Valeria Paz, our Real Madrid fan reporter, explains why her side’s second leg clash against Liverpool wasn’t as nerve-racking as usual
I was about to watch Real Madrid advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabéu, where there were countless Madridistas outside the stadium cheering before, during and after the game. Although I could have joined the celebration and watched the game in a sports bar near the ground, this time, this season, I'd rather stay in my living room. I just wanted to have a ‘Champions League and chill’ night while watching my team.
When you live through a season as intense as the last one, you come to appreciate having free time during a match to relax and enjoy the game. This encounter against Liverpool was already a happy occasion and I could even hear people celebrating on the streets from my apartment.
This is what Carlo Ancelotti refers to when he says that the fans matter too much. Without their support at the stadium, and without the millions of people watching on TV around the world, the emotions would not be the same. The players felt safe and supported for the entire 90 minutes, knowing they could count on ‘la afición merengue’ (the affection of the fans).
This second-leg victory against Liverpool was predictable for many Madridistas. The team had already defeated Liverpool in the first leg, and Liverpool’s current form was not as impressive as it has been in recent years. This made us feel calm and confident about the result, which in turn allowed me to enjoy the match without the usual anxiety and tension that comes with such high-stakes games.
The win only added to the excitement and anticipation for the quarter-finals. As a die-hard Madridista, I always look forward to experiencing the thrill of watching my team play against some of the best clubs in Europe, and I am confident that they will make us proud once again.