Why Real Madrid could win Champions League
If Real Madrid can turn that epic tie against Manchester City around, having also stunned Paris and survived an onslaught from holders Chelsea, nothing is beyond them. Karim Benzema is in the form of his life, and with Vinicíus Júnior providing scintillating support, as well as the venerable Toni Kroos and Luka Modric pulling the strings, who would dare rule out the 13-time winners doing what they do best?
Real Madrid Uefa ranking: 5
Real Madrid European Cup wins:
1955/56, 1956/57, 1957/58, 1958/59, 1959/60, 1965/66, 1997/98, 1999/2000, 2001/02, 20013/14,2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18
Last season: semifinals (L 1-3 agg v Chelsea)
Last final: 2017/18 (W 3-1 v Liverpool)
Real Madrid’s Champions League Campaign 2021/22
Record: W8 D0 L4 F28 A14
Top scorer: Karim Benzema (15)
Semifinals: 6-5 agg v Man. City
Quarterfinals: 5-4 agg v Chelsea
Round of 16: 3-2 agg v Paris
Group D: winners
How is it possible to lose at home to Sheriff and then reach the final with gargantuan performances against Paris, Chelsea and Manchester City? The route map helps explain. Madrid won nothing last season and, by their own admission, were desperate for trophies at home and in Europe this time round. The 5-0 away victory over Shakhtar reset Madrid’s GPS in the group stage. Defeat in Paris did the same – leading to a different high-pressing approach which reaped further reward at Stamford Bridge. Then, freshly crowned as Spanish champions, they surpassed all those efforts in that impossible-to-analyse tie against City.
How do Real Madrid play?
Working within a 4-3-3 template, Madrid have a strong spine starting with Thibaut Courtois and running through centre-back Éder Militão to the experienced midfield trio of Casemiro, Modric and Kroos with all that technical quality, vision and experience. And then you get to the in-form Benzema up front – a master of the arts of centre-forward play. They also have the energy of increasingly influential younger players like Vinícius Júnior and Federico Valverde, as well as that intangible
Who is Real Madrid’s key player?
Karim Benzema. Many people wondered where Real Madrid’s goals would come from when Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2018, but the France forward has more than stepped up to the plate to become the club’s talisman. He scored Madrid’s 1 000th European Cup goal against Shakhtar earlier this campaign then turned around their last-16 tie with Paris with a second-half hat-trick before striking the decisive blow in extra time against the Blues to make it four goals in the tie. His Panenka against City almost defied belief and he was nerveless from the spot in the return too to send his side to the showpiece.
Who is Real Madrid coach?
Carlo Ancelotti. The manager who steered Madrid to ‘La Décima’ in 2014 returned last summer for a second stint in charge. He is one of just three coaches to have won the European Cup/Champions League on three occasions, and will be the first to manage in five finals.
Did you know?
Madrid have reached the European Cup final for the 17th time this season, six more than any other club. They have won their last seven finals in this competition and, of course, their total of 13 titles is unsurpassed.
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