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Best of BT Sport in 2021: The top videos of the last 12 months from Ronaldo's return to Fury's dramatic victory
It was another scintillating year of entertainment from the Champions League final to breathless world title boxing and everything in between. Here are the videos that tell the story of 2021 on BT Sport.
Ronaldo to the rescue!
At the start of the year, you’d have been offered long odds on Cristiano Ronaldo to rejoin Manchester United in the summer.
But the Portuguese superstar did exactly that, making United fans’ dreams come true as he shocked the world to return to Old Trafford in search of a fairy tale ending to one of the game’s greatest ever careers.
He wasted little time reintroducing himself to the Stretford faithful, bagging a goal on debut against Newcastle in the Premier League – but it was this effort in the Champions League, the competition with which he has become synonymous – that Ronaldo truly burst back into life.
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Trailing against a spirited Villarreal side until late in the hour mark when Alex Telles’ stunning volley levelled the scores, United threw the kitchen sink at their Spanish visitors in search of a winner only to be shut out by Unai Emery’s men... until the dying moments.
Pouncing on a loose ball in the Villarreal box, the 36-year-old smashed a dramatic winner home in the 95th minute to secure three vital points on his first Champions League appearance for United since 2003.
Blue on blue in the Champions League final
For the second time in three years, we were treated to an all-English Champions League final in the summer as Chelsea took on Manchester City at the Estadio Do Dragao in Porto.
Riding the crest of a wave of momentum in the aftermath of Thomas Tuchel’s appointment, Chelsea cruised through to the tournament finale with relative ease, seeing off Atletico Madrid, Porto and Real Madrid along the way.
City booked their place in similarly dominant fashion, defeating Borussia Monchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in the knockout stages as they looked to secure the elusive Champions League trophy they craved.
But it was not to be in Portugal as Pep Guardiola rolled the dice with some off-piste tactical decisions only to be caught out by Tuchel’s counter-attacking outfit.
German starlet Kai Havertz scored the only goal of the game five minutes before half-time as the Blues held on to conquer the competition for the second time in their history.
Broadcast for the first time back in May, George Best: True Genius pays homage to the carefree icon from Northern Ireland who became the game’s first superstar.
The documentary, which is presented and narrated by Best’s son Calum, charts the rise and rise of a player who is still immortalised at Old Trafford and beyond.
To commemorate what would have been Best’s 75th birthday on Saturday 22 May, the compelling portrait documents his astronomic rise through the ranks at United in the wake of the Munich air disaster, all the way through to the historic 1968 European Cup win at Wembley.
Watch the full film and check out more from the award-winning BT Sport films series here.
Mo the magician
You need only watch this clip for a perfect demonstration of Mohamed Salah’s brilliance in 2021.
The Egyptian maestro has raised his game yet again over the past 12 months, showing why he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski among the footballing elite.
Already 3-0 up and cruising against beleaguered Watford, Liverpool are cruising at Vicarage Road but Salah produces a piece of magic to add a fourth that will be tough to top this season.
He picks the ball up just inside the penalty area surrounded by four Watford defenders but manages to escape towards the byline using some mesmerising footwork.
Faking a shot with his right, he cuts inside back onto his left foot, sending a Watford defender flying in the process, before curling a precise finish into the far corner past a rooted Ben Foster.
The Gypsy King reigns supreme
It’s not a surprise to see this moment featured on our best videos of 2021 as Tyson Fury triumphed over Deontay Wilder in early October to bring their rivalry to a dramatic end.
It proved to be the final blow in what was a pulsating back-and-forth affair between two men who played their part in arguably the most entertaining heavyweight trilogy of all time.
Downed twice by the dangerous Wilder during the fight, Fury was forced to summon his famed fighting spirit to climb off the canvas and battle back against the Bronze Bomber.
Wilder’s brave resistance was finally ended in the 11th round when exhaustion opened the door for Fury to plant an emphatic shot on the American’s exposed chin, from which there was no return.
The victory extended Fury’s unbeaten ledger to 32 fights, ensuring the WBC title remained in British control under the bright lights in Las Vegas.
Rio reveals role in Ronnie move
Cristiano Ronaldo’s shock return to Manchester United rightly captured the imagination of football fans across the land.
But such was the speed of events that unfolded to retrieve him from Juventus that little was known about what went on behind the scenes of one of the world’s biggest transfers.
Enter Rio Ferdinand.
The former Red Devils captain laid bare his role in bringing Ronnie back to Manchester on BT Sport’s Premier League coverage in August, revealing he had been exchanging texts with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to convince him to come back.
“I was talking to him, texting was a big part of it. Obviously our relationship and friendship goes back many years to when we played together. We have stayed in contact since then,” he said.
“This situation came about late on Thursday night and we were up until the late hours of the morning. It's really, really interesting, but it got done in the end...”
Nice work, agent Rio.
Champagne stuff in the Premiership
It was an extraordinary year of rugby – in more ways than one! – but we were treated to some truly incredible moments from the Gallagher Premiership season last year.
And clearly it resonated with you too with this montage of the top 10 tries making our list of the most-watched videos on BT Sport.
With honourable mentions to Adam Radwan’s lung-bursting full pitch run and Marcus Smith’s stunning chip for Nathan Earle to finish, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better try than Wasps man Paolo Odogwu’s effort against Newcastle.
Combining with Jimmy Gopperth and Zach Kibirige, Odogwu finds himself in a yard of space and turns on some serious gas to motor clear of a Falcons defender with ease.
Burns engulfed by Ashes inferno
A late entry onto the list this year and a quintessentially English one too as our Ashes campaign got off to an absolute flyer Down Under just a few weeks ago.
With the hopes and dreams of a nation on his shoulders at the Gabba in Brisbane, England opener Rory Burns took his mark and readied himself to face Mitchell Starc for the first ball of the series.
Like something from a nightmare, Starc released a pacy, irresistible, in-swinging yorker at Burns’ leg stump, leaving the Surrey man at sixes and sevens while the bails travelled to a different postcode.
Thus far, that early wicket has set the scene for a miserable series both for Burns personally and the England team.
Down 2-0 and with Burns widely expected to lose his place for the pivotal third Test, it’s fair to say things haven’t quite worked out for the tourists yet.
But all that could change with an unmissable showdown at the MCG in Melbourne! Don’t miss a ball by tuning in to BT Sport 1 HD from 10.30pm on Christmas Day.