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Manchester City face the magic of Bernabeu and Real Madrid

Beaten 4-3 in the semi-final first leg of the Champions League, the people of Madrid receive Manchester on Wednesday evening.

Unsinkable Real. On dry bread since the summer of 2019 in terms of the transfer window, and stripped of several eminent executives over the years (Cristiano Ronaldo in the lead), the Casa Blanca did not seem armed to break everything at the start of the season. A Real in transition, living on the memories of these four coronations in the Champions League between 2014 and 2018. All while awaiting the arrival of Kylian Mbappé, hoped for this summer. Carlo Ancelotti’s players are nevertheless still in the running for the Liga / C1 double, they who recorded their 35th title of Spanish champion last Saturday and who will aim for a 17th accession to the final of the most beautiful of European cups on Wednesday ( 9 p.m.), in Madrid, against City.

And why not? It would be necessary to overthrow the leader of the Premier League, winner 4-3 in the first leg. Not expensive paid for people from Madrid who have suffered so much… A miracle. One more. A habit for this hardworking but indestructible Real Madrid. And even more in his lair. “We now rely on the magic of Bernabéu “Launched Ancelotti last week, like an almost mystical incantation, but anything but eccentric. “Playing at the Bernabeu is one of the biggest challenges,” guessed Thomas Tuchel before Chelsea’s quarter-final return. He did not believe so well to say… “Real are still Real at the Bernabeu“Summarizes Pep Guardiola, former player and coach of Barça.

This magic,it’s inexplicable, it helps the players, it pushes you to never surrender“, details Ancelotti. PSG and Chelsea have paid to see in earlier rounds. The two clubs had a two-goal lead on the whole of their double confrontation with a quarter of an hour remaining in regulation time. The rest, we know. Hat-trick from Karim Benzema to win 3-1 against Paris; magic kick from Luka Modric to snatch extra time and again Benzema to lose only 2-3 against the Blues. “The more we suffer, the happier I am”, smiled Carlo Ancelotti after this qualification with forceps against Chelsea.

A culture of winning

You still have to know how to suffer. Be certain that, at one time or another, the scales will necessarily tip in your favor. A culture of winning like we don’t have anywhere else, the fruit of 13 coronations in C1 in particular. So we wonder what scenario is insurmountable for Real. “We won thanks to our mental strength”, assured Benzema after PSG, a “new legend remount” as described mark. “In this kind of match, everyone is at the same level technically. Afterwards, it is the mind that makes the difference”, had added the French striker, in the service of “CR7” yesterday and who has now endorsed the costume of the leader, the taulier. And, so often, that of the saviour, of the magician.

One thing is certain: the former Lyonnais would do well to have his hat full of new tricks. Admittedly, there is “only” one goal to go up. But City is a serious customer to put it mildly…

“Do Something Magical”

Besides, if there is a man who seems immune to the supernatural powers of the Bernabeu, it is Guardiola: in nine games in Madrid (with Barcelona, ​​Bayern and City), the Catalan manager has a record of six victories for two draws and a defeat. “Whether you win or lose 1-2 or 3-0, you always have to play at the Bernabeu“, he was wary after the first leg. And to add:Every time I’ve been there, as a player or as a coach, and we’ve achieved good things, it’s because we were ourselves. There is no other option.»

Manchester City knows its recipe. Real also masters its own, summed up by Karim Benzema, the man with 14 goals in C1 since the start of the 2022-23 campaign: “We will need our supporters like never before. And we’re going to do something magical: win.»


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