Champions League
Football

Champions League: Real Madrid bucked trend to conquer Europe

Carlo Ancelotti was asked about Liverpool before the Champions League final in May.”They have a lot of quality together, with a lot of intensity and good organization,” Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho said. He’s doing an excellent job.”

What he said after Real’s rope-a-dope 1-0 win, on the other hand, revealed more, implying that while Klopp’s team is great at what they do, they can’t do much else. We knew exactly what strategy to employ.”

Uefa’s tournament technical report – an in-depth examination of 125 matches, with observations from. Real Madrid bucked tactical trends to win the title, according to 23 experts, including England manager Gareth Southgate.

For Klopp and others in charge of most of Europe’s superpowers, the philosophy has been clear for some time: defend high, press hard, squeeze space, and seize the day.

Manchester City, Bayern Munich, and Liverpool all maintained an extremely high defensive line in their Champions League campaigns.

When not in possession, their last defender averaged 45.5m, 44.4m, and 43.6m up the pitch during the knockout stages.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, took a step back. They recorded 35.2m for the same statistic, ranking 10th among the last-16 teams.

Ancelotti prioritizes ball precision overpressure. Real’s opponents moved easily up the pitch.

Uefa measured the opposition’s gains from each possession spell. Only Sheriff Tiraspol and Dynamo Kyiv surrendered more ground than Real.

Only Chelsea, Ajax, and Atalanta provided fewer goals than Liverpool.

Fabio Capello, a Uefa expert and former Real Madrid manager, saw it as a pragmatic personnel decision.

Real Madrid’s midfield trio of 30-year-old Casemiro (now at Manchester United), Toni Kroos, 32, and Luka Modric, 36, is rich in experience, trophies, and technique.

When Real couldn’t keep the opposition at arm’s length, they relied on their goalkeeper’s long reach to save them. Thibaut Courtois delivered, emerging as the final’s dominant figure.


The former Chelsea goalkeeper, irritated by what he perceived as a lack of respect for his ability in England, made nine saves to keep Liverpool at bay.


It was the most ever scored by a goalkeeper in a Champions League final. Courtois also had the most saves (59) of any goalkeeper in the competition. Most tellingly, he led the league in goals against.

The statistic, which is essentially the inverse of xG (expected goals), measures how a goalkeeper performed in relation to the shots he or she faced. In total, Courtois stopped 4.63 goals against Real Madrid. Real also outperformed the average at the other end of the pitch.


Karim Benzema, the legendary French striker, is joined by Brazilian duo Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior was a ruthless individual.


Real Madrid’s xG after the group stage was 21.78 on the spreadsheet. On the field, however, they managed to hit the net 29 times.
Those goals frequently came at the end of patient, probing periods of possession, rather than the high-pressing rivals’ warp-speed attacks or the competition’s underdogs’ more direct back-to-front style.

Real Madrid had the ball for an average of 16.2 seconds before each goal, which was more than any other team in the knockout stages.


Liverpool, once again, provided a contrast. Klopp’s fast-paced team had the ball for an average of 9.5 seconds before scoring.
Some aspects of Real’s success were more difficult to quantify. With 15 minutes remaining in their last-16 match against Paris They were leaving St-Germain.

They were eliminated with 10 minutes remaining in their quarter-final match against Chelsea. were on their way out with five minutes of extra time remaining against Manchester City.

slipped out of the stranglehold and into the next round each time. Unbelievable good fortune? Outstanding mental toughness? A little of both? Perhaps this is why Ancelotti kept his post-game summary brief.

“Vinicius scored a goal, Courtois made saves, and that’s the end of the story!” he exclaimed. However, Real’s journey was far from straightforward.

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