Real Madrid’s run en route lifting the Champions League was historic; arguably the most difficult one of all time. Not only because of the teams they faced – and beat -, but also because of the manner in which they did.
Their run in the knockouts included comeback wins against Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16, Chelsea in the quarter-finals, and then Manchester City in the semi-finals.
PSG were head and shoulders better than Madrid in the first leg of the encounter. Thibaut Courtois was flawless for 93 minutes, but could not deny Kylian Mbappe’s 94th-minute winner.
In the second leg, too, Mbappe’s brilliance had a chokehold on Madrid for 60 minutes. It was not enough, though, as Karim Benzema’s second-half hattrick took the game away from their grasp.
Gianluigi Donnarumma got the lion’s share of the blame, but it is also difficult to look past Lionel Messi’s first leg penalty miss. A goal there, in the second half, no less, would have taken the game away from the Spanish side.
Messi opened up about the game, speaking to Barcelona legend Hristo Stoitchkov, as relayed by AS Argentina.
“It was very hard, because of how it happened. We played two great games, but lost because of small details”, he said.
PSG were undoubtedly one of the leading candidates to lift the trophy last season, alongside Manchester City and Liverpool – all three of whom lost to Real Madrid along the way.
Messi says their prime objective this season, much like last, is to conquer Europe, but that it is tricky because the best team does not always win it:
“The main objective for PSG, as every year, is to win the UCL. It is a very difficult competition, because the best team does not always win it. It is always decided by minor details, any mistake can knock you out.”
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.