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2014 REVIEW – Real Madrid’s Best Year Ever

Madridistas everywhere will remember 2014 as one of the best years to be a Real Madrid supporter. Winning four out of six titles that were decided throughout the year, this team left quite a mark. In addition to silverware, Los Blancos beat numerous records in the individual and collective levels. On top of that, they are on the verge of beating a Guinness World Record.

The year started off with solid numbers, as they went unbeaten for 19 matches in all competitions from January until late March. The defeat came in the hands of fierce rivals FC Barcelona at the Bernabéu by 3-4. Shortly after, another debacle was in hand as they lost away against Sevilla by 2-0. This saw Madrid lagging in La Liga and missing opportunities to really decide the fate of the league.

Following a small crisis, things quickly picked up. The team suffered in the second leg, but they managed to make it to the Champions League semi-finals after beating Borussia Dortmund. Not long after that, they played one of their best matches of the year in the Copa del Rey final versus Barça. A complete team effort that was rewarded with Gareth Bale’s anthological run against Bartra, which meant the final 2-1 result for Madrid.

The sudden rush from winning a title inspired the squad to make history and kick out Bayern Munich from the UCL. A 1-0 win at the Bernabéu was just a preview of what was coming next. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s famous quote on Munich burning up with Real’s visit was unfortunate. A superlative Sergio Ramos redeemed himself from the 2012 meeting by scoring a brace. Ronaldo also scored two as it ended 0-4.

Having reached the Champions League final after 12 long years, it became clear the team was obsessed with La Décima. They couldn’t win three consecutive games in La Liga, basically gifting the title to Atlético and Barcelona. Plenty of injuries and the lack of rotations had the team playing with youth squad players. The BBC arrived exhausted to the end of the season, and the lack of replacements generated desperation.

After winning La Liga’s last match, the title went to Atlético and the team had a week to meet their city rivals in the UCL final. As both clubs came in with tired and injured players, there was no way to tell what would happen. Casillas’ unfortunate play cost Real a goal in the 36th minute. They trailed until the now historic 92:48 mark. Sergio Ramos’ header tied the game and took it to extra time. A fatigued Atlético couldn’t fight back and Real took home La Décima by winning 4-1, with Bale, Marcelo and Ronaldo scoring as well.

The wait for Madridistas was very much worth it, as they won Europe’s most important trophy. With this being a World Cup year, the team’s international players went to Brazil and garnered very diverse results. Only Di María and Khedira made it to the final, with Benzema doing well with France until quarter-finals. Ronaldo was very discreet as he left in the group stage. In the end, Khedira won the title and Madrid decided to do some shopping after a few players really stood out in the world’s best stage.

Even though they won their 10th European title, Real’s summer was very hectic, with bitter and expensive exits. Di María, Diego López, Xabi Alonso and Morata left the champions and made the squad rather small. However, Florentino Pérez brought Toni Kroos, James Rodríguez, Keylor Navas and Chicharito Hernández. The €117 million investment received mixed reviews at the time.

A mediocre set of friendlies generated a state of unsettlement. This state went away temporarily with the UEFA Super Cup title, as Ronaldo scored two to grab the trophy. The Spanish Super Cup was completely different, as the team performed poorly and Atlético had their revenge after the UCL final. On top of that, two early losses in La Liga were the trigger to something fantastic.

On September 13th the Madrid derby was lost at home and that would be the last time Ancelotti would drop points in 2014. Under the current mark of 22 consecutive wins, the club won El Clásico, won all their UCL group stage games, moved to the next round of the Copa del Rey and won the FIFA Club World Cup. Furthermore, other individual and collective records were beaten in this first phase of the season.

Overall, Carlo Ancelotti and his men had ups and downs in 2014, yet managed to win four titles. With the hopes of becoming even greater, Real look to fight for all three titles. The road won’t be easy, especially as January will be a very difficult month. The complete second leg in La Liga is also the most complicated. Nevertheless, if one thing’s sure with this team is that you can never count them out of anything.