Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup in stunning fashion as 23 year old Mario Gotze, who came into the match as a substitute in the 88’ minute, scored a brilliant goal on a pass from teammate Andre Schurrle, in the 113’ minute of extra time. Schurrle hustled down the left side of the pitch and lofted an excellent pass to Gotze, who expertly chested the pass and fluidly stroked the ball past Argentina goalkeeper, Sergio Romero, to help his country earn their 4th World Cup title. Germany started the World Cup in grand fashion, winning each of it’s 3 games in Group play, beating France in the quarterfinals, thrashing the host nation, Brazil, 7-1 in the semi-finals, and then defeated another South American team, Argentina to win the World Cup. Germany has won the FIFA World Cup in 1954, 1974, 1990, and now in 2014.
Atletico Madrid was seconds away from winning their first UEFA Champions League title after outplaying their city opponent, Real Madrid, 1-0 for the entire 90 minutes of regulation play. In extra time, Sergio Ramos saved the hearts of all Madrista’s and dulled the resolve of Atletico supporters by scoring an equalizing goal. In overtime(extra time), Real Madrid sensed that they were on their way to earning a 10th Champions League title, because Gareth Bale scored a goal in the 110’, Marcelo scored in the 118’, and Cristiano Ronaldo scored on a beautiful penalty kick at the 120’ to help their team capture the European Championship. Real Madrid has won a record 10 UEFA Champions League titles…La Decima, which has always been a goal for the team, was not easily won, but the Madrista’s showed a single determination and a skilled drive to pull of the impossible.
Cristiano Ronaldo has just won the FIFA Ballon d’Or, as the world’s best soccer player for the year 2013. The award was given in Zurich, Switzerland at a football extravganza. Ronaldo, who is a member of La Liga’s Real Madrid, won his first Ballon d’Or in 2008 as a member of the English Premiere League’s, Manchester United. Ronaldo scored a scintillating 69 goals in 2013 between Madrid and his Portugal National Team. He dominated world class teams and players with his numerous hat tricks against other La Liga teams and in international play. The Ballon D’Or voting, which is conducted by national team captains and coaches as well as journalist in each FIFA country, was very close despite Ronaldo’s exceptional year. Ronaldo received 1365 votes, Lionel Messi received 1205 votes and Franck Ribery received 1127 votes. Ronaldo’s win broke a string of four consecutive ballon d’or’s for Messi. In fact, Ronaldo’s 2008 and 2013 awards bookend Messi’s, but with his 2014 pace, Ronaldo is prepping himself for another great year and run for the Portuguese superstar.
UEFA Champions League play began on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, and three of the games greatest stars displayed their unequivocal skills as they each led their club to opening game victories. The superb Cristiano Ronald led his club, Real Madrid, to a 6-1 victory over Galatasaray Sports Club, a Turkish soccer club. Ronaldo scored three goals(a hat trick) as he his club scored at will upon the helpless Galatarasay members. Ronaldo’s 54 total goals in Champions League play, places him 5th among all players. On the other side of the world, a rejuvenated Wayne Rooney scored two goals and assisted as he deftly led his team to a 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen. The two goals were Rooney’s 199th and 200th of his career with his club, Manchester United of the English Premiere Laegue. Lionel Messi, of FC Barcelona observed the aforementioned, and on Wednesday, he scored his own hat trick, 3 goals, against Ajax, to lead his team to a decisive 4-0 victory. Messi’s goals give him 62 goals in Champions League history, which is 2nd place all-time to the 71 that Raul has placed on the leaderboard. It was also the first time ever, that any player has scored 4 separate hat tricks in Champions League history. The year is off to a rousing start.
