2014 was a memorable year for football fans. Real Madrid winning the highly awaited La Decima, Germany winning the World Cup in Brazil and Robin Van Persie flying headed goal were few of the highlights of 2014. The year gone by gave football fans moments that will be difficult to forget.
Here are some of the best moments of 2014 which made the year as special as it was.
Robin Van Persie goal vs Spain
Spain and Netherlands kick-started their World Cup campaign with a bang. Defending champions Spain were toppled off their perch and written off in the first game itself when they suffered an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at the hands of Netherlands. No one saw the defeat coming and it showed how good Netherlands are. Robin Van Persie netted a magnificent goal which no one expected. The Dutch captain literally flew on the ball which was crossed in from the left and headed it into the back of the net beyond the reach of Iker Casillas. The goal marked the end of Spaina s dominance in world football.
Gareth Bale goal vs Barcelona
In his first at Real Madrid, Gareth Bale has definitely proven himself and justified the hefty price tag that came with him. The Welshman scored 20 goals in his debut season for the Spanish giants and one of these goals was a very special one. Balea s last minute winner against Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final gave Real Madrid the first out of the four trophies they would eventually win in 2014. The timing of the goal was as perfect as one would have expected as after the goal, Barcelona had little chance of coming back into the game. Bale made the extensive run from the left wing starting in his own half and competed with Bartra to reach the goal. Bale made Bartra run as hard as he could and yet, easily outpaced the young centre-back. The goal was a display of pure skill, speed and Balea s athleticism.
Diego Godin goal vs Barcelona
Few have tried to challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid for the top honour in Spain, fewer have succeeded. And Atletico Madrid was one of them who succeeded in toppling Barcelona and Real Madrid off their perch. In 2014, Atletico became the first team after Valencia, who won it in 2004, to beat Real Madrid and Barcelona to win the La Liga title. The title was won by Atletico in a dramatic last game of the La Liga season. Barcelona needed a win to grab the title while Atletico would win it even after a draw. It was Alexis Sanchez who gave Barcelona an early lead and it seemed like the Catalans would successfully defend the title. However, it only took one special moment to help Atletico Madrid fulfil their dream. In the second half, Diego Godin rose highest to head home the equaliser which would be the last goal of the 2013-14 La Liga season and Diego Simeonea s Atletico Madrid were deservingly crowned the champions of Spain.
Sergio Ramos goal vs Atletico Madrid
It took Real Madrid 12 years to reach the Champions League final and when they did make it, it wasna t an easy task winning the coveted La Decima. The Champions League final was played between fierce local rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Real had the edge over Atletico with a strong and expensive squad. On the other hand Atletico were as gritty as they come having had one of their most successful seasons. Diego Simeonea s Atletico took the lead in the first half and resorted to defending for the rest of the game. The strategy almost worked for Simeone. Real Madrid failed to find the back of the net in the 90 minutes and were into the stoppage time desperately trying every trick in the book to grab the equaliser. In the 93rd minute, it was Luka Modric who took a corner and Sergio Ramos rose highest to head what would be one of the most famous goals in the history of Real Madrid. The goal took the game into extra time and eventually Real Madrid dismissed their opponents by scoring three more and winning their tenth European honour.
Mario Gotze goal vs Argentina
Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals to finally enter the finals of the World Cup. In a game of few chances, the final was hotly contested between Germany and Argentina. Argentina came close to breaking the deadlock a few times with Higuain and Messi missing a few chances to get in front. The game remained 0-0 and was forced into extra time. In extra time it was one man who stole the show and helped Germany become the first European country to win a World Cup in South America. That man was the young and talented Mario Gotze. Coming from the left, Mario Gotze received a cross from Schurrle which the Bayern Munich midfielder controlled on his chest and flew a left volley from a tight angle to score the winner. The goal was a spectacle for viewers and being the only goal of the World Cup final made it more special.
2014 was a fabulous year where we saw the best of the beautiful game. Football fans will definitely have fond memories of the year gone by. Let us hope that 2015 brings to us same amount of happiness via the beautiful game.