For the second consecutive season, Real Madrid and Man City did not meet but met in the semi-finals of the Champions League. After 1 year, Los Blancos is still so scary, and the Green Man has had transformations, especially with the presence of “war god” Erling Haaland. The next 180 minutes at the Bernabeu and Etihad promises to shake the football world.
Wounds that have not healed
Referring to Real Madrid, Man City must still feel a pain in the heart, after the horrible memories at the Bernabeu almost a year ago. The 4-3 victory at Etihad in the first leg helped the Green Man full of confidence in the rematch of the opponent in Madrid. Riyad Mahrez’s goal in the 73rd minute further strengthened the belief of victory for coach Pep Guardiola’s army. However, it all collapsed in an unbelievable way in just 1 short minute.
Young striker Rodrygo became a nightmare for Man City when he scored 2 goals in the 90th and 91st minutes, bringing the total score of the two matches to 5-5. Everything reversed so quickly, that even coach Guardiola himself looked “pale” on the bench. What happened to Man City at that time? No one is good. It is only known that, when there is an abyss behind, Real Madrid has risen strongly to make the impossible possible. Even before Rodrygo’s fateful moment, the electronic board showed the probability of Man City winning at 99%, while Real only had 1%.
Karim Benzema’s goal on the 11-meter mark in extra time helped Real Madrid complete a world-shaking comeback. On the field, the Man City players collapsed. Everyone was shocked because they couldn’t believe what had just happened. The few fans of The Citizens at the Bernabeu are in the same situation. They understand that Real Madrid just broke their hearts. A pain that will probably never go away and will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Fate once again pushed Real Madrid and Man City to meet in the Champions League semi-finals. The Premier League champions certainly want to pay off their debt once and for all.
180 minutes “summit”
After 1 year, Real Madrid is almost unchanged in terms of people. The same people, from Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema to Rodrygo. Casemiro is a rare outstanding case who left, when he joined Man United in the summer of 2022. In terms of form, Los Blancos are no longer as strong as before. In La Liga this season, Carlo Ancelotti’s army played up and down, and now they are 9 points behind the top team Barcelona.
The star Benzema also fell compared to himself last season. This season, Benzema has scored 26 goals and provided 6 assists in 35 appearances in all competitions. If you put it on the scale compared to the 2021/22 season, this number is clearly nothing. Last season, Benzema exploded with 44 goals and 15 times clearing for teammates after 46 games. However, that is just the face of Real Madrid in the domestic league.
In the Champions League, the White Vulture still shows the familiar fear. They in turn “make salad” two representatives of the Premier League, Liverpool and Chelsea, on the journey to the semi-finals. Admittedly, Liverpool and Chelsea have lost themselves this season, but do not underestimate Real Madrid’s victories. In every match, Los Blancos always perform a class football, completely different from the rest.
Meanwhile, Man City is not like Real Madrid. This team still shows tremendous strength in the Premier League, despite being ranked behind Arsenal in the rankings. The biggest difference of the Green Man compared to a year ago is the possession of “destructive weapon” Erling Haaland. This season, the Norwegian star pocketed 48 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions. Haaland continuously crashed and set countless records.
It can be said that Haaland is recreating Benzema’s form last season – a striker playing the role of a true “terminator”, ready to shake the net of any opponent, with Bayern being the latest victim. Man City’s obsession with Real may remain, but with Haaland in the squad, The Citizens are ready to reclaim what has been lost.
Without a doubt, Real Madrid vs Man City is the early final of this season’s Champions League. The winning team will be open to the championship, because in terms of performance and class, both Real Madrid and Man City are superior to Inter Milan or AC Milan – the two clubs will compete for the remaining ticket to Istanbul next June.
All are holding their breath waiting for the first “summit” to take place on May 10, at the Bernabeu.