The word is ‘remontada‘ and its English translation is “comeback”. A spectre of remontada lurks over the opponents whenever they visit Santiago Bernabeu. Here tactical nuances take a backseat, as Pep Guardiola’s side must have realised after their recent debacle. Matches are decided in a few moments of absolute brilliance, and Real Madrid has an assortment of players capable of bending the game to their will.
The Brazilian striker Rodrygo did that twice in the space of two minutes before Karim Benzema’s nerveless penalty completed the turnaround. In a season marked by some dramatic comebacks, the latest episode was also the most special for Real Madrid.
After Riyad Mahrez’s sensational strike put Manchester City 5-3 on aggregate, the tie was all but over. Until the 90th minute of the game, Manchester City did terrific work to keep their strikers at bay. They were mighty close to booking their place in the final. And then all of a sudden, everything collapsed for the visitors.
“Ninety minutes in the Bernabeu is a very long time,” said Real Madrid hero Juanito in 1981. Even though the game has undergone a drastic change since his statement, one thing that has remained constant is the myth around Bernabeu. The fans believe in them, and so do the players who call this venue home.
Marcelo and Mariano had already predicted the scoreline of 3-1 in favour of Real Madrid. Both of them had the scoreline written on the paper, as they showed in the video diaries posted by the club on their YouTube channel.
Carlo Ancelotti, who became the first manager to reach the Champions League final five times, too admitted that there’s something special about Real Madrid.
“We’ve had fantastic nights. We’ve played against very strong teams, teams seen as candidates to win the Champions League,” said Ancelotti. “The players never gave up. It’s special here. Nobody thought Real Madrid would play another final this year, and we’re there.”