As we are in the midst of an international break, this is a good opportunity to do a quick recap of
The 2006-2007 season was a stomach turning, nerve wracking, gut wrenching experience from start to finish. Coming into the season,
During the summer 2006 transfer window, the team, led by new President Ramon Calderon, made some absolutely crucial moves. They strengthened the attack by picking up world-class striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, after he experienced a falling out with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. This was by far the most important move Calderon made, as van Nistelrooy ended up top scoring in La Liga. He was a pillar for the team, especially given that fellow forwards Ronaldo and Raul were far from their best (or healthy) for most of the season.
The team, with Capello’s defensive-minded approach, went on to endure some of the ugliest matches I’ve ever seen, playing some of the most unattractive football imaginable while barely squeezing out results. The team lost matches they had no business losing, against teams such as newly or recently promoted sides Recreativo Huelva (0-3), Celta Vigo (1-2), and Levante (0-1).
At points during the season, however, they played wonderfully passionate football, albeit it still lacked beauty. Memorably matches included both matches against
The other competitions went poorly for
The league title became all
The tie with Zaragoza was a perfect metaphor for the season…it was the second to last game of the season, with
In a matter of 18 seconds, Ruud van Nistelrooy scored a dramatic goal while Raul Tamudo became a part of Real Madrid lore by scoring the equalizer against
That set up a June 17th clash with Mallorca to decide the league: if
Mallorca got off to a quick start, scoring in the 17th minute, with
David Beckham, playing his last game with
Jose Reyes put La Liga to bed, scoring a wonderstrike in the 82nd, providing every one of us at the Bernabeu with a moment we’ll never forget. It’s hard not to well up with tears watching this goal, as it reminds me that it was the most improbable title from a group of players that didn’t have half the talent
Madrid lost only once in the last 17 games, salvaging 3 out of the last 4 games in the final minutes, beating Espanyol 4-3, Recreativo 3-2, and the amazing 2-2 draw against Zaragoza. Fabio Capello cast away David Beckham at one point during the season, claiming he’d never play again for
You could not write drama like what was seen in 2006-2007, because no one would believe it. Madrid was a team that lacked talent, played hideous football (for a Madrid team), was left for dead halfway through the season, sold off maybe the greatest striker of all time (Ronaldo) halfway through the season and in the middle of a scoring drought. They lacked in every department, except for one: played with a great deal of heart, and they ended up winning in the most dramatic of ways.
Thank you to Beckham and Roberto Carlos, two integral greats who departed after this title. A better end I could not imagine. I’ve been blessed to be there when