Julen Lopetegui will debut in the Champions League for Real Madrid on Wednesday night against AS Roma at the Santiago Bernabeu. It's a competition Real Madrid have dominated with an iron hand recently. Their opponents knocked Barcelona out of Europe least season but los Blancos' start to the season has been bright with wins over Getafe, Girona and Leganés followed by a draw with Athletic Bilbao. Lopetegui's five predecessors have won their debuts in Europe. Here, we take a look at how they did in the competition Real Madrid consider their own.
He took over midway through the 2015-16 season and in his first few days in charge, he would lead Real Madrid into the Champions League against Lopetegui's first opponents on Wednesday, AS Roma. Roma had Pjanic, Perotti and Salah in their ranks but Real Madrid beat them 0-2 with goals from Ronaldo and Jesé. In the return leg, there would be no comeback and it finished 2-0 again with Zidane's first steps towards the final in Milan. The rest, of course, is history. Real Madrid won that iteration of the Champions League and the next two.
Sacked midway through 2015-16 due to differences with several heavyweights in the dressing room along with the fall-out from a 0-4 defeat to Barcelona at the Bernabeu in the league, Benítez only managed six games in charge of Real Madrid. The first came against Shakhtar Donetsk from the Ukraine. Real Madrid won 4-0 with a hat-trick from Ronaldo and a strike from Benzema. They finished the group in almost perfect nick with five wins a draw.
Real Madrid's Décima-winning manager, Carlo Ancelotti, started his journed with the club in Europe with a 1-6 victory over Galatasaray in the Ali Sami Yen with goals from Isco, Benzema (2), Ronaldo (3). Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba were a part of that Turkish side but Real Madrid were unstoppable. Ancelotti went on to help Real madrid break their 12-year drought in Europe by beating Atlético Madrid in the final 4-1. He took them to the semi-final next season where a goal from Morata knocked them out. Shortly after, the Italian was sacked as the manager.
The Portuguse started his European adventure with Real Madrid by beating Ajax 2-0 at the Bernabeu thanks to a double from Higuain. Mourinho was seen as a knock-out specialist having lifting the title with Porto and Inter Milan. He took Real Madrid to the semi-final in three consecutive seasons but could take them now further. It was something Ancelotti did in his first season after Mourinho was let go.
The Chilean was selected as the first manaer with Florentino Perez as the president (his second stint in the role). They started with a win over Zurich that ended 2-5. The goals came from Ronaldo (2), Raúl, Higuain and Guti. They were beaten in the last 16 by Lyon after drawing 1-1 away and then losing 1-0 away from home. Pellegrini was sacked at the end of the season.