So close, so painful…. so defeated…
The game began as the Ultra Sur’s held up a piece of art. The mosaic was up to standards for a night that was wanted to be magical. The Bernabeu louder than ever before. 15 minutes, three missed chances. Real Madrid showed that they did not need many minutes to comeback, they only need a better eye.
Minute 60 of the game, we had only had 2 shots on target this whole time. Most people no longer believed. My mentions were plagued with “give it up, it’s over” but stayed loyal to my words, even if there is only a little bit of hope, there is a reason to believe. Someone even tweeted me “You better apologize to all the fans you have made believe in this team”. I was not really checking my mentions as I was watching the game but that one tweet made me think…. Does he have a point? Should I not have spent a week spamming people with messages to believe? Then this happened:
A save worthy of a miraculous night. A save like that you probably only witness twice in your life time. Diego Lopez gave me back my hope at its fullest. More than ever, I believed.
Three defenders, an odd midfield and the willingness to win… that was our formation for the last minutes. Mou had taken out Xabi – who was not at his top game – and replaced him for Sami to make a Luka-Sami partnership in the middle. Benzema’s fresh legs in the attack and Kaka’s presence. Benzema scores the first, Sergio scores the second….
We had our momentum. The third goal was only a matter of seconds. The Bernabeu believed, Dortmund shivered, everyone believed. Then the key moment of the match happened. Smartly enough, Dortmund’s keeper wasted time, killed our momentum. Dortmund subbed players in. We got 5 minutes of added time that quite frankly felt like twenty seconds. Dortmund played it “smart” which is a frustrating word for us to hear. Some may even replace smart for cowardly but what’s done is done.
The final whistle was heartbreaking. One by one our players dropped on the ground in disbelief.
Diego Lopez: Inmense. After a perfect game he even dared to apologize to the fans. I’m not sure what he was apologizing for, he did his job, kept a clean sheet in a tough match. His only sin was to extend our hope and our dreams that were not fulfilled. Diego a born and raised Madridista, a canterano. He is back home fulfilling his dream and despite the short amount of time he has spent with us since his comeback, he surely has a special place in our hearts. Gracias, Diego.
Michael Essien simply did not give up. He was a little tank trying and trying, running and running. He died out there and that’s all we wanted. Rapha Varane completed yet another good game. What a season it has been for Rapha. Fabio was substituted to bring in a more offensive team however he was one of the best in the first and second leg. The way he has evolved is amazing. Not one negative thing can be said about the Portuguese that has been questioned numerous times for the fee Real Madrid paid for him. Sergio Ramos. Of course I saved the best for last. If you did not know what señorio meant before this game, Sergio’s game defined it from beginning to end. Yes, there was two or three times were he got carried away with the violence but we know him by now. Klopp even said he deserved “17 yellow cards”. In the second goal he scores you can just see the passion. He sent it to the back of the net despite having like five bodies in front of him. It was one of those fuck it moments where you use all your strength and hopes it goes in. He was solid in the back and I ensure you that 95% of Madridistas cried after his goal because there was no other way to celebrate it. He then made us cried again I am sure… at the end of the match. After having displayed so much señorio on the pitch, during the game, he showed how someone who had just died on the pitch felt after failing.
May no one ever tell you that real men don’t cry because if he is not a real man, then I have no idea what a man looks like.
Midfield: Xabi and Mesut. Two of our core team members. In both game they were absent. Their attitude was there but their feet were not doing what their brain was telling them to do. Sami Khedira, both goals scored after he came in, perhaps our lucky charm but my beloved Sami was just not at his best. Di Maria… this guy has three lungs. There is no other way to put it. Oh how this guy runs!!! From beginning to end he pushed, perhaps not so accurately at first, but he tried and tried and was the most active player in the attack. A little bit more accuracy would have been amazing but when you are playing to win, sometimes you can’t find that thing that calms you down to make it right. Kaka entered in the second half and he organized the attack. Many people made fun of his entrance and criticized it but if Mourinho sends someone there is a reason for it. He helped in the first goal and brought a little bit of peace to the attack, that “calma” we needed although in the very last minutes it was more like boom, boom, boom. At any rate, he played a good few minutes. Modric started the game and it came as a bit of a surprise to some. He is our Champions League boy for sure. From beginning to end he played a fantastic game and wanted to win it. He was our brain. He controlled the ball, sent the players off, he was our brain. This is the image of a guy who has been playing for this team for less than a year and died on the pitch.
The Attack: Higuain did not play his best game. My last memorable moment of him at the Bernabeu was last year, after winning La Liga, as the fans lead by Arbeloa sang “Pipita quedate”. The scenario could not have been any less alike. Pipita missed one good chance and had about four offsides. The crowd got frustrated. He left in the middle of whistles. Benzema scored the first goal that started it all. He then assisted Sergio for the second. He played his heart out. Nothing to say about the cat. Cristiano was a little bit off. You could tell he was trying his best but it was just not his day. He missed a couple of opportunities that he would usually not miss. Was he a little bit injured? No. Let’s not make up excuses. Had he been injured, he wouldn’t have played. He is human, he didn’t have his best game. Loves to win…. hates to lose…..
Like Mou said… we were close… we almost cameback.. but in football there is not almost, you either score or you don’t. And we didn’t. And it sucks. And it hurts. And now what?
Time to turn the page over. To stand up together just like we died together.
La Liga is not over and while our odds of winning it are slim to none, we owe it to Real Madrid not to stop cheering.
All eyes on Atleti. Two weeks from now we will face them in the Copa del Rey final. We have beat them in Liga at home once and at their house with half of our starters on the bench. If we play anything like we played against Dortmund, there should be no problems but a final is a final and there is no room for mistakes.
It’s time to stand up, it’s time to assimilate it. Next year will be another opportunity. There is no way to sugar coat it, we are out. But Real Madrid never gives up and next year it will be another battle and if we get kicked out, may the rival, again, sweat blood to kick us out.