Los Blancos’ controversial step to greatness in 2016/17
Posted On April 18, 2021
For Real Madrid, the 2016/17 season was about making history.
Zinedine Zidane’s men were looking to become the first team to retain the Champions League, but when they were drawn against German giants Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the competition, the realization of why no one had ever won consecutively. the titles became clear.
In the first leg, Real were largely outplayed but were dragged to victory by Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored two goals in the second half and drew Javi Martinez in two yellow cards to pull Real to a surprising 2-1 victory. .
It wasn’t pretty, but at least there was no controversy about it. It was just Ronaldo doing things with Ronaldo. Bayern, who deserved the win, weren’t the first team to miss and they wouldn’t be the last.
However, the second stage was full of drama and controversy.
Things started off at an electric pace. Both teams had plenty of chances to break off the line, but the first blood went to Bayern just after the break when Robert Lewandowski stepped up to convert a penalty. Game on.
From that moment, Real seemed to lose their minds. They couldn’t get the game under control as Bayern pushed and pushed and pushed for the second goal needed to secure them a place in the semi-finals.
Arturo Vidal fended off a fantastic opportunity to reach that goal, and his debauchery was punished in the 75th minute as Ronaldo (of course) came out of nowhere to come home on a cross from Casemiro and give Real l advantage he didn’t really deserve.
The nervous nature of Real’s performance was evident, and barely 36 seconds after Ronaldo headed it was almost fatal. Los Blancos were all rocked at the back and major miscommunication saw Sergio Ramos insert the ball into his own net with the kind of precision that would have made him a hero if it had been on the other end.
Keylor Navas and Nacho Fernandez both expected to get the ball on their own, and all three ended up with an egg to their face as Bayern celebrated they were heading into extra time.
It had been disjointed so far, but in the 84th minute it started to get messy.
Marco Asensio came in to charge the left wing and was expertly dispossessed by Vidal, whose own challenge was obvious to everyone except the referee. The Chilean was reserved, and as he had already seen yellow earlier in the game, he was gone. A clean challenge had left Bayern in a bind.
“In the quarter-finals you have to put on a better referee, or this is the time to introduce video refereeing, which UEFA is trying, because there are too many mistakes,” said the Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti (via BBC Sport) after the game.
Despite their disadvantage, Bayern held their own in extra time but their minds were once again broken by Ronaldo. He landed his 100th Champions League goal in the 105th minute – neighbor Madrid Atletico reached 100 as a club the same night – but the problem was he was clearly offside when he got the ball.
Two huge decisions were made against Bayern, and the Germans fell apart after that. Ronaldo finished his hat trick after the interval and Asensio landed a fourth to make this tie a lot more comfortable than it was.
Real would go on to beat Atletico in the semi-finals and Juventus in the final, sealing their place in history as the first team to win back-to-back Champions Leagues, but the question is whether they should have had the chance to go this far remains to be done. debate.
It was this game that created the ‘Real paid the refs’ narrative that dominated Twitter for a good few years. Anything that could have gone against Bayern, has.
The real ones undoubtedly rode more than their fair share of luck in this draw, but sometimes all you need is the greatest goalscorer in football history to guide you.