Real Madrid: 1,000 days as Champions of Europe
No other club in history has ever remained on the European throne as long as Los Blancos, reaching this milestone following that special night in Milan.
1,000 days. 24,000 hours. 1,440,000 minutes. No matter how you define it, Friday 22 February 2019 sees Real Madrid celebrate the milestone as continuous European champions.
A thousand days on top
Since 28 May 2016, the day that Sergio Ramos held aloft the Undécima ('eleventh´) in Milan, no other team has been able to remove Los Blancos from the continental throne of champions. Three consecutive Champions League titles - 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 - with many stars playing their part, but with two particular protagonists: Zinedine Zidane, the architect from the bench, and Cristiano Ronaldo, the lethal weapon on the pitch.
Staying at the top in Europe for 1,000 days is not easy - just ask any other club, ever! Since that Milanese night, Madrid have played 33 Champions League games along the way to lifting Ol' Big Ears a couple more times: the Duodécima (twelfth) in Cardiff followed by the Decimotercera in Kiev. Of these 33 encounters, the Spanish giants have won 23, drawn 5 and lost another 5. Across them they have scored 83 goals and conceded 40 at the other end. To put it in another way, they have won 70% of their matches in the competition between that night in 2016 and now, scoring an average of 2.5 goals per game and being breached with an average of 1.21 goals per game. The numbers of champions, quite literally.
Over this reign there have been three managers, although clearly only one can claim to have played a major role in the successes. Zidane, after taking over from Rafa Benítez in January 2016, sat on the Madrid bench for the run towards the first of the back-to-back-to-back titles. Since he won that first one as manager, he was at the helm through 26 games, winning 18. After his departure in the summer of 2018, Julen Lopetegui took over, but only experienced three Champions League matches before being replaced by Santiago Solari.
The current manager has four games under his belt thus far and the upturn in form of the team since the new year has some commentators tipping him to keep the unprecedented run going. Madridistas would relish winning the trophy at the home of neighbours Atlético Madrid this summer.
Away from the management side of the success, few people would argue that there was anyone more influential over this period than their number seven, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese talisman was top scorer in all three runs to the European title.
In the first he scored 16 goals, and then followed that up with 12, and then 15. A total of 43 goals across three Champions League campaigns that took him to his 121st goal in the competition. No other footballer had celebrated more in its history.
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