As the calendar year comes to a close – and everyone is preparing for tonight’s fireworks – what better time to reflect on the best sporting moments of 2022.
From Cristiano Ronaldo’s dramatic exit – and subsequent move to Al Nassr – and Roger Federer’s emotional retirement to the euphoria that swept the nation after the Lionesses’ Euros triumph – sport fans were treated to it all this year.
Ahead of another action-packed 365 days of sport, Sportsmail provides you with the top 10 moments of this calendar year… and it wasn’t an easy pick top spot!
Chloe Kelly (right) roars as she celebrates her late goal which settled the Euro 2022 final
10. Matt Fitzpatrick’s US Open win
There was uproar on social media when fans found out the Matt Fitzpatrick hadn’t been nominated for the BBC’s Sport Personality of the Year award for 2022.
The Sheffield-born golfer made history after winning the US Open in June, following a one-shot victory at The Country Club in Massachusetts – the same venue where he won the US Amateur in 2013.
Fitzpatrick, 28, became just the third Englishman since 1924 to win this title, following Tony Jacklin in 1970 and Justin Rose in 2013.
He is the first Englishman to win a major since Danny Willett – also from Sheffield – won the Masters six years ago.
Gary Lineker questioned Matt Fitzpatrick’s omission from the recent SPOTY shortlist for 2022
9. Ronaldo’s dramatic Old Trafford exit
What had started as a fairytale return to Manchester United quickly descended into chaos for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in 2022.
Ronaldo’s United homecoming had been a relative success in 2021 and it looked as though he would continue that in the early stages of the calendar year.
However, his relationship with new boss Erik ten Hag quickly soured and it lead to his dramatic walk-out from Old Trafford during United’s game against Tottenham.
With just a few minutes remaining in the match, Ten Hag called upon Ronaldo from the substitutes’ bench, however the forward refused and instead headed for the exit.
As if things couldn’t get worse, just a month later, Ronaldo’s bombshell interview with Piers Morgan solidified the end of his United stint and his contract was terminated mid-way through the World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo stormed out of Old Trafford during Man United’s 2-0 win over Tottenham
The forward had refused to come on the pitch in the final moments, before leaving the stadium
8. Sport’s tributes to Ukraine
At the start of the year, the world came to a sudden halt after news broke of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It sparked unprecedented fears across Europe and left a number of sport stars in a difficult predicament.
Footballer Oleksandr Zinchenko, who played for Man City at the time, remained a vocal outlet for those feeling oppressed by the attacks and refused to remain silent on the matter.
Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk put his plans to rematch Anthony Joshua on hold as he enlisted with the Kyiv Territorial Defence in a bid to protect his homeland.
Perhaps the most touching tribute of all was when Liverpool and Chelsea fans showed immense support for Ukraine ahead of their Carabao Cup final clash.
The Liverpool fans were in great voice belting out the club anthem of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ during a minute’s applause whilst the Ukraine flag was on the Wembley screen with the message of ‘Football Stands Together’.
Liverpool fans sang their club anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in support of Ukraine
Fans came equipped with Ukrainian flags as they prepared to display their solidarity
7. Roger Federer’s emotional retirement
The majority of entries into this list will be moments of success that should be cherished for years to come, however that’s not the case with our No 7 slot.
In September, Federer called an end to his scintillating tennis career – which saw him win 20 Grand Slam titles – following this year’s Laver Cup.
There were smiles, tears and… more tears, as the Swiss player waved farewell to the thousands of fans in attendance at London’s O2 Arena.
Even his career-long competitor, Rafael Nadal, could not hold back his emotions as he watched tributes play out for his 41-year-old rival before the two shared a touching moment together on the sidelines.
Roger Federer received a standing ovation from the crowd at the O2 Arena as he retired
Rafael Nadal (right) broke down in tears for his great rival Federer as he bid farewell to tennis
6. Shields vs Marshall/All-Women UK boxing card
There were a few intriguing bouts this year – such as Katie Taylor’s clash with Amanda Serrano or Usyk’s rematch win over Joshua – though, none matched the spectacular event that was Shields vs Marshall.
Sparks flew as America’s Claressa Shields and Britain’s Savannah Marshall headlined the first all-female UK boxing card to have 11 bouts and 22 women on it, in October.
The two settled their 10-year feud on a historic night for women’s boxing – where Shields emerged victorious after a Unanimous Decision in her favour.
A peak audience of more than one million viewers tuned in to watch Shields become the undisputed middleweight world champion, making it the most-watched women’s professional boxing event in history.
In total, live coverage of the all-female card – which saw Olympic gold medallist Lauren Price, Olympic bronze medallist Karriss Artingstall and Tokyo Olympian Caroline Dubois take to the ring – reached more than two million viewers. Promising.
Shields vs Marshall was the most-watched women’s professional boxing event in history
A peak audience of over one million viewers tuned in to watch Shields (above) win the bout
5. England’s Twenty20 World Cup win
England tasted Twenty20 World Cup glory in the most dramatic style when Ben Stokes edged them past Pakistan in a thrilling, low scoring final earlier this year.
