September 28, 2021. Santiago Bernabeu. 11:00 pm. At that very moment, not a single person, not a single soccer fan with a critical mind and in full possession of his mental capacity, would have given Real Madrid winner of the 2021/2022 edition of the Champions League. Despite an avalanche of opportunities, the White House had managed the feat of losing at home against the modest Sheriff Tiraspol (1-2). Eight months later, this defeat seems unreal.
An amazing journey
Indeed, the Merengue still managed to lift a 14th Champions League. And not against just anyone. From February 15 to May 28, the Spanish team almost met the best in Europe: Paris Saint-Germain (0-1, 3-1) in the round of 16, Chelsea (3-1, 2-3 a.m.) in the quarterfinals, Manchester City (3-4, 3-1 a.m.) in the semifinals and Liverpool (1-0) in the final. Real took out the French champions and their star-studded line-up, but above all the top three teams in the Premier League. Four teams that were pretending to the final title and that fell on a bone. Of the seven games played, Real has not dominated any of them. Zero. Thirty minutes against Paris in the return, the first half of the first game against the Blues, part of the extra time in the return against the Citizens and probably five minutes against the Reds. Not more than one game in total. Despite this relentless reality, the specialist of the competition went to the end thanks to a good dose of success but also and above all an ability to suffer, to return the blows, to take advantage of the weak points of the opponent and to get the best of his abilities to jump over the fence and leave his opponents down.
Real alone in the world
Who could, this Sunday morning, dispute the fact that Real is the greatest club in the world, the most mystical, the best, quite simply? While the five consecutive victories between 1956 and 1960 were often mocked by some fans of rival teams, especially referring to “wooden cups” that few people followed, this joke is no longer relevant. Remember, the White House has won 5 of the last 9 editions, with almost the same structure and losing Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos on the one of 2022. Since 2000, Real has won seven, as much as AC Milan, second in the list of winners. Who better than Karim Benzema to talk about this special feeling that characterizes the royal club? “It is always difficult to win the Champions League and this year even more so. We did it, we deserve our victory because we played only big teams. (…) There is no chance, no chance. We can have it once, not every time. We deserve our victory, we gave incredible efforts and we never gave up”, said the top scorer of the competition for Canal +. An unexpected victory, unexpected, but oh so beautiful. And it would not be surprising if Real did not already think about the 15th star …