The year 2014 has been one that Real Madrid are not going to forget easily. Triumphing over arch rivals Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid clinched a total of 2 trophies in the 2013-2014 season, including the La Decima, which was much awaited at Santiago Bernabeu. The second half of the year was followed by the UEFA Super Cup and ended with a run of 22 consecutive wins, with Real Madrid winning the Club World Cup held in Morocco.
Copa del Rey: Of Gareth Bale’s Amazing Run and Ancelotti’s First Trophy At Bernabeu
Following a barren season under Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti was aware that in order to survive at Real Madrid, he had to win trophies. Reala s first final was played out against arch-rivals Barcelona on 16th April for the Copa del Rey. Despite being without Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlo Ancelottia s Real Madrid managed to dictate the game against a Tata Martino led Barcelona. Di Maria gave Real an early lead in the 11th minute but the Los Blancos failed to capitalize on their chances despite dominating the proceedings. Eventually youngster Marc Bartra equalized for Barcelona bringing the game alive in the final quarter of the second half.
Without Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid struggled to break the make-shift Barcelona defence. However with just minutes left on the clock, a certain Gareth Bale decided to take matters in his own hand. The Welshman raced past a helpless Marc Bartra and went on to score a memorable goal to win Real Madrid the first trophy of the 2013-2014 season.
Champions League: The Rise and Rise Of Sergio Ramos
The run up to the Champions League finals against Atletico Madrid was perhaps as rewarding, relieving and unnerving as the final against Atletico Madrid itself was for Real Madrid. Real managed to ease past Schalke and set up a date with Borussia Dortmund who had previously embarrassed Real Madrid by kicking them out spectacularly from the semi-finals in the 2012-2013 season.
The first leg was a comfortable win for Ancelotti as Real Madrid put three past Borussia Dortmund but the second leg was quite another tale. A certain Marco Reus seemed certain to punish Real Madrid and put two back for Dortmund by half-time. However a resolute albeit nervous Real Madrid stood strong and eventually set up a feisty semi-final clash against old rivals Bayern Munich.
Bayern Munich had kicked Real out of the Champions League in the 2011-2012 season and this time they were led by a certain Pep Guardiola who had previously managed Barcelona before joining the German giants. The first leg was a closely fought encounter with Real Madrid winning 1-0 at Santiago Bernabeu. The second leg though, was quite another matter. Real Madrida s golden boy Sergio Ramos sealed the deal by scoring twice and gave Real Madrid a 2-0 lead by the 20th minute with Cristiano Ronaldo adding the 3rd in the 34th minute of the game. But that was not all, the Portuguese went on to add another goal in the 89th minute of the game to give Real Madrid a 5-0 aggregate win over Guardiolaa s Bayern Munich.
The final on the other hand, was a game of several highs and lows. A costly error from Iker Casillas allowed Atletico Madrid to take the lead and play the game in a manner that fitted them perfectly. Notoriously good and organised in the defence, Atletico were a rock in front of their goal, allowing Real Madrid no breathing space in the attacking half of the pitch. The combined presence of Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema failed to break down the Atletico defence and it seemed certain that Diego Simeone would snatch a historic win against rivals Real Madrid.
However Sergio Ramos had other plans. Real Madrida s go-to-man left it quite late but made another heroic effort to equalize for Real Madrid in the dying minutes of the game, pushing the finals into extra-time.
The extra time however was one that was completely dominated by Real Madrid. With Atletico Madrid low on confidence, Gareth Bale rose brilliantly to give Real the lead before Marcelo and Ronaldo added two more to win Real the La Decima.
UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup: Real Madrid, The Phoenix That Rose Again
The 2014-15 season started brightly for Real Madrid with the club easing past Sevilla to win the UEFA Super Cup. Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real and the Portuguese himself kick-start the new season in style. New players arrived in the form of James Rodriguez, Keylor Navas, Toni Kroos, Chicharito while Angel Di Maria, Xabi Alonso and Diego Lopez were the high-profile exits of the summer.
The UEFA Super Cup was followed by the Spanish Super Cup finals which was played against city-rivals Atletico Madrid. Billed as the rematch for the Champions League finals, Real Madrid struggled to break an organised Atletico Madrid who had themselves lost key players such as Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois and Felipe Luis. However new signings like Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann helped Atletico Madrid edge past Real to win the Super Cup. Diego Simeonea s men came out 2-1 on top over both the legs.
Real Madrid reached a low point in the season after losing to both Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad in consecutive league fixtures. Real first lost to Real Sociedad and then succumbed to an embarrassing defeat against Atletico at Santiago Bernabeu. That was on September 13. Four months later, Real Madrid have managed an incredible run where they have managed to go on a 22 game winning streak.
Working quietly amidst rumours surrounding his sacking, Carlo Ancelotti has forged the Real Madrid squad with grit and determination, transforming them into one of the most feared units in Europe. From sitting in the 13th spot, Real Madrid have managed to climb to the top of the La Liga and have taken their success into the Club World Cup. The Galacticos put forward a strong performance in Morocco and beat both Cruz Azul and San Lorenzo in order to establish themselves as the Champions of the World. Thus Real Madrid managed to pull the curtains down on a memorable year by pulling off yet another trophy to add to the cabinet at the Santiago Bernabeu.