In a repeat of the 2014 Lisbon final, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will meet each other at the San Siro on May 28 in the 2016 Champions League final.
Real Madrid beat Manchester City 1-0 to set up the all Spanish final for the second time in three seasons after a first-half own goal from Fernando was enough to secure a narrow win that barely reflected Real’s dominant.
It was a perfect night for Zinedine Zidane. He has just passed the four-month mark as Real Madrid coach and his team are now through to the Champions League final.
The Frenchman had the following to say about his team reaching the final in Milan; “I’m happy, not just for myself; it was a team effort. I’m happy for the players because what they did tonight was fantastic. We suffered because that always happens in semi-finals, but we’ve got through to the final and that is what is important for us.
“We won the game 1-0 and that shows that we had to dig in against a very strong side. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and can say that City didn’t do anything in the game. I think that they did a lot. We hardly allowed them any chances because we defended well and got things right tactically.”
On his part in the success; “I’m the coach of this team. For sure, I’m doing something right. But, it’s not just me, it’s down to everyone who works alongside me. The most important ones are the players, it’s them who allow us to enjoy the football.
“I love football and when I see them doing what they do, I’m happy. I suffer a bit more as a coach than I did as a player. I feel tense during the games. We’ve got to enjoy these moments.”
Madrid went ahead in the first half when Bale picked up Dani Carvajal’s pass and aimed a cross towards the far post that was deflected by Fernando past Joe Hart into the top corner.
He said of the goal that has been credited as an own goal, “The most important thing was to get the goal and that the ball ended up in the net. It doesn’t matter who scores it, the only thing that matters is that it was an important goal which has sent us through to the final. We’ve now got the chance to win another Champions League title”.
Other Real Madrid stars have also spoken about the victory and their expectations from Milan.
Left back, Marcelo said; “In the Champions League there is always a lot of tension, they are tough games. In every competition we play in, we try to do the best we can. It is difficult because they are tough competitions, but we are in the Champions League final and we have a very difficult game ahead of us. We are going into the end of season strong.”
Jesé says; “Last time I wasn’t in the final and now I have the good fortune and opportunity to be there and help the team. This year we deserve to win something and I’m happy.
“All madridistas want to win the Champions League and important things and now we have the opportunity. It is the product of months of work and in the final we have to fight till the last”.
Veteran defender Sergio Ramos considers it a very special night coming off a very tough season.
“After such a tough season, the hard work and the team’s togetherness means that we’re able to enjoy our second final in three years. We dug in and we worked together when we had to.
“The Champions League demands great concentration levels, we performed very well defensively and we put away the chance that we had. We must now enjoy this because it’s a special moment and it takes a lot of hard work to get to a final”.
“The team and the supporters deserve it. Once again, they got fully behind us and were our 12th man. We’ve now got to enjoy this and give our all in another final, we’ve already shown that we know how to win the final.
“It was a very special night for the Real Madrid fans and we’re really keen to bring the eleventh European title back home to our supporters.”
La Liga Quality
Cristiano Ronaldo, in his analysis of the semi-final win against Manchester City, tagged it a busy game.
“The team did well, we controlled the game and had more opportunities. We could have killed the game with a second goal and 1-0 is a small result but it is sufficient. We are in the final, which was our aim. We knew we needed to score and in the first game in Manchester we deserved to. Today as well, we were the better team and it is fair that we are in the final”.
“It is a final. We are facing Atletico again and I’m happy. This shows the quality of La Liga. I am very happy to be in the final and we still have a chance in La Liga.”
Ronaldo also had good words for the coach; “Zidane is doing a fine job. He is helping us and we are happy with his work. I admire him as a coach and as a person, and I hope that he stays with us.
“We have always been with him. He is a humble person, he likes to learn and listen to the players and it is very easy in this sense.”
Real Madrid will go in search of their eleventh European Cup title, against Atlético de Madrid at the San Siro.
It will be the fourth time that this stadium plays host to a European Cup final after the previous showdowns in 1965, 1970 and 2001.
It is the second time in the history of the European Cup that two sides from the same city face each other in the final. The first of these meetings was also between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
In a repeat of the final from two years ago, in which Real Madrid lifted the Décima in Lisbon, Zinedine Zidane’s men will be looking to win and claim their eleventh European Cup title.