2014: A year to remember for Real Madrid

Spanish side Real Madrid has closed off the best calendar year of their long history by lifting the FIFA World Club Cup in Morocco against Argentina’s San Lorenzo. In 112 years, this is the first time the club wins four titles –Copa del Rey, Champions League, European Super Cup and Club World Cup–, but they’ve also managed to break the Spanish record for most consecutive victories (22) and most goals (175), making them the best team in the history of the competition. But how did they manage to do this? Here are the keys to a grandiose year: Carlos Ancelotti: The puppet master The Italian manager has put aside all the antiquated believes about having to manage groups with big stars like a drill sergeant. Since day one, Ancelotti has been nothing short of a gentleman, has gotten along with everybody (including the press) and has gotten the best out of every single one of his players. Marcelo, Ronaldo, Isco and even Illarramendi are the clearest examples of Ancelotti’s well doing with the squad. A team in which everyone understands their role, nobody feels above anybody else, and everyone fights together for a common goal. Winning trophies The time of excuses is now over. With Jose Mourinho at the helm, we had gotten used to convoluted stories made up by the Portuguese on how certain defeats, in his mind, counted as victories. Chelsea’s manager still believes losing in semifinals against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League after the decisive penalty kick shootout was –somehow– a victory for Real Madrid. SEE ALSO: Cristiano Ronaldo – Lionel Messi: The competition that never ends The same goes for his unfair elimination in 2009 at Chelsea against FC Barcelona. With Ancelotti, all of this doesn’t fly. In a year and a half, the Italian has won one more trophy than Mourinho did in three years at Real Madrid, and he has also made no excuses for La Liga and Spanish Super Cup’s defeats. He congratulated his opponent, reprimanded his players for the missed opportunity, and moved on to the next thing. A true class act. Ronaldo’s best version Cristiano Ronaldo is a competitive machine. He was visibly affected after winning the FIFA Club World Cup because he did not score in 180 minutes. That will never change. It’s part of who he is, and he cannot turn it off. But Ronaldo has managed to do something bigger and better in 2014. He has had his best scoring year, and his team has helped him achieve unimaginable feats, like scoring 17 goals in the Champions League, or opening up the La Liga season with 25 goals in 14 games. In return, Ronaldo has also become a true team player. He is currently the man with the most assists on the team in the local tournament (8), and is tied with Benzema as the overall most giving player in the squad in the overall season. This is an aspect of his game the Portuguese has not dug in earlier in his career, but playing with Isco, Benzema and Bale, he has realized his assists may very well be as effective as his shots on goal sometimes. Being defensive with attacking players In his first 9 months in the team, Ancelotti got tired of repeating one word: Equilibrium. That was all he was looking for. How could he manage to find the balance between offense and defense when lining up Benzema, Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo upfront? Well, he figured out Di Maria’s ever lasting energy, teamed up with Modric and Xabi Alonso’s midfielding abilities were enough to balance the team, and that brought forth a Champions League victory in May. SEE ALSO: Lucas Silva: The next Brazilian star to hit Europe But without Di Maria or Xabi Alonso this year, he needed another twist of fate, and he managed to find it in Isco and James. The two attacking midfielders have understood their role in the squad to perfection and have become two of the best defensive minds in the game. Their dynamism, put together with Toni Kroos’ chess-like abilities to move the team as he sees fit, have turned Real Madrid into an attacking machine… that also barely gets shot on goal. Iker Casillas’ return If there’s one thing Carlo Ancelotti should be remembered for in 2014 it is for making sure Iker Casillas had a very deserved comeback. The goalkeeper, considered the best of the last decade by IFFHS, had a 2013 and first half of 2014 to forget. Mourinho’s personal problems with him kept him off the starting lineup, and Ancelotti gave Diego Lopez a chance to start in La Liga when he got the club, while Iker was handed the Copa del Rey and Champions League. As luck would have it, Real Madrid would win the two tournaments Casillas was a starter in, but his mistake in the Champions League final seemed to have brought his confidence down. A terrible World Cup with Spain would follow, and when no one thought the best Casillas would come back, Ancelotti trusted him with the starting spot, and the goalkeeper repaid him nicely. His first appearance back in the land of the living was in el Clasico, against Lionel Messi. He would continuously do well in La Liga, but his confirmation would arrive against Almeria, stopping a penalty kick, and then against Cruz Azul, doing the same in the semifinal of the FIFA Club World Cup. In the final of said tournament, against San Lorenzo, Real Madrid didn’t have too much work in the back, but when he did, Casillas was there shining bright once again. 2015 could be a great year for Real Madrid’s goalkeeper if he keeps this up.The post 2014: A year to remember for Real Madrid appeared first on Voxxi.

Spanish side Real Madrid has closed off the best calendar year of their long history by lifting the FIFA World Club Cup in Morocco against Argentina’s San Lorenzo. In 112 years, this is the first time the club wins four titles –Copa del Rey, Champions League, European Super Cup and Club World Cup–, but they’ve also managed to break the Spanish record for most consecutive victories (22) and most goals (175), making them the best team in the history of the competition.

