With the pause button firmly pushed on the current footballing season, why not take this hiatus as an opportunity to rewind and watch some classic clashes from one of the game’s classic teams, Real Madrid.
Prior to the suspension of play, Los Blancos had fallen behind a poor Barcelona side in La Liga and were halfway through their Champions League tie with Manchester City, trailing 2-1 after being thoroughly outplayed.
But they’ve not always been the ones to lose out, evidenced by a trophy cabinet that is bursting at the seams. So, let’s revisit some of Madrid’s previous glories, in a time of galáticos, Champions League hat-tricks and scintillating football.
Real Madrid 5-0 Barcelona (1995)
Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Real Madrid (2002)
Going into the ?Champions League final Real Madrid were still showing the wounds from their other final that season – a 2-1 loss in their own stadium to Deportivo La Coruña in the Copa del Rey. On Madrid’s 100th anniversary Depor fans packed the top tiers singing ‘Happy Birthday’.
The squad was under immense pressure, but none more so than Zinedine Zidane, the world-record signing that summer.
However, Hampden Park would be the scene he answered his critics as Madrid prevailed, securing their ninth European Cup with ?Zidane’s extraordinary winner perhaps the greatest goal the competition has seen.
But spare a thought for the defeated Bayer Leverkusen who became the ultimate bridesmaids that campaign, finishing runners-up in the Bundesliga, German Cup and the Champions League.
Real Madrid 6-2 Villarreal (2010)
It can often go forgotten that Manuel Pellegrini wasn’t just ?Real Madrid’s manager, but the Chilean had what most would consider an impressive debut season by collecting a then-club record 96 points.
It wasn’t enough to win La Liga and, naturally, he got the sack as a result. But during his single campaign at the Bernabéu, a Madrid side bursting with star names played some thrilling, throw-caution-to-the-wind football with this eight-goal thriller a prime example.
?Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scorer with a sensational free-kick (one of six he would convert that season) before Kaká, Gonzalo Higuaín and Xabi Alonso got in on the act.
Real Zaragoza 0-6 Real Madrid (2011)
After one season with Real Madrid getting to grips with the squad and doing his best to make an enemy of the entire Spanish media, José Mourinho would unveil his ultimate ‘anti-Barcelona’ machine for the 2011/12 campaign.
Real Zaragoza didn’t stand a chance as Mourinho’s lethal, razor-sharp Madrid sliced them apart with ease on the opening day. Ronaldo got a hat-trick and Mesut Özil pulled the strings as Mourinho’s side mercilessly bombarded Zaragoza’s goal from first minute to the last.
Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid (2012)
This was the sixth clásico of the season and even though Madrid went into the match four points clear in ?La Liga, they were yet to defeat Barcelona. While Mourinho had often favoured a more defensive approach when matching up against Pep Guardiola’s side, he took this as an opportunity to get one over a fractured Barça.
Özil had previously been shunted out wide or dropped entirely when facing Barça, but in that April league game Mourinho fielded the German in his favoured number ten position.
And after a scrappy opener from Sami Khedira, which Alexis Sánchez cancelled out, Özil played a wonderful threaded pass from between the lines to find Ronaldo, who rounded the keeper before chopping it in and helpfully telling Camp Nou to calm down, effectively sealing Mourinho’s first and only title in Spain.
Bayern Munich 0-4 Real Madrid (2014)
Real Madrid travelled to Bavaria with a 1-0 aggregate lead in the Champions League semi-final and before the match ?Bayern Munich’s manager, Pep Guardiola, told his players, ‘You are German, so be German and attack!’ But it was Real Madrid who attacked, blitzing the Spaniard’s side 4-0.
Sergio Ramos nodded in two set-pieces before Ronaldo and Gareth Bale streaked away on the counter to add a third. Ronaldo’s 90th-minute free-kick under the wall rolled past an exacerbated Manuel Neuer to seal an emphatic procession to the final.
Real Madrid 4-1 Atlético Madrid (2014)
Two words are all that’s needed to sum up this game; La Decima.
After five European Cups in the first five editions of the tournament, Real had become entranced with the continent’s biggest prize and when Zidane secured the side’s ninth big-eared trophy, the powers that be at the Bernabéu didn’t expect to have to wait more than a decade for the fabled tenth (La Decima).
The first ever Champions League final between two sides from the same city was an understandably tense affair and Real were behind for the best part of an hour before Ramos broke ?Atlético Madrid hearts, flicking in the 93rd-minute equaliser.
Diego Simeone’s side collapsed in extra-time as Madrid smelt blood, scoring three and registering more shots on target in that half-hour than Atléti managed in the entire 120 minutes.
Real Madrid 3-0 Wolfsburg (2016)
With Madrid 2-0 down in the Champions League quarter-finals going into their second leg Zidane was typically calm, “
Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus (2017)
Two weeks after winning their first league title in four years, Madrid dispatched ?Juventus is a wonderfully convincing Champions League final display.
The scores were level at half-time but Mario Mandžuki?’s superb overhead kick soon faded from the memory as Madrid upped the tempo and punished what had been an impenetrable defence. In those 90 minutes the Italian champions conceded more goals than they had in the entire competition leading up to the showpiece in Cardiff.
This would be Madrid’s second in a hat-trick of Champions League titles under Zidane and by far, their most impressive performance.