Even in a final that started 36 minutes late, Real Madrid are still on time to make history. A matter of habit, know-how and a bit of success; the one who is said to smile at those who provoke her. The red tribune of Liverpool can sing a last You’ll never walk alone in stoppage time, Real is heading towards its fourteenth Champions League after this narrow victory (1-0) on Saturday May 28 in Saint-Denis.
“Here, it’s Real Madrid”, summarizes in French in the text a Carlo Ancelotti as if there was nothing more to add. The Real coach calls himself “lucky”. Lucky to train big teams which helps to win the Champions Leagues, but you still have to know how to guide them to the top. He knows it better than anyone. For the Italian, this is the fourth after those won with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007, before a first success with the “Merengues” in 2014.
Luck. The word accompanies Real’s European journey this season. But in his software, luck does not exist. We talk about hatred, about the culture of victory, Luka Modric will rightly say that he “has nothing to say” to those who think that his team has walked on fields of four-leaf clover. At 36, the Croatian midfielder is like his team: he has his weak moments, but his strong moments are enough to dominate the others.
Jürgen Klopp sums it up in two clinical sentences. “We had more shots on target, but the most decisive stat is in favor of Real. They scored a goal, we didn’t. It’s the simplest explanation, “said the Reds manager, annoyed but “proud” of the performance of his players despite the defeat.
Like Manchester City (3-4/3-1 a.p.), Chelsea (3-1/2-3 a.p.) and even Paris-Saint-Germain (0-1/3-1), his Liverpool dominated Madrid, printed its time. Like them, he failed to unlock the secret of this team capable of scoring on ersatz chances and defending in its penalty area with the selflessness of amateurs in the 32nd finals of the Coupe de France.
Real have come too close to the precipice in the previous rounds, but not to fall there at the last moment. Somehow, he felt predestined for this happy scenario. To believe that he is holding the pen. “It seemed written, it’s true, we achieved very complicated things… even I couldn’t explain it”, concedes the French defender, Ferland Mendy, at the microphone of Canal.
Courtois was invincible
Great games belong to great games, this one belonged to a great goalkeeper. With his double meter, Thibaut Courtois occupies a lot of space in the cages. This Saturday evening, he eats a little more space and the balls inevitably bounce on him. “When the goalkeeper is voted player of the match, it’s very bad for the other team”, quips Jürgen Klopp with a smile more wry than usual.
Halfway, near, far, head or foot, his players have tried everything. His first save on a shot from Mohamed Salah sets the tone (16th). Sadio Mané sees an attempt repelled by the Belgian on the post (21st), Salah (again) has two equalizer balls. Each time, the Egyptian will make the right gesture, each time he will hold his head after Courtois’ parade (64th, 69th, 80th).
“Today I needed to win a final for my career, for all the effort I’ve put in, for my name to be respected, because I don’t think I’m respected enough, especially in England,” he said. ex-Chelsea keeper speaks to BT Sport. I saw a lot of reviews, even after a great season. »
In 1981, Liverpool had dominated Real in the final of the European Cup of champion clubs at the Parc des Princes by the smallest of margins (1-0). Since then, defender Alan Kennedy has been a hero on the banks of the Mersey for his goal. The Kennedy of Real is called Vinicius. In the 59th minute, the Brazilian striker trailed in the right place to take back with his (bad) right foot a cross from Federico Valverde which was suspected of being a crushed shot. But this Real transforms missed shots into assists. If you haven’t figured it out yet…
More discreet than in previous rounds, Karim Benzema shot well and scored the first. But with the help of the video, Frenchman Clément Turpin deemed his compatriot offside following an action which reminds us that football’s Law 11 is the most subtle, especially when it comes to interpretation and knowledge. if the middle of the Reds. Indeed, Fabinho, put the top scorer of this Champions League in play after an intentional gesture.
Not enough to spoil the joy of a Benzema who must prepare to find space on the fireplace to store a Ballon d’Or on October 17. “It’s not even debatable”, even believes Carlo Ancelotti. The striker thinks for his part “not being able to do better at club level” with his 15 goals. Benzema impressed the retina and marked the spirits as rarely a player has done over the duration of a season in the Champions League.
Darmanin and UEFA charge Liverpool fans
If France can be happy for the striker of the Blues, this final did not give the best image of a country which is preparing to organize a Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Olympic Games the year after. . “Chaos”, the word was said and written in French, English and Castilian to describe the scenes observed around the Dionysian enclosure. If the final started on an almost Spanish schedule (9:36 p.m.), it was because of the incredible confusion to approach the Stade de France.
From 6:30 p.m., many ticket-holding fans were blocked around the stadium, before accessing the first security checkpoints, noted a journalist from Le Monde. What followed was confusion between the smell of tear gas, attempts to break in by climbing barriers and supporters (especially from Liverpool) turned away and showing off their expensive and precious ticket.
But how to explain such confusion? In a press release, UEFA blames the supporters of the Reds. “The turnstiles on the side of the stands reserved for Liverpool were blocked by thousands of spectators who bought fake tickets that did not work”, deplores the European body. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin gives the same version on his Twitter account: “Thousands of British ‘supporters’, without tickets or with counterfeit tickets, forced entry and sometimes assaulted the stewards. »
If Le Monde was able to observe from 6 p.m. the first fans of the Reds turned back with these famous fake tickets, the planned device very quickly showed its limits and was exceeded. With the defeat and the regrets, should the supporters also take full responsibility for what still looks like an organizational fiasco?