Real Madrid, the world renowned Spanish Soccer franchise, has made significant changes to it’s lineup for the 2013-2014 season. Fan favorites, Gonzalo Higuain has been sent to play for Italian League Serie A, SSC Napoli, Kaka was granted his wish to play for AC Milan, of Serie A. Raul Albiol will play alongside Higuain, for SSC Napoli, and gifted passer, Mesut Ozil has gone to play for Arsenal of the English Premiere League for a 44 million dollar transfer fee. Real Madrid’s biggest acquisition was former Tottenham Hotspur’s Left Winger, Gareth Bale, for a record 135 million dollar transfer fee. Bale, who had an outstanding season for Tottenham last season, played alongside his new teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo, against Villareal, on Saturday, September 15, 2013, and both gifted strikers scored a goal each, as both teams played to a 2-2 tie. Giving Madristas everywhere a prediction for the clubs immediate future.
Real Madrid beat their arch-rival, FC Barcelona, for the 2nd time in five games, this afternoon 2-1, on an herculean header by Sergio Ramos. Ramos scored his game winning goal in the 82nd minute by out-leaping and out-jumping Barca player, Gerard Pique, to put a goal past the keeper, Victor Valdes, for the deciding goal. The El Classico starting in fine fashion as Karim Benzema scored the first goal for Madrid in the 6th minute of the match. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi tied the game in the 18th minute with his 50th goal of the season and his third consecutive season of 50 or more goals. Defending Spanish League Champion Real Madrid’s(17-5-4) win over Barcelona pulled them within 13 points of La Liga-leading Barcelona(22-2-2). Bernabeu favorite, Cristiano Ronaldo, did not start the match against Barca, but his manager, Jose Mourinho, inserted him in the 57th minute and as always, he exhibited his quintesential football excellence for his club. The next El Clasico will be on March 12th, hosted by Barca.
Lionel Messi, of FC Barcelona, won the Ballon D’Or for the fourth consecutive year in a row, as the European Footballer of the Year. He also has won the award, which is translated as “the golden ball”, a record four times! No other player has won the award four times. The closest being three times. Messi, who also plays for his native national team, Argetina, scored 12 goals for his nation, and 91 total goals in the calendar year of 2012. No other footballer has scored that many goals in a year. The 25 year old Messi is not only characterized by his superb football skills, but his modesty and humbleness have endeared him not only to his club and country, but to average fans of soccer as well. Cristiano Ronaldo, of Real Madrid fame, who walso on the award in 2008, came in second in voting.
Cristiano Ronaldo will return to the old stadium that propelled him to international stardom next year, as his current team, Real Madrid, will meet his former team, Manchester United, in the Round of 16 of the Champions League. The first match will be at the home of the Madristas’, The Bernebeu, on February 13th. On March 5th, Ronaldo will play at Old Trafford, in England. Ronaldo, while playing for the Red Devils, helped United to win 3 Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, and two appearances in the Champions League Final, winning one and losing the other. Ronaldo also won a Ballon D’or and World Player of the Year while playing for Manchester United.
Lionel Messi, of Football Club Barcelona, scored his 300th and 301st goal of his career, as he helped his club defeat, Rayo Villacano, 5-0, to take a commanding 3-point lead in La Liga standings. Msr. Messi continues to dominate Spanish football with his soccer wizardry on the pitch. He deftly defies conventional wisdom as his prowess is only matched by one other footballer. His humble spirit and deadly stike make him a fan-favorite and his keen eye and cat-like reflexes make him a nightmare for keepers who’s careers are made if they are able to stop him…which rarely happens.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the Captain of the Portugal National Soccer Team, has literally placed the team on his back and lead them into the semi-finals of the European Soccer Championship Series. On Thursday, Ronaldo’s header in the 79th minute was all the goals that were needed to allow his team to beat the Czech Republic. His team played solid defense in the waning minutes to secure the win. On Sunday, Ronaldo scored two goals, the first in the 28th minute and the game winner in the 74th minute to lead his team to a victory over the Netherlands’ National Team, which propelled Portugal into the quarterfinals. Ronaldo has silenced his harshest critics who have deemed him petulant and ineffective when he plays for his country’s National Team. He has displayed a positive enthusiasm and his football skills are undeniable as he moves effortlessly across the pitch. Portugal will face the winner of the France vs Spain match next week.