Getty Images has selected its biggest sporting photographs of 2020 with a bumper crop of football stills that make the selection of the year’s most compelling images.
The 2019-20 season was effectively split into two by the coronavirus pandemic, with leagues across most of the world being postponed indefinitely in March.
Locking and restrictions meant it with a handful of exceptions such as in Belarus and in Nicaragua, no football was played anywhere for several months, with teams eventually returning to play their fixtures in empty stadiums thereafter.
When and where they could, top-level football leagues and tournaments could complete the season and crown their champions.
Here, Getty’s selection of football photos is taken around the world from the beginning of the year to the delayed end of the 2019-20 campaign in August in chronological order.
Flight (January 11)
Roberto Firmino skip Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld to control a high ball. The Brazilian international scored the only goal of the game in London and sent champions Liverpool 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Slip Slide Away (January 14)
The sheer joy of winter football is evident as Gwion Edwards of Ipswich Town and Josh Ruffels of Oxford United plunge through standing water during a cold, sooty and ultimately goalless League One game at Kassam Stadium.
At the double (January 18)
Manchester By attacker Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring the second of its two quick goals against Crystal Palace, blissfully unaware that a 90-minute own goal from teammate Fernandinho is about to regret all his hard work. A 2-2 draw left defending champions City stranded 13 points behind league leaders Liverpool, who also had two games in hand.
The sweater from the back (January 19)
Mohamed Salah whips off his shirt to party after scoring against Manchester United in a 2-0 win at Anfield, the day after Citys 2-2 draw against Palace. The victory increased Jurgen Klopp’s future champions by 16 points clear and still with a game in hand over their nearest rivals.
Waltzing Matildas (February 13)
Top tifo (February 14)
The atmosphere inside Borussia Dortmund‘s famous Westfalenstadion is starting to reach a pitch as thousands of fans perform a huge choreographed banner show before a Bundesliga match against Eintracht Frankfurt. They did not know that their beloved stadium would soon be strictly outside the bounds of them in the coming months.
Midfield Generals (February 26)
Luka Modric and Ilkay Gundogan Get to know each other closely during the first round of the Champions League round-16 draw between Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Bernabeu. The COVID-19 pandemic meant the teams were forced to wait 5½ months before meeting again at the Etihad for the 2nd stage on August 7, which City won 2-1 to advance to the quarter-finals.
Cup out (March 11)
Diego Simeone charges the Anfield touchline after seeing his resilient Atletico Madrid side scrapes back from two goals down to knock defending European champions Liverpool out of the Champions League in the last 16 in extra time.
Back to work (June 8)
After a three-month break due to lockdown, Irish side Bohemians return to education to find almost everything had changed. Players are seen where their trained medical staff take their temperatures before they are allowed to return to the site.
Paint the city red (June 11)
Seville‘s magnificent Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium looks brilliant as it is almost empty as La Liga resumes after the end of the nationwide lockdown in Spain. But with fans still forbidden to gather inside the stadium or outside, what should be a passionate and lively local derby against old enemies Genuine Betis remains eerily subdued.
Heads up (June 17)
The racks may be empty, but the 6-yard box at OsasunaEl Sadar Stadium is positively filled during a La Liga match against Atletico Madrid.
Swimwear problem (June 21)
Red sky at night (June 25)
Thousands of Liverpool fans violated lockdown restrictions and gathered outside Anfield to celebrate the club’s first league title in 30 years after being made a mathematical security Chelsea‘s 2-1 win over Manchester City. Police did not try to disperse the “generally good-natured” crowd, but made a point of praising the fans who decided to stay indoors and celebrate in the safety of their own homes.
The coming storm (July 1)
Maximilian Krauss dribbles against the touchline, while a dark and preceding cloud shelf rolls over the German 3rd League game between SpVgg Unterhaching and FC Carl Zeiss Jena.
The Walls (July 2)
In a picture that would have made absolutely zero sense just a few months before, Raheem Sterling wins a penalty kick against Joe Gomez and Georginio Wijnaldum by Etihad while fans watch from a large, menacing virtual video wall located on the pitch.
Start this party (July 22)
Jurgen Klopp and his jubilant Liverpool players are finally able to celebrate winning the Premier League together after a 5-3 win over Chelsea at Anfield in their last home game of the 2019-20 season. It was unfortunate, but unfortunately inevitable, that the Reds were then left to lift the trophy inside an empty stadium almost exactly a month after securing their historic title.
Day with bad hair (August 22)
Paris Saint-Germain forward Kadidiatou Dianiface is temporarily obscured while being challenged by Arsenal‘s Beth Mead during the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final meeting between the two sides.
Safe hands (August 23)
Let me take a selfie (August 23)
Thiago Alcantara lays down in the middle of the ticker band to spend some quality time with the trophy on the pitch at the Estadio da Luz after Bayern’s Champions League victory and record the moment for posterity. The midfielder joined Liverpool a month later.
So close and yet so far (August 23)
Lyons Pride (August 30)
Lyon refuses to be disturbed by the empty stands as they celebrate winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the fifth season in a row. By hitting Wolfsburg 3-1 in San Sebastian, Spain, the dominant French side also finished their second successive Champions League / Division 1 / Coupe de France Treble.