Real Madrid were ‘a bit lucky’ to win the Champions League last season, claims Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano – who believes Carlo Ancelotti’s men ‘deserved to lose against PSG, Chelsea, Liverpool and us’.
Los Blancos secured their 14th title after seeing off Liverpool 1-0 at the Stade de France in May, thanks to Vinicius Jr’s second half strike, and enjoyed a rollercoaster ride through the tournament after coming through some close knockout ties and pulling off three comeback wins in the last-16 and semi-finals.
Karim Benzema’s incredible goalscoring form – with 15 strikes to his name – carried Madrid on their way to the trophy and rescued them from a number of close games, and Soriano says they can consider themselves fortunate to have won it.
Soriano’s City side were themselves beaten 6-5 by Madrid in the semi-finals – with the LaLiga side netting twice at the death before winning it in extra time through a Benzema penalty.
City have long craved to hold the elusive silverware in their hands – they lost to Chelsea in the final in 2021 – but do not ‘obssess’ over winning it, he says.
‘The Champions League is a trophy that we want, but we know that it is subject to a bit of luck and we are not obsessed,’ Soriano said on the Dr. Football podcast, as reported by the Mirror.
‘People talk today about the success that Madrid have had in recent years, and I think it would be fair to say that they were a bit lucky. Perhaps I could say that they deserved to lose against PSG, against Chelsea, against us or against Liverpool.’
He added that Madrid had much better sides in decades gone by without winning the trophy, suggesting that even the best teams in the world could miss out on Europe’s grand prize.
‘People don’t remember that in the 80s and 90s [Real] had a fantastic team, one of the best in history, with [Emilio] Butragueno and La Quinta, and they could not win it,’ Soriano added.
‘Milan eliminated them every year. So they were somewhat lucky now, but they were also very unlucky for years.’
Madrid came close to being dumped out of the competition last season in the first knockout round.
A Kylian Mbappe goal secured a 1-0 first leg victory for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, and the Frenchman made it 2-0 on aggregate in the second leg before Karim Benzema’s 17-minute hat-trick left the Parisiens stunned.
The next round pitted them against Premier League outfit Chelsea, who they beat 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, but a nervy second leg saw Chelsea race into a 3-0 lead to put one foot in the semi-finals, before Rodryo and Benzema – once again – to seal a 5-4 aggregate victory.
Man City were up next to attempt to thwart Madrid in their tracks – and made a good start by beating them in a 4-3 thriller in the first leg at the Etihad.
The second leg saw them look certained to make the final against Liverpool when Riyad Mahrez struck 15 minutes from time before Rodrygo netted twice and Benzema rolled in a spot kick in extra time.