredible achievements, but nothing tops Leicester winning the league. They were 5000-1 outsiders to do it before a ball had been kicked, but they pulled it off.
Best Newcomer: Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford was a complete unknown in February when he was drafted into the Manchester United team as a late replacement for the injured Anthony Martial against FC Midtjylland, but he scored twice on his debut, then twice again against Arsenal on his Premier League debut. The goals have slowed this season but there can be no doubting Rashford's star quality.
Best Signing: N'Golo Kante, Chelsea
Chelsea knew they were getting a key addition to their squad when signing the Leicester City midfielder, but N'Golo Kante's impact has been immense. He's even proved to be a bargain at £29.2 million.
Best Game: France vs. Germany
Their Euro 2016 semifinal had all the quality, passion and excitement that the tournament, as a whole, lacked. This was two international heavyweights coming together in Marseille, with Antoine Griezmann emerging as a world star with two goals to guide France to a 2-0 win.
Biggest Disappointment: England's Euro 2016 campaign
Not really a surprise anymore to see England fail miserably at a major tournament but with a team full of young talent, they should have been so much better. In the end, it was the same as it ever was, with Iceland adding a heavy dose of humiliation in Nice.
Transfer Flop: Simone Zaza, West Ham
Simone Zaza arrived in the summer on loan from Juventus with high hopes that the Italian could score the goals that would transform Slaven Bilic's team from Europa League contenders to a club challenging for the Champions League, but he has been hopeless. No goals to date and facing a swift return to Italy.
Worst Game: Liverpool vs. Man United
Their October clash at Anfield was billed as "Red Monday" and flagged up as the only game that matters in English football. It is certainly the clash of England's two biggest and most successful clubs, but as both sides played out a dismal 0-0 draw, it could have been mistaken for a League Two clash between Newport County and Accrington Stanley.
Worst Decision: Man City signing Claudio Bravo
Time will tell on this one, of course, but allowing Joe Hart to leave Manchester City was one thing, and replacing the England goalkeeper with Bravo was something else entirely. The Chilean looks totally ill-equipped for English football but Pep Guardiola put his neck on the line to sign the error-prone keeper from Barcelona, meaning he will be given time to find his feet.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_