Jan 16, 2015
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2014: The Year of The Selfie

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2014 was an interesting year to say the least. Arsenal finally dusted out the trophy cabinet, Steven Gerrard removed the word “balance” from his dictionary, and Webster decided to add the word “selfie”.

Seriously.

Google “selfie”.

It has a Wikipedia page and everything.

Log onto Instagram, Twitter, Myspace (if you’ve recently completed a stint at your local correctional facility), and you’ll see for yourself that the world has gone selfie mad.  From your 8-year-old niece to your 70-year-old grandmother, taking selfies is like winning at Hull, everybody’s doing it.

There’s no greater from of self-indulgence than holding a camera phone above eye level trying to figure out exactly how to squeeze your face into, what you consider, a photo worthy background.

So why wouldn’t one of the most team oriented sports in the world embrace this trend with open arms?

The sefie has gone from a goofy way for teenagers to communicate with each other to an international pre, post, and apparently now in-game ritual for footballers everywhere.

This brings us, of course, to last weekend. On a weekend highlighted by Roberto Mancini’s face being on the receiving end of a clearance by one of his own players, Francesco Totti decided to make the headlines his. In the 64th minute, the AS Roma striker scored his second goal of the evening with an acrobatic move against rival Lazio to level the score at two all.

After the customary celebratory embrace with his teammates, the 38 year-old then received an iPhone from one of Roma’s coaches, ran towards the home fans, puckered up with a duck face a teenage prom queen would envy and snapped a selfie.

Although it wasn’t the first on-pitch selfie ever captured, Francesco Totti isn’t just any player, and the Roma v Lazio match is far from your average Serie A fixture. Plus, there was a match to be won. There were still 26 minutes to be played, plus stoppage time. What would’ve happened had a Lazio forward put one more shot past Morgan De Sanctis, Roma’s Italian goalkeeper? Would they have then subsequently snapped a selfie to poke fun at Totti’s? All of these factors attributed to the social media hoopla and journalistic craze surrounding this moment.

In 2014 the selfie was king.

As fans we tend to forget that footballers are just like us. I mean, other than the fact that they get paid loads of money to play football. At the core, we’re one and the same. Pop culture plays as big a role in our lives as it does theirs, and in 2014 these athletes never hesitated to remind us.

Remember this Wojciech Szczesny post-match selfie? (Spurs fans look away)

Arsenal supporters will.

After a 1-0 victory over rival Spurs, the Polish goalkeeper thought what better way to commemorate this moment while both disrespecting the Spurs supporters simultaneously than with a selfie at White Hart Lane?

And how could we forget the two pitch invaders that decided to run onto the field during a preseason friendly between AC Milan and Manchester City and take a quick selfie with Italian striker Mario Balotelli, who was more than happy to pose for the picture.

It’s even gotten to the point where both the Emirates Stadium and White Hart Lane officials have had to ban selfie sticks from their grounds. It won’t be long before fans of both clubs sport tie-dye t-shirts and sit in angst outside of both stadiums chanting, “you can ban the sticks, but you can’t ban the selfie”.
Whether you’re pro or anti-selfie, there was no avoiding them in 2014. These instant self portraits remind us that footballers are people too, and if last weekend’s incident in Italy taught us anything, it’s that older people will always catch onto trends late.
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