Real Madrid visited Allianz Arena and effectively broke the moral of Bayern Munich, which was arguably till yesterday, the best club team in the world. Both Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace as Real tasted victory for the first time on German soil with a staggering 4-0 victory. The game was especially sweet for Ronaldo, as he broke Lionel Messi’s record for most goals in a single Champions League season with a staggering 16 goal haul.
The La Decima has never been so tantalizingly close. Ever since Zinadine Zidane and his superb volley brought the record-breaking ninth European title Real Madrid’s way, the Madristas have been obsessed with winning a tenth trophy. It is as much about stretching the record as it is about making a statement – we are Real Madrid and we are untouchable. Managers have been hired in hunt for that elusive tenth and have been fired for only winning domestic cups. But it looks like the latest to take the reins at Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti, will be the man for the job.
When the draw against Bayern was announced, many Real fans were appalled at the thought of playing against the mighty Bavarians. Even a 1-0 victory at the Santiago Bernebeu was considered too slim to be decisive. However, after yesterday’s performance, even the most die-hard of Madrid fans would have been left shocked at the ease with which Real cruised into the final of the Champions League, to be held in Lisbon this year.
The demolition started as early as the 8th minute, when ‘keeper Manuel Neuer came charging out to head away the ball from an oncoming Benzema, but the ball fell to Gareth Bale, who tried to loop the ball over Neuer from 40 yards out, but had his sights horribly wrong. However, the break was not far away.
In the 15th minute, the ball rolled out for a Real corner and Luka Modric send a deep, floating ball. The Bayern defense seemed completely flummoxed by it and both central defenders, Dante and Jerome Boateng, identified Ronaldo as the danger and both marked him, leaving Sergio Ramos completely free to bullet the ball into the net.
Barely 3 minutes later, it was the same mistake from the defense and the same man who scored. A freekick around 40 yards out was floated towards the goal, and Dante and Boateng again marked Ronaldo, but Pepe got the merest of touched to deflect the ball that Ramos, with a beautiful dive, got past a stranded Neuer.
With barely twenty minutes on the clock, Sergio Ramos – that’s right, the centre back – was odds-on favourite to score a hat-trick.
The humiliation did not end there, though. In the 33rd minute, the Real midfield broke down a Bayern attack and the ball fell to Benzema, who held off two players and passed the ball on to Bale, who in turn passed it to Ronaldo, who shot straight at Neuer, but the ball somehow squirmed under him to give the Portuguese winger his record fifteenth goal.
The Allianz Arena was shocked into silence. Except for the faint cheering of the traveling Real fans, the packed-to-the-rafters stadium was absolutely quiet. Even Pep Guardiola looked absolutely flabbergasted.
The second half looked like damage limitation from a Bayern perspective, as first Mandzukic and then Muller both were taken off, but Real never really pushed the top gear, and allowed the Bavarians to hog the possession – as long as it was it their own half. Real ‘keeper Iker Casillas had little to do in the entire game.
In the dying moments of the match, the humiliation was completed as Ronaldo, standing over a freekick, shot the ball under the wall and past a helpless Neuer. Real got their fourth, Ronaldo got his 16th, the game was convincingly won.
The only black spot in the entire game for Real is that Xabi Alonso, who along with Modric was indispensable in the midfield, will be suspended for the final. But Ancelotti will be raring to have a go at a tenth title. As will the rest of Real.