The image of Sergio Ramos , with his vest in the stands, explains this defeat. It is not only what the captain does in the area. It is what others do when they are by his side and what they do and feel when he leaves them. They are like orphans. His inseparable Raphael Varane made two childhood mistakes to kill his own team twice, minutes after the start and when he had managed to draw, as if lifting the sword of this Madrid harakiri where it hurts the most, in the Champions League. Despite the mistakes, this demands more, it is not the League.

Varane is as world champion as Ramos, but it is not the same. Little can be said in defense of the Frenchman on his worst day as a Real Madrid player, no matter how much the tie was uphill after 1-2 in the first leg and however stubborn Zidane's will to get the ball played from his area.

One minute and 40 seconds, Madrid had the ball as soon as the game started. One minute and 40 seconds in which he did not leave his half of the field, most of it in his area. The order to get the ball played turned Thibaut Courtois into a beacon, in the face of advanced pressure from City players. The first scene left a clue, a damn clue.

In the opposite area quite the opposite. The defense let the Madrid forwards reach, with apparent parsimony to yield to Ederson . The goalkeeper was launching into no man's land, behind the midfielders when Zinedine Zidane's team was more stretched out. If someone who did not know the teams had been asked which was Pep Guardiola's team , he would have said that the first, without hesitation. He would have been wrong. The same stubbornness that cost the Catalan coach a goal at the Bernabéu due to an error by Víctor Valdés , this time penalized his opponent, because the ball is like the pitcher: it carries the water as the game carries, no more. From there, it only leads to absurdity.

Gabriel Jesús jumped on Varane's doubts and yielded to Raheem Sterling , who only had to push the ball into the net. A few minutes had passed, very few, although it was a more moral than real slab for Madrid, because the two goals he needed at the beginning were the same ones that could keep him alive. The most counterproductive was the energizing effect it could have on the City.

Guardiola's men charged, with a visionary Kevin de Bruyne in the three quarters, and Phil Foden , Guardiola's novelty in the eleven, Gabriel Jesus and Sterling without offering fixed references to the defense. In that, Guardiola has not changed: he prefers the false nine, the movements and the versatility in the attack. In the rest, he is a more Darwinian Pep since his arrival in the Premier, where he has adapted to the English landscape without prejudice, and Ederson's long serves are the best proof. Once, they were sacrilege, almost as much as counterattack, one of the City's arts.

Sterling moved like a bee, overflowed, hyperactive, shot high and tested Courtois, especially after receiving a superb ball into space from De Bruyne as soon as the second half started. The Belgian did it too, like a man possessed in the search for the Olympic goal, direct from the corner to the goal of his compatriot. Courtois knows him well. The Madrid goalkeeper managed everything except friendly fire.

Madrid did not unleash after the goal and City threatened just enough, without a real burden. There was respect, a lot. Although the English team is very uneven between its defense and its attack, Madrid is more measured. That greater balance allowed the whites to compose themselves and find themselves on the outside. Zidane's surprise, Rodrygo, proved him right. The Brazilian overflowed Joao Cancelo and gave a cross that was like a goal wrapped in cellophane for Karim Benzema .

The teams returned to the starting point, but in a favorable way for Madrid for their goal. However, he was far from getting the second, much more than his rival, incisive. Zidane knows that he has less fire and preferred a long game, waiting for a blow. Varane prevented it with a suicidal assignment and Gabriel Jesus, key in the first leg, was again in the Etihad. It was the success of Guardiola, who eliminated Madrid for the first time without directing Barça. Zidane loses his first match in the Champions League, towards Lisbon without Madrid, nor Cristiano Ronaldo .

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

  • Pep Guardiola
  • Zinedine Zidane
  • Thibaut Courtois
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Sergio Ramos
  • Karim Benzema
  • sports
  • soccer
  • Real Madrid

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