There were many memorable sporting moments in 2014. Here we take a look at 10 highlights from the year.
Rory McIlroy evoked memories of Tiger Woods' dominant days as he took the golfing world by storm with a stunning mid-season run. The Northern Irishman captured two majors, the Open Championship and USPGA Championship, in a three-week spell before adding the coup de grace when playing a starring role in Europe's Ryder Cup success.
Even more magic Mercedes
Mercedes captured all of the attention in this year's Formula One championship as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton won an astonishing 16 of the 19 races. But it was Hamilton who took the title, triumphing in an at times controversial battle of team-mates thanks to an impressive haul of 11 race victories, including in the decisive final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
It was a year to rejoice for the Cleveland Cavaliers as their favourite son LeBron James returned to his first NBA team following a highly-successful stint with the Miami Heat. The four-time MVP swapped South Beach, where he won two championships, for more familiar surrounds as the Cavaliers assembled a roster that many expect big things from in 2015.
No home comforts
Football's traditionalists covered their eyes when Brazil were ruthlessly dismantled by Germany in a 7-1 World Cup semi-final hammering that left the host nation's fans heartbroken. It would prove a performance of the champions, with Joachim Low's men going on to lift the trophy by overcoming another South American powerhouse, Argentina, 1-0 in the final.
Manchester City lifted the Premier League for the second time, but only after one of the most dramatic title races in the history of English football. It appeared certain that Liverpool would end their long wait for a league championship, until Steven Gerrard's fateful slip helped gift Chelsea a victory at Anfield that paved the way for Manuel Pellegrini's men to snatch the crown.
Barcelona and Real Madrid's La Liga title stranglehold was remarkably broken as Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid enjoyed a fairytale season. A stunning campaign for the more unfashionable side from the Spanish capital did end in disappointment, however, as they were beaten in extra-time of the UEFA Champions League final by their city rivals.
Tennis potentially entered a new era of unpredictability in 2014 as Marin Cilic triumphed in the US Open. After a period of dominance from the big three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, plus the odd surge from Andy Murray, Cilic's victory potentially opened the door for a greater variety of grand slam winners in the coming years.
Ole, Ole, Ole
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen stole the show in Sochi when becoming the most prolific medalist in Winter Olympic history. The Norwegian has amassed an unrivalled 13 over the course of six Games appearances, albeit with all coming in his final five. Overall, the skier has eight golds, four silvers and a bronze.
The Seattle Seahawks ended the city's long-awaited wait for a major sporting title with a dominating Super Bowl victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Led by an outstanding defence that is considered one of the greatest of all time, Seattle crushed the Broncos 43-8 in New Jersey to lift the Lombardi Trophy.
No year seems complete these days without the record books being re-written by Lionel Messi. The Barcelona star managed to secure a couple of significant landmarks in 2014, becoming the most prolific scorer in La Liga history and in the Champions League in the space of four days. Oh, and he's still only 27!