a look back at 2014
What a year 2014 was for madridistas. It was a thrilling, fantastic, unforgettable, magical, and extremely satisfying year.
To sum up, this year we won the Copa del Rey, which was then followed by the Champions League, the long-awaited La Décima. And we did this in style, beating our archrivals Barcelona in the Copa final and Atleti in the Champions final. Winning La Décima also allowed us to win two additional titles, the Supercopa de Europa and most recently, the Mundialito. The result? Four titles in one calendar year, something the club has never achieved before.
This year, we also won 81 percent of our games (51 wins, five ties and seven losses). We scored 178 goals and only allowed 39, for an average of nearly three (2.83) goals scored per game. These are both records for Spanish teams, beating the 49 wins and 175 goals set by Barcelona in 2012. If you want a breakdown, we scored 110 goals in 35 Liga games, 37 goals in 13 Champions League games, 22 goals in nine Copa del Rey games, six goals in two Mundialito games, two goals in the Supercopa de Europa game and one goal in the two Supercopa de España games.
As Sergio Ramos said on Dec. 19, while San Lorenzo may be the team of the pope, “right now Madrid is the team of God and of the world.”
Here are some other things that made me a happy madridista during the past 12 months, in no particular order.
ONE. LA DÉCIMA.
How long did we wait for this one? I covered La Décima in previous posts, but as I’m writing this, I’m once again remembering that explosion of pure joy and euphoria when Sergio Ramos scored in the 93rd minute to tie the game, when Gareth Bale scored in the extra time to give us the lead, when the final whistle blew and the celebrations began, and when the captains presented the trophy to Cibeles. As Sergio said (he has been very quotable recently), “I still get goosebumps when I watch or hear the goal in Lisbon.” I do too.
TWO. CRISTIANO, BALLON D’OR.
Cristiano won the Ballon d’Or, which was extremely deserved, and promptly broke down in tears. The appearance by Junior was adorable as well, making for two very endearing moments. Here’s to a repeat next year.
THREE. OCTOBER’S CLÁSICO.
The clásico that took place on Oct. 25 was not only a win but also a fantastic game from our boys. We have also played extremely well in several other games this season, making it a pleasure (more so than usual) to watch and cheer on this team.
FOUR. CRISTIANO RONALDO, THE GOAL MACHINE.
Cristiano has been a goal machine this year. This article from earlier this month breaks down just how lethal and effective he has been in 2014. In the first 15 2014-15 Liga matchdays, he has scored 25 goals. To give you an idea of how astounding that figure is, consider that 39 players have won the Pichichi trophy by scoring 25 goals or less in one entire season. Or that Cris has just one fewer goal than Messi and Neymar combined (13 each). Or that Cris has scored more goals by himself than the teams Málaga, Espanyol, Eibar, Celta, Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad, Athletic, Almería, Depor, Elche, Getafe, Levante, Córdoba and Granada have. In the case of the latter four, Cris has scored double the amount of goals that those teams have scored.
Overall, Cris scored 56 goals in 2014. The breakdown is 38 in the Liga, 13 in the Champions, three in the Copa and two in the Supercopa de Europa. And here’s a fun fact – he’s the only player in the Liga to have scored in all of the stadiums of the Liga that he’s played in.
Plus, he’s also a doting father. The only person who’s not impressed at all is Ivano Modrić.
FIVE. THE PINK SHIRTS.
Who doesn’t love the pink shirts? Everyone looks great in them! (But the dragon shirts, not so much.)
SIX. CALM WATERS WITH CARLETTO.
After several tumultuous (and at times very frustrating) years with José Mourinho, calm arrived in the form of Carlo Ancelotti. I love what he’s done with the team, and the way he did it. This is the Madrid that I identify with. I hope Ancelotti will be with us for many more years.
P.S. Mou – why do you keep talking about Madrid? You really should stop with your constant insinuations about your time at Madrid. We’ve moved on. You should too. The same sort of goes for Xabi Alonso as well.
SEVEN. THE WINNING STREAK.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about Madrid’s record of consecutive wins. The number currently stands at 22, after the win over San Lorenzo. The streak started on Sept. 16, in the Champions League when Madrid beat Basel 5-1. In that competition, Madrid went on to win all six of its group stage games. In the Liga, the streak is currently at 12. There were also two wins in the Copa del Rey, plus these two games in the Mundialito. The Guinness world record is held by Coritiba with 24, but apparently the real record is Ajax’s 26, set in 1973, so that’s our target. Let’s do it! ¡Vamos!
EIGHT. THE ADORABLE GOOFINESS.
I really, really, really love these boys.
In recent interviews, players have repeatedly mentioned that this Madrid team is like a family. And there have been so many examples throughout the year of how much these guys really love and enjoy being with each other.
Special mention goes to Marcelo, our perpetual ray of sunshine (sorry Martín, but Marcelo is the real sunshine).
NINE. THE COPA DEL REY.
Our first title of the year came on April 16, 2014, when we won the Copa del Rey by beating our arch-rival.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Gareth looked back on his goal, that magnificent run that posterized Marc Bartra. Gareth said, “every kid dreams of scoring the winning goal in a final and to do it against Barcelona – our biggest rivals – was quite surreal. At the time, I had no clue how far off the pitch I was when I made that run. He obviously tried to foul me to stop me, but I knew if I got past him I’d be through on goal, so I just knew I had to keep going. I then just remember the ball going into the back of the net and going crazy in front of the Barcelona fans. They were just sticking their fingers up at me and throwing things. It was an amazing feeling.”
He went on to say, “we got into the changing room after the game and everyone was looking at their phones. I asked them what they were looking at it and it was these Road Runner videos people had made on the Internet of the goal. I just found it hilarious.”
TEN. THE CLUB WORLD CUP.
Our newest shiny trophy is that of the Club World Cup, won on Dec. 20. It was the perfect way to cap off a magnificent year.
ELEVEN. SERGIO RAMOS.
This has been an outstanding year for our Sergio Ramos. He was huge in several very important games for Madrid, most notably scoring in the Champions League final and the Club World Cup final (plus the two games that preceded those finals and allowed us to play in the finals). I’m thinking that Iker Casillas was very generous with his Christmas present for Sergio, given the number of times Sergio has saved his ass this year.
And best of all, Sergio didn’t drop any of the four trophies we won this year!
Our favorite thigh also made a stellar reappearance…
TWELVE. SUCCESSFUL CANTERANOS.
It always warms my heart whenever one of our canteranos succeeds, especially if he triumphs with the first team. Dani Carvajal is one example, although I really wish he didn’t have to go abroad for one year to show how valuable he is.
And the latest one is the adorable Álvaro Medrán. This has been an unforgettable year for him, from debuting with Real Madrid to scoring a goal, in the Champions League against Ludogorets. For that, he got the game ball, which was signed by all his teammates.
To end, here’s a retrospective of 2014 that the club prepared. All those resources and money, and they can’t even produce properly proportioned videos or afford HD cameras. Sigh…
Here’s to more goofiness, more team unity and more titles (including La Undécima!) in 2015! Happy holidays!
P.S. This is something my friend sent me after a recent visit to the Tate Modern in London. She said, “look, it’s you!”