Real Madrid’s cheering players have all noticed a change in mood after their late equalizing goal against Manchester City, prompting them to complete their incredible comeback in the Champions League.
Real stared at a semi-final defeat going into stoppage time at the end of their second leg with two goals behind the total, but a rapid-fire Rodrygo double in that stoppage time forced the game into extra time. At the time, Real players Thibaut Courtois, Casemiro and Fede Valverde all said they knew there would be only one winner.
Goal hero Rodrygo also said Madrid’s history in the Champions League, and their comebacks against PSG and Chelsea in this year’s competition, were enough to make them believe they could knock out City too.
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“We were losing the game, we were dead and what happened happened,” said Rodrygo.
“With this shirt we learn to always fight to the end. We were almost dead, but with my first goal we started to believe.”
That equalizing goal on the night also gave the Bernabeu crowd confidence that Real could turn the draw around, and City were beaten from then on.
“It’s the spirit and the desire to win. When they score a goal it seems like everything falls apart, but the fans were a big help to fight to the end,” said Valverde.
“When the goals come, you say, ‘We are going to win’. They are very good, Paris, Chelsea, City. The game I suffered the most was against Chelsea, it was very hard physically. They ran until the last. We were very good emotionally today.”
Goalkeeper Courtois, who denied Jack Grealish just before Madrid’s comeback, said he could see a change in City’s attitude as Real scored their first and the crowd reacted.
He told Movistar: “One word: Real Madrid. We kept believing until the end, just before a key save Mendy takes off. We made it 1-1 and they seemed dead. In extra time we tried to defend well. Goal we were not good, we missed passes, a clear Vini missed.
“But that goal, that moment. The 1-1, we won’t say, ruined it, but they knew anything could happen. We knocked out very big teams, who spent a lot of money to win the Champions League. more about the last minutes and it’s even more incredible. We really want to go back to a final. When you go to a final, everyone has a huge desire, it doesn’t matter who already has three or four.”
Midfielder Casemiro was demonstrably lucky to be on the field in the first half after committing three bookable fouls but not being carded.
“Unbelievable. There is no better feeling, it was very difficult to get here,” he said, echoing the assessments of his teammates.
“You have to enjoy the moment. We have been without an audience for two years, we have lost a lot of people, now we have to enjoy with them. This final is for them, but we know that the hardest thing remains. We have to congratulate everyone. This is what this club is, the key phrase is: never give up.
“We should be happy, we eliminated a great team, to a great coach… ‘My goodness, how they play football. This is for the people!’