Flash. Finesse. Flair. All of these words, and many more, could be used to describe the rollercoaster that was the soccer world in 2014.
So many stories, so many teams, and so many players captured the hearts and minds of fans around the world, and so many fell to counteract that. In domestic play, the staggering goal totals put up by Luis Suarez looked sure to be enough to land Liverpool its first Premier League title, but the likes of Sergio Aguero and Manchester City stood in the way.
In Spain, former outsiders Atletico Madrid burst into the exclusive club once only inhabited by Barcelona and Real Madrid en route to a La Liga title. Shifting to Germany, Bayern Munich, although not repeating its ludicrously impressive feat of the treble, coasted their way towards a Bundesliga title.
Finally, the old ladies themselves, Juventus, survived tough competition before claiming the Serie A title. In Europe as a whole, after what seemed like ages, the aforementioned Real Madrid finally claimed La Decima, its tenth Champions League title. To make it even sweeter, the victory came against crosstown rivals Atletico in Portugal, the home nation of star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Finally, after 4 eternally long years, the World Cup returned for our viewing pleasure, this time being hosted in Brazil. The host nation carried high hopes, gunning for that 6th World Cup title, but 18 minutes, 18 devastatingly painful minutes, from a lethal German attack ended the host’s claim to the title.
Also within that tournament, the global community gained a new underdog to support in Costa Rica, defying all odds by advancing all the way to the quarterfinals before heartbreakingly losing in penalties to the Netherlands.
Furthermore, on the subject of Holland, Dutch striker Robin Van Persie staked his claim to goal of the year with a beautiful diving header, which has aptly been named the “Flying Dutchman.”
Ultimately, though, it was the formidable Germans who came away with the title, with a Mario Gotze goal in extra time sealing the deal against Lionel Messi’s Argentina. Looking ahead to 2015, several notable names won’t be on the global soccer scene as players, perhaps most importantly Thierry Henry, Javier Zanetti, and Carles Puyol.
However, with young guns like Martin Ødegaard and Gideon Zelalem looking primed to burst onto the scene for all to see, 2015 should live up to any hype it receives.