Trust and Faith
Real Madrid was not seen as a Champions League favourite. Unbelievable, but never at any stage of the playoffs. And for the team of Carlo Ancelotti, the road to the cup turned out to be as difficult as possible: PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool!
“Creamy” was on the verge of relegation in all three two-game matches. Real against PSG, losing an away match (0:1), became the first to miss at home and already in the second half. However, a quick hat-trick was later taken from Karim Benzema.
Madrid played an almost perfect away game against Chelsea (3:1), but lost all the advantage in their home game and found themselves relegated with 15 minutes left in regular time. However, Rodrigo scored a saver in regular time and Benzema decided everything in extra time.
There was something incredible against City. Away, the “royal club” miraculously lost only one goal (3:4) and again missed home in the 73rd minute!
An incredible duo of Rodrigo and Benzema’s overtime penalty and penalty knocked out the Brits in the 90th and first added minutes.
Against Liverpool in the final, Real Madrid mostly defended and only landed one official shot on target throughout the entire match. But he brought the winning goal from Vinicius Junior. And then there was Benzema’s previously controversially canceled goal.
You can talk all you want about miracles and luck, but it can’t be just a matter of luck with so many incredible turns by a team tucked away one playoff distance.
Madrid’s super strength is that they really never give up and believe in the opportunity to take a chance and change everything. Even if it seems incredible to everyone.
And besides belief, there is also the confidence of the team.
We know that Real Madrid won when they reached the final. “I’m on the right now,” said Thibault Courtois at his pre-final press conference. He received a series of negative messages for this, and then went out and played to zero and made a few brilliant saves.
This trust is created by many factors. The status of the club, its traditions, the winning experience of this squad… But the coach also plays an important role.
Insiders say Carlo Ancelotti promised Florentino Perez to win the Champions League during a meeting with the president a few months ago after a bitter 0-4 defeat to Barcelona in El Clasico. Well, he kept his word, taking the title of champion of Spain along the way …
A coach figure in general is very important. In an age where tactical coaches rule the football world, Ancelotti remains an old-timer who can succeed.
Analysts have repeatedly noted that the strength of the current Real Madrid is the ability to “drive the opponent into chaos”, where the wards of Pope Carlo are really real kings.
But this too has a plan and headquarters’ work. In addition, Ancelotti made key moves for certain opponents multiple times throughout the season. The road to the Champions League playoffs is an indication that the pre-final starting plan is better than the opponent’s and has only worked once – in the away game against Chelsea.
But at the same time, the Real Madrid mentor worked perfectly every time during the meetings, changing the non-working details to effective ones and saving the situation, including with ideal changes.
The encounter with Man City is an indication that the English are clearly better in the home game and certainly not worse in the away game. Ancelotti, however, managed to turn everything around with his moves, and when the scales turned to the Spanish side, Josep Guardiola, who had done a great homework, was unable to make adjustments.
Against Liverpool in the final, the Italian specialist chose a seemingly clear and effective, but complex and dangerous plan. Real Madrid came out and held on to resist on defense, but it’s not just that…
Real Madrid players had too much possession of the ball, realizing that Liverpool would crush it with their extraordinary offensive power in the Champions League final. And that was mainly in their own half and in the middle at best.
Real Madrid purposefully went out of defense with short passes under Jurgen Klopp’s team’s famous counter pressure from Liverpool. And the “creamy” practically did not lose the ball. The Spaniards were looking for their chance for a crushing attack, and when they found it, they were able to safely lead the meeting to victory.
All this is only possible when you have top-notch performers at your disposal. “Truth” is also collected just like that. Luca Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Federico Valverde as well as reserve Eduardo Camavinga, in the midline, will not be ashamed of any pressure. They all have a great view of the field and work great with the ball.
Therefore, the team was able to implement the match plan suggested by the mentor.
But still, victory would not have been possible without the outstanding play of Thibaut Courtois. Exceptional throughout the season, even in the “royal club” jersey in recent years.
And the Belgian goalkeeper, who marched to his first Champions Cup in a long time in the final, also did a great job. He made several stylish saves, each of which was extremely important.
Of course, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane’s saves came to the fore as Courtois, for the first time, took a lightning-quick and low hit, while in another episode, he reacted and delivered a powerful shot from a deadly position to the post.
Courtois is currently at the peak of his career and is certainly one of the strongest goalkeepers in the world, if not at the top of this list.
Karim Benzema and Vinicius
This year’s Ballon d’Or will go to Karim Benzema. It’s more or less clear to everyone now. At the age of 34, he became the top scorer for the first time in the Spanish Championship (27 goals) and also repeated the Champions League goal record by scoring 15 goals in one season!
Moreover, all the genius of the French striker is not exhausted by effective strokes alone. He plays a very important role in Ancelotti’s productions. Actually, 0:4 from Barcelona happened just when Karim got injured.
In addition, Benzema has found real chemistry with left winger Vinicius Junior, which is advancing at an incredible pace. In fact, these duo scored in the final even though the captain’s goal was cancelled.
In this Champions League, Vinicius scored four goals and provided six assists, mostly against Benzema. Well, his high-speed breakthroughs tormented all opponents of Madrid in general.
When you have such a tandem in attack, and the new Rodrigo additionally takes their place (and scores five more), you can fight for any trophy, or even bow down to your opponents in some way.