With an easy 6-2 aggregate victory over Napoli, Real Madrid secured their ticket to the Champions League quarter-finals for the 33rd time in their history (in 47 appearances in the Champions League). They are simply the most European club you can find out there. Zidane, Undecima and Malediction: Here's a quick presentation of Real Madrid's strengths, weaknesses and history ahead of their upcoming quarter final against Bayern Munich. Sergio Ramos Considered one of the best players in the world,...
One Reason They Could Win It...
Because Zinédine Zidane
Appointed as Real Madrid manager only a year ago after Rafael Benitez's shockingly bad term on Los Blancos' bench, Zidane has already proven that he's as good a manager as he was a player.
On his first six months as Real Madrid manager, the French legend won three international titles: he won la Undecima, the club's 11th Champions League and his personal 2nd (one as a player, one as a manager), the UEFA Supercup and the FIFA Clubs World Cup.
Currently on top of La Liga with two points on Barcelona and one less game, his hunger for trophies is clearly not satisfied, and he turned this bunch of individual superstars into a group of champions.
...and One Reason They Might Not
Because of *suspense, then dramatic voice* : THE MALEDICTION
It's a fact: since the 1989-1990 season and Arrigo Sacchi's AC Milan, no team has been able to win the Champions League two years in a row. That's 26 editions with each year a different winner.
Ultimate proof of this malediction: the last five Real Madrid Champions League titles were in 2016, 2014, 2002, 2000 and 1998. Each time, one blank season between two titles. Can't do anything against fate, can you?
The One Stat That Will Make Your Friends Say "Oh, Really?"
Real Madrid have managed to go through to the Champions League quarter finals for the 7th season in a row. Better: They've been at least semi-finalists every year between 2011 and 2016, winning the trophy the two times they reached the final.
The more interesting thing here is that before 2011, they failed to even reach the quarter finals for...six consecutive seasons. After 2002 title, they went to semis in 2003 and then did were kicked of in the round of 16 six times in a row in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Not so Galactico after all.
With eight victories out of their last ten games and only three losses overall this season, one can say Real Madrid is on a pretty decent form.
They've just stole the 1st place of La Liga to FC Barcelona with a late 2-1 victory over Real Betis this weekend thanks to Sergio Ramos' head and, with one game still to play, they could get five points ahead on top of the league.
A Little Bit of History
What else can we say that haven't been said yet about Real Madrid and the Champions League?
They're - by far - the team that won the most times this competition with 11 trophies lifted, including the five first ever editions of the Champions League (in 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960). Back then, the Galacticos were named Di Stefano, Gento, Kopa, Rial or Puskas. Of course, given how football evolved, there's no team in Europe today that could possibly beat that.
The Key Player
Considered one of the best players in the world, probably one of the best defenders in history, Sergio Ramos has played for Real Madrid for the last twelve years and worked his way to become the team's captain.
But Sergio Ramos is more than just a defender, he's a warrior. He's scored 68 goals in more than 500 games with Real Madrid, and always had this sense of timing: 19 of his last 23 goals have come when Madrid were either losing or drawing. The 90+ minute corner have become a thing you seriously want to avoid when you play Real Madrid because of this guy.