Is everything written with Madrid?

What Gary Lineker said about the Germans is no longer useful.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 05:52
3 Reads
Is everything written with Madrid?

What Gary Lineker said about the Germans is no longer useful. It's time to bring the famous phrase up to date. Here it goes: "Football is a simple game: 22 men run after a ball for 90 minutes and, in the end, Real Madrid always wins."

Or, if you prefer, "soccer is a simple game: 22 men run after a ball for 90 minutes, and in the end, Paris Saint-Germain always loses."

In the Champions League, I say. The Spanish league is about to become as predictable as the French league. A walk respectively for Madrid and for PSG. The Champions League is where the two clubs focus 90 percent of their ambition and 90 percent of their desire. But the Parisian club always stumbles and the Madrid club always gallops.

Madrid and PSG are the yin and yang of football, heaven and hell. It is to test the most convinced atheist. Anyone could come to believe that God blesses Madrid and curses PSG. Player by player there wasn't much of a difference. Both have had top squads in the last decade, but Madrid have won the European Cup five times, with a sixth on the way, and PSG, none.

Let's see what just happened in the semi-finals of the most important club competition in the world. PSG had to win at home against relatively lowly Borussia Dortmund, fifth in the Bundesliga. The French shot 30 times on goal, four on the post, lost 1-0 and away. "Incredible!" exclaimed his coach, Luis Enrique.

But not as incredible as Madrid. Or rather, no. Totally believable. We were going to the 88th minute, Madrid were losing at home 0-1 against Bayern Munich and we already knew the result. Everything was sung. Everything was written. In other words, an unthinkable mistake by the Bayern goalkeeper, a draw for Madrid and, three minutes later, the winning goal. Bayern goal at the last gasp of extra time? 2-2 and overtime? And now! Overturned due to refereeing error.

I always insist, to the point of boredom, on the centrality of the luck factor in football. But with Madrid an exception must be made. This is something else. We are talking about destiny, kismet, cosmic or divine inevitability. Or satanic As my mother, a Madrid fan, always exclaimed: "This is not normal!". No, it's paranormal.

That the coach of Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti, is a genius? Well, maybe. But remember this: in the 2017 Champions League quarter-finals, Real Madrid faced Bayern for the umpteenth time. Madrid won thanks to two offside goals that the referee did not see. After the match the Bayern coach said: "We are not happy at all. In a quarter-final match you need a better referee... History will say that Madrid eliminated Bayern, but the world saw what happened”.

Who was that Bayern coach? Carlo Ancelotti.

That sentence, "history will say that Madrid eliminated Bayern but the world saw what happened" should be framed. Just leaving a gap where it says "Bayern" to fill the space with the name of the victim in turn, like for example that of Manchester City after the quarter-final match of the Champions League last month. There were 33 shots on target for City to Madrid's eight, 67 per cent City possession to Madrid's 33... and who won? Madrid, obviously, in the penalty shootout. The decisive goal was scored by a kind of horse that plays in defense. The two goals against Bayern last week were scored by Espanyol and Stoke City.

For reasons that reason does not understand the ball will go in, Madrid will win. It doesn't matter if the goalscorer is called Rüdiger, Joselu, Cristiano Ronaldo or Mbappé.

After wasting time for I don't know how many years at PSG, the Frenchman, surely the best striker in the world, will be in Madrid next season. There are people who doubt. Will Mbappé adapt? Will he be able to play with Vinícius? Please! The white shirt is a turbo, no matter who wears it. And as for next year's League, or the Champions League final against Dortmund at the end of the month, does it make sense to play them? No. Madrid reduces football to a simple game of 22 men in which everything is written.