Valeria Paz, one of our Champions Journalist fan reporters, has learnt from past experience that you can never rule out the 13-times winners
There is no better duo than the Real Madrid badge and the Champions League anthem. Every football lover knows that the club in the all-white kit are essential to this competition – and how could it not be the case? It’s a love story that started when the tournament was created, with Real marking their territory by becoming champions in the inaugural 1955/56 season.
Although we are now going through a relatively rough patch, every single Madridista (including me) always wears their jersey with pride. We consistently have high expectations for the players because of our history – a history that has made us cry, laugh, get mad and much more besides. But we end up feeling safe because we know that this is our territory: we have 13 of these beautiful trophies and only Real Madrid fans have the luxury of saying that. So, yes, the pressure on the team in these games is very high because the best performances will forever be expected.
I know that’s not an issue for the players, with last night’s game against Atlanta an example of how they meet their fans' expectations – or mine, anyway. They went through to the quarter-finals with no struggle at all and it made me think of the second leg of the 2014 semi-final against Bayern München, at that time being led by one of the geniuses of football, Pep Guardiola. The match ended 4-0 in favour of Madrid, an historic moment. And I mention this to remind people that even though obstacles have appeared, Real have always found a way to reign in the Champions League.
This season might not be one of the best and the fact that the stadiums are empty does not help. It’s depressing to know that at the moment we have no other option but to watch them on a screen instead of living the magic in person, supporting them when they need it most. Nobody is denying that they could sometimes do better but despite that, the current players are capable of defending our reputation. Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema, among others, are strong names in the world of football. The team has the mental strength and passion to deal with the pressure – and they are on their way to reoccupying the throne that has been ours since day one.