Reaching a fourth Champions League final in five seasons at the head of Real Madrid is the goal that Zinedine Zidane has set for himself. Before the return leg against Chelsea on Wednesday (9 p.m. on RMC Sport), return to these semi-finals where the French went through all the emotions.
It would be a resounding achievement. Winner of the Champions League for the first time in 2002 as a Real Madrid player, then the first and only coach to lift the “Big Ears Cup” three times in a row, always with Real between 2016 and 2018, Zinedine Zidane is aiming this year for a fourth C1 final in five seasons with the club merengue. For that, he needs to overcome Chelsea on Wednesday in the semi-final second leg (9 p.m. on RMC Sport), a week after being hung at home (1-1). “My players are ready. In these kinds of matches, you have to suffer on the pitch,” warned the Frenchman, who knows what he’s talking about.
A csc facing City
Suffering to reach the final of the most prestigious of European competitions, that knows him rather well. During the 2015-2016 edition, his Real had stumbled in the semifinals on the Skyblues of Manuel Pellegrini (0-0). Before relying on the return to a goal against his camp Fernando (1-0) to compile his ticket for the final. A few weeks later, Karim Benzema and his band made Atlético bend towards Milan (1-1, 5-3 tab).
A rival that Real found the following season in the last four of the Champions League. With a first round easily won (3-0), thanks to the hat-trick of Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of his form. But on the return, Real had completely missed its start.
Benzema often decisive
Goals from Saul Niguez and Antoine Griezmann in the first quarter of an hour had shaken the White House. Only a solo act of Benzema concluded by Isco had come to relieve Zidane and extinguish the last hopes of the Colchoneros (2-1). In 2017-2018, Real had once again delivered a big match in the semi-finals, with a 2-1 success at Bayern Munich. Before getting scared on the way back.
Joshua Kimmich appeared in the third minute to open the scoring and restart everything. This moment of panic was quickly swept away by Benzema, author of a double. Still close to the exit after the goal of James Rodriguez on the hour mark, Real had finally held firm (2-2).
Triple winners of the competition from 2016 to 2018, torturers in turn of Atlético, Juventus and Liverpool in the final, the Madrilenians quickly came down to earth, twice ejected in the eighth: with Santiago Solari, in 2019, against Ajax Amsterdam, then with Zidane, in 2020, against Manchester City. An opponent that Real intends to find in the final on May 29, in Istanbul.
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