With more cameras than ever documenting the beautiful game around the world, it means more opportunity for players' craziness, errors and inventiveness to be captured and then endlessly replayed for the enjoyment of fans everywhere.
And 2014 has proved to be an excellent year for the weird and wonderful in football. Here's our selection of the best viral moments of the year, from brawls to blasted shots, crazy celebrations to creative penalties, culminating in that most prestigious of awards: the ShortList.com own goal of the year.
Sit back and enjoy.
THE 82 METRE GOAL
There was something in the water in the German Bundesliga in 2014, as several of our favourite virals emerged from the land of affordable football and fantastic bratwurst. Chief among them was this incredible 82 metre strike from Paderborn's Moritz Stoppelkamp in September. We'd do well to even kick it to the halfway line from there, let alone get it in the net.
THE AMAZING UNDER-14 TEAM GOAL
When we were 13, most games of football revolved around all 22 players chasing the ball for 90 minutes, with the winners being the team with the big kid who could kick it the furthest (see above). Football has moved on a little since then and October saw the Ipswich Town Under 14 team score a goal that Barcelona in their heyday would have been proud of. Glorious stuff.
THE RIDICULOUS GOAL CELEBRATION
It's been 10 months since this goal was scored in a lower league Italian match. The sheer unexpectedness of the celebration has not diminished in that time. For another cracking celebration, take a look at this striking routine and for an equally ridiculous reaction to a sending off - check out this chap.
THE FISH OUT OF WATER IMPRESSION
Yes, it was a bad foul, but was it really necessary for Chesterfield's Dan Jones to writhe around in agony looking like an imperilled goldfish having 250 volts shot through it? Some grade A play acting of which Leeds United's Adryan would have been proud.
THE MULTI-STEPOVER FREEKICK ROUTINE
Japanese side Kyoto Sanga enlisted an old playground routine to stunning effect back in May, as loads of people pretended to take a free kick before the big lad booted it home. We heartily approve.
THE EIGHT RED CARD BRAWL
Just 14 seconds of footage, yet more action than the average Audley Harrison fight. This lower league Brazilian match between Potiguar and Baraúnas in April descended into anarchy with eight players given their marching orders - it ended with 7-a-side and undoubtedly a busy night for both physios. Wonderful stuff.
THE OUTRAGEOUS BACKHEEL GOAL
Some people get all the luck. On 14th September, you were probably watching your team lose 1-0 in a dour encounter, while others were at the Stadio Ennio Tardini watching Parma and AC Milan fight out a humbinger of a match. It finished 5-4 to the visitors, with this glorious backheel strike from Jérémy Ménez stealing the show. Other showboating goals of note this year included a tremendous rabona goal from Erik Lamela and a last-minute overhead scorpion effort from a goalkeeper.
THE REAL-LIFE FIFA GOALKEEPER DRIBBLE
It's boring being a goalkeeper. You don't get nearly as much action as the rest of the team (unless you play for Leicester), so sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands or, rather, your own feet. Beijing Guoan goalkeeper Yang Zhi lived out all of our FIFA dreams in a September match by going on a totally needless run out of his area before getting tackled and legging it back. We applaud him.
THE TRIP PENALTY KICK
What can we say about this effort from Maldives player Ashad Ali Adubarey in Mat? Unorthodox, but effective. Frankly, we're amazed no one copied it for the many penalty-shoot outs in the World Cup. More fool them.
THE GLORIOUS OWN GOALS
Nothing in football beats a good own goal. And this year we were truly blessed. We don't want to pick just one, so we won't. Behold: an unstoppable beauty from Sunderland's Santiago Vergini in October, a 50-yard effort from World Cup Winner Christoph Kramer in November, a scorching owngoalazo from Milan Gajic on the opening day of the Swiss season and - our own goal of the year - a real team effort from Real Sociedad against Barcelona in February. We salute you all.