It might not have been the most successful season in Real Madrid’s history but there have still been some positives to take from the 2014/15 campaign. Despite starting the year by winning the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, before embarking on an incredible 22-game winning streak, the wheels fell off the Real trophy hunt at the beginning of 2015. They put themselves in a strong position after Christmas, but Real ended the season by failing to keep pace with Barcelona in La Liga’s title race as well as suffering a surprise defeat to Juventus in the semi-final of the Champions League. After lifting the trophy in 2014, Real had started at around 4/1 to retain the European Cup this season, only to lose to out to Juventus over two legs for a place in the final. Carlo Ancelotti is now facing a summer of uncertainty after the disappointing season, with many expecting the Italian to be replaced as the Real Madrid head coach before the start of next year.
But while there won’t be many Real Madrid fans keen on remembering this season for too long, there have still been some stand-outs from this star-studded squad. Cristiano Ronaldo might be the most obvious choice as Real Madrid’s Player of the Year, but there have been some eye-catching performances from other members of the team over the course of the campaign. So let’s have a look at those players who have shone in a fairly gloomy 2014/15 at the Bernabeu.
It might be a bit obvious but you’re not going to get many Real Madrid fans arguing that Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t been their best player this season. Ronaldo has again shown just why he will go down in history as one of the best players to have worn the famous white jersey. As well as winning the Ballon d’Or for a third time in his career, Ronaldo added another 58 goals to his Real Madrid tally this season, five of which came in one remarkable display against Granada in April. But the Real superstar’s goals have caused some issues this season, with some feeling Ronaldo is more focused on breaking individual records than he is about the club’s success. The former Manchester United star has shown during his career that he isn’t happy if the team aren’t dominating, and it’s clear that that has been the case this season. While Barcelona look back to their best at 3/5 at the time of writing with 32Red to beat Juventus in this year’s Champions League final and 5/11 with 10Bet to score the first goal in the showpiece, Ronaldo won’t be satisfied with another year of playing second fiddle to the Catalans in either La Liga or European football.
The Real Madrid stalwart has enjoyed another fine season in the heart of Real Madrid’s defence, and there are some who believe the club’s La Liga title hopes ended during the seven games the centre-back missed with injury during February. During the time Ramos was sidelined with injury, Real only won three out of seven games and allowed Barcelona to take control of the title race. Despite the defender’s return to the side helping get the club’s season back on track, Real were always playing catch up from that point. While Ancelotti has rotated Pepe and Raphael Varane in the centre of his defence, Ramos has been a virtual ever-present whenever he’s been fit. But it hasn’t just been his defensive attributes that have made him so crucial to the club this season, and the 29-year-old has also weighed in with some crucial goals during the year, scoring in the semi-final and then in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup helped the club to the title in Morocco at the end of 2014. While Ronaldo is still the most important part of this Real Madrid team, even the best player in the world would admit that Ramos is perhaps just as instrumental to the club’s success than he is, or at least almost.
James Rodriguez’s incredible performances for Colombia in last summer’s World Cup convinced Real Madrid to spend €80 million to sign the attacking midfielder from Monaco. Despite his arrival in Spain being surrounded by so much hype, Rodriguez has slipped effortlessly into life in Madrid, establishing himself as a firm fan favourite after an impressive debut season at the Bernabeu. Aside from a two-month absence due to a broken foot, Rodriguez has been a key part of Ancelotti’s starting line-up this season, scoring 16 goals despite playing in a much deeper role than he is used to due to the presence of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema. While the South American’s ability hasn’t come as any shock to those who have followed his career since his arrival in Europe with Porto, for a lot of people it wasn’t until the World Cup before they really got to see what a talent Rodriguez is. And if there was any doubt as to just how special James is, the way he has stood out in a team containing so many world-class players has silenced those who felt he wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure of playing for Real.