Stokes produced an unbeaten 52 and put on a decisive stand of 48 with Moeen Ali that calmed England’s nerves and saw them past Pakistan’s 137 for eight with six balls to spare.
It was jubilation for England who can rightly now claim to be one of the best white-ball sides of all time after completing their transformation from the dark days before the 2015 World Cup to become the epitome of modern limited-overs excellence.
It was their second T20 title, following Paul Collingwood’s triumph in 2010 and their second World Cup of the post 2015 era following their fabled 50-over triumph in 2019 and their fifth consecutive appearance in the last four of a global white-ball tournament.
Ben Stokes hit the winning run as England won the T20 World Cup final by five wickets
Sam Curran was named Player of the Match and Tournament after finishing with 3-12
4. England whitewash Pakistan
It takes a truly triumphant moment to out-shine a World Cup win – but that’s exactly what England’s whitewash of Pakistan was.
Before this tour, England had managed only two Test wins away to Pakistan in 30 attempts across 61 years. After the December series, they have now won three in three weeks.
History was made as England, on their first Test tour of Pakistan in 17 years, became the first visiting team to win three matches in a series in the country.
It also capped off a year in which England have undergone a remarkable transformation under captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum – securing nine wins in 10 matches since the pair took charge.
Not only that, they secured the first series win over Pakistan outside of the UK for 22 years and ended a run of three successive away series defeats stretching back to the beginning of 2021.
England posed for a victory photo and this will go down as one of their great series wins
3. Leon Edwards wins UFC championship
Though he didn’t make it into BBC Sport’s ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ list, there will be no omitting Leon Edwards from our 2022 highlights.
The Birmingham fighter made history after becoming just the second British person ever to get their hands on a UFC championship belt after his August win.
Faced against the best pound-for-pound fighter in the organisation (who had never lost in his UFC career), Edwards’ task of beating Kamaru Usman seemed nigh-on impossible.
However, he overcame adversity to triumph thanks to a phenomenal head-kick in the fifth, and final, round of the bout.
The impressive kick was later voted the ‘Knockout of the Year’ in the UFC’s awards given out this month. Edwards is looking to defend his belt in London next year.
Leon Edwards is ‘ready to go’ against Kamaru Usman for his maiden UFC title belt defence
The Birmingham fighter delivered a brutal head-kick with just a minute remaining in the bout
2. Lionesses win the Euros
Though the men’s team suffered a heartbreaking World Cup quarter-final defeat to France this month, their blushes were spared by the scintillating displays from the women’s side in 2022.
The Lionesses – led by the fearless Sarina Wiegman- took over the nation this summer with their thrilling Euro 2022 run which culminated in lifting the trophy.
It was a momentous day for English football as they celebrated the first major international trophy won by the national team (men’s or women’s) since 1966.
After victories against Spain and Sweden, the women’s team had booked their place in the final at Wembley against a formidable opponent in the Germans.
Beth England celebrates by lifting the UEFA European Women’s Football Championship trophy
Ella Toone gave England the lead before Lina Magull equalised for the visitors – testing everyone’s nerves and sending the match into extra-time.
There were few chances of note in the first period of extra-time, but it was after the restart when history was made after Chloe Kelly bundled the ball over the line to give England the lead.
Euphoria consumed Wembley as Kelly celebrated her first international goal by taking off her shirt and whirling it above her head in one of English football’s most iconic celebrations.
If there were any remaining doubts over rising interest in women’s football, simply cast your eyes upon the hoards of celebrating fans that took over London that day.
Top of the world: Chloe Kelly waves her jersey round her head after she scored the crucial winning goal with minutes to spare
1. Messi’s World Cup triumph
Yes, you guessed it. Lionel Messi’s and Argentina’s World Cup triumph has snuck in to claim top spot in our look-back at the best moments of 2022.
The Qatar World Cup was marred in controversy in the build-up to the tournament and many feared it would be a competition to forget for decades to come.
However, the events at the Lusail Stadium on December 18 will go down as one of the most iconic moments in sport history – not just football.
After a gruelling journey to reach the World Cup final (for the second time in his career), Messi’s side had to beat reigning world champions France out in Doha.
Lionel Messi helped end Argentina’s 36-year wait to win the World Cup out in Qatar this month
The PSG forward scored a brace in the final but the match still went to penalties after his club team-mate Kylian Mbappe bagged a hat-trick.
Despite Mbappe’s best efforts, he could not prevent Lionel Scaloni’s side from ending their 36-year wait to win the World Cup.
It was without a doubt, one of the greatest football matches to ever be played and seeing Messi celebrate with one of football’s most prized possessions felt like an expertly-written, emotionally provoking, TV series finale.
The PSG star kisses the World Cup trophy after the dramatic penalty shoot-out win over France