But how did they manage to do this? Here are the keys to a grandiose year:

Carlos Ancelotti: The puppet master

Real Madrid celebrate following the FIFA Club World Cup Final match between Real Madrid CF and San Lorenzo at Marrakech Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Marrakech, Morocco. (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)

The Italian manager has put aside all the antiquated believes about having to manage groups with big stars like a drill sergeant. Since day one, Ancelotti has been nothing short of a gentleman, has gotten along with everybody (including the press) and has gotten the best out of every single one of his players.

Marcelo, Ronaldo, Isco and even Illarramendi are the clearest examples of Ancelotti’s well doing with the squad. A team in which everyone understands their role, nobody feels above anybody else, and everyone fights together for a common goal.

Winning trophies

The time of excuses is now over. With Jose Mourinho at the helm, we had gotten used to convoluted stories made up by the Portuguese on how certain defeats, in his mind, counted as victories. Chelsea’s manager still believes losing in semifinals against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League after the decisive penalty kick shootout was –somehow– a victory for Real Madrid.

SEE ALSO: Cristiano Ronaldo – Lionel Messi: The competition that never ends

The same goes for his unfair elimination in 2009 at Chelsea against FC Barcelona. With Ancelotti, all of this doesn’t fly. In a year and a half, the Italian has won one more trophy than Mourinho did in three years at Real Madrid, and he has also made no excuses for La Liga and Spanish Super Cup’s defeats. He congratulated his opponent, reprimanded his players for the missed opportunity, and moved on to the next thing. A true class act.

Ronaldo’s best version

Cristiano Ronaldo is Real Madrid's most dangerous player.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring Real’s 3rd goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Celta Vigo at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 6, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo is a competitive machine. He was visibly affected after winning the FIFA Club World Cup because he did not score in 180 minutes. That will never change. It’s part of who he is, and he cannot turn it off. But Ronaldo has managed to do something bigger and better in 2014. He has had his best scoring year, and his team has helped him achieve unimaginable feats, like scoring 17 goals in the Champions League, or opening up the La Liga season with 25 goals in 14 games. In return, Ronaldo has also become a true team player.

He is currently the man with the most assists on the team in the local tournament (8), and is tied with Benzema as the overall most giving player in the squad in the overall season. This is an aspect of his game the Portuguese has not dug in earlier in his career, but playing with Isco, Benzema and Bale, he has realized his assists may very well be as effective as his shots on goal sometimes.

Being defensive with attacking players

In his first 9 months in the team, Ancelotti got tired of repeating one word: Equilibrium. That was all he was looking for. How could he manage to find the balance between offense and defense when lining up Benzema, Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo upfront? Well, he figured out Di Maria’s ever lasting energy, teamed up with Modric and Xabi Alonso’s midfielding abilities were enough to balance the team, and that brought forth a Champions League victory in May.

SEE ALSO: Lucas Silva: The next Brazilian star to hit Europe

But without Di Maria or Xabi Alonso this year, he needed another twist of fate, and he managed to find it in Isco and James. The two attacking midfielders have understood their role in the squad to perfection and have become two of the best defensive minds in the game. Their dynamism, put together with Toni Kroos’ chess-like abilities to move the team as he sees fit, have turned Real Madrid into an attacking machine… that also barely gets shot on goal.

Iker Casillas’ return

Iker Casillas is back in top form for Real Madrid.
Iker Casillas of Real Madrid is presented with an award to commemorate his 700th match by president Florentino Perez following the FIFA Club World Cup Final match between Real Madrid CF and San Lorenzo at Marrakech Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Marrakech, Morocco. (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)

If there’s one thing Carlo Ancelotti should be remembered for in 2014 it is for making sure Iker Casillas had a very deserved comeback. The goalkeeper, considered the best of the last decade by IFFHS, had a 2013 and first half of 2014 to forget. Mourinho’s personal problems with him kept him off the starting lineup, and Ancelotti gave Diego Lopez a chance to start in La Liga when he got the club, while Iker was handed the Copa del Rey and Champions League.

As luck would have it, Real Madrid would win the two tournaments Casillas was a starter in, but his mistake in the Champions League final seemed to have brought his confidence down. A terrible World Cup with Spain would follow, and when no one thought the best Casillas would come back, Ancelotti trusted him with the starting spot, and the goalkeeper repaid him nicely. His first appearance back in the land of the living was in el Clasico, against Lionel Messi.

He would continuously do well in La Liga, but his confirmation would arrive against Almeria, stopping a penalty kick, and then against Cruz Azul, doing the same in the semifinal of the FIFA Club World Cup. In the final of said tournament, against San Lorenzo, Real Madrid didn’t have too much work in the back, but when he did, Casillas was there shining bright once again. 2015 could be a great year for Real Madrid’s goalkeeper if he keeps this up.

(function(d, s, id) {

var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];

if (d.getElementById(id)) return;

js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;

js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&appId=313098648827735&version=v2.0”;

fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);

}(document, “script”, “facebook-jssdk”));

The post 2014: A year to remember for Real Madrid appeared first on Voxxi.