Real Madrid fell by two goals in total against Paris Saint-Germain, half an hour before the end of the match in the round of 16 in the Champions League. They were one goal behind in the two games against Chelsea 10 minutes before the end of the match. After that, they were two goals down on aggregate against Manchester City, one minute before the end of the match. But against all odds, they found themselves bound for Paris to face Liverpool in the final.
✈️🎟️ Paris. We are going to Paris!!!!#APorLa14 | emirates pic.twitter.com/kORqEdw4wO
– Real Madrid CF (realmadriden) May 4, 2022
This series of unrealistic responses would be called exaggeration if this were a movie but we’ve seen it happen with our own eyes. Fans want to believe that it’s the magic of the Bernabeu that not only facilitates these performances but causes them to happen. Some say it is the mental fragility of the opposition. Some say it’s just Carlo Ancelotti’s eyebrows.
Give them some credit
It’s tempting to attribute their success to these romantic ideals, but this great aspect does great harm. Real Madrid won all three matches effectively because they took their chances while their opponents did not. Lionel Messi did not score the penalty in the first leg, Romelu Lukaku had missed chances in extra time in the second leg and Manchester City could have scored two or three goals in each match.
Simply put, the execution of Real Madrid was better than the execution of their opponents. They have players with the individual quality of Luka Modric and Karim Benzema who will profit from any small mistake made. They have the likes of Vinicius and Rodrygo who have a bag full of speed to spare and another bag full of tricks. They also have Thibaut Courtois, who is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. Their success shouldn’t be too complicated. And she is.
Was Real Madrid lucky?
It’s easy to say that Real Madrid reached the final because they have individual skills, a ruthless finish and maybe a bit of luck. Los Blancos will say luck had nothing to do with it – Dani Carvajal was in the exact position he wanted when Phil Foden fired his shot in his face from six yards with the rest of the nets still a gap. Or Ferland Mendy meant to take Foden’s shot off the line and out of danger rather than inside and return it to goal.
But it would be a mistake. Luck has played a huge role in Real Madrid’s career, as with any team that reaches the final of the knockout competition. Cup competitions have a lot of variance and the best strategy for teams is to reduce it.
It’s crazy to have this team in the 10th Champions League semi-final in 12 years, and the 5th final in that time span. Rather than going its course, it was well prepared for the future. This is the start of a barely finished cycle.
– Kiyan Soubani (KiyanSo) May 4, 2022
Luck though, it still doesn’t explain everything. Madrid’s tactics do not aim to reduce variance, but rather do the opposite. Ancelotti’s team thrived amid the chaos, attracting disciplined and well-versed opponents such as Man City and Chelsea in free-for-all slugs.
Of course, these types of matches suit Real Madrid better and that is why they are trying to create them. They controlled the ball in the first half yesterday at the Bernabeu but were lacking in ideas and created few openings. They need an open game for individual skill to flourish and I have succeeded with them in creating these scenarios where the opponent is It must be Come to their neck.
But this still does not explain why Madrid performs better than their opponents. To understand this, we need to go back to the four basic principles of training – technical skill, tactical knowledge, physical ability, and psychological strength.
Neither side they overcame lacked their individual talents. Chelsea and Man City were superior tactically. You could also say that the English clubs were better prepared physically thanks to the exceptional depth of their squad and the demands of the Premier League. This leaves only psychic power.
👑 Name: Real Madrid CF
💼 Function: return.#Aborla 14 pic.twitter.com/shdGRgHvLk
– Real Madrid CF (realmadriden) May 4, 2022
Is Madrid’s success due to their innate mental superiority? The evidence certainly seems to point towards it. Luck could explain one or two cup rounds, but this was the Spanish champions’ 10th semi-finals in 12 years to claim four of the last eight titles.
If it was skill, physicality or tactics, they would have dominated the league as well but they have won only three of the last 10 leagues or four of the last 14. The team is probably built for cup competitions more than the league. football. This surely means that they dominated the King’s Cup? That’s not true either – they haven’t won the Spanish Cup in the past eight seasons, and they’ve failed to reach the final in that period either.
Thus, there is something about the big stage, about the Bernabéu that gives Madrid an extra edge. Ancelotti’s team can perform better than anyone else when the stakes are at their highest, when the pressure becomes unbearable for others.
What gives them the advantage, only Madrid knows. It’s a well-kept secret passed on from Di Stefano through Raul and Casillas to Ronaldo and Benzema. It could be the crowd that pulls in the goals, or Puskas’ ghost who sets them up, or Carlo Ancelotti’s eyebrows hypnotizing opponents. Who are we to deprive anyone of their romantic interpretation of the game?