Is defeat to Sheriff Real Madrid's most embarrassing loss ever?
The Santiago Bernabéu side were rattled by a late winner for the Moldovan champions FC Sheriff Tiraspol on a night that 'Madridistas' will want to quickly forget.
One of the last names plucked from the fourth pot and placed in Group D at the group stage draw in Istanbul last August was that of FC Sheriff Tiraspol.
Despite being a regular side in recent group stages of the Europa League, the relatively unknown Sheriff Tiraspol have a unique history, effectively being the ‘national team’ of Transnistria hailing from the capital city of Tiraspol.
Founded in 1997 by oligarch Viktor Gushan, FC Sheriff owes its first appearance in the Champions League group stage to the vast sums of money from the all-powerful conglomerate run by this former policeman and alleged agent of the defunct KGB who will have watched on with pride as his club delivered one of the most humiliating nights Real Madrid fans will have experienced for quite some time.
Real Madrid's most embarrassing recent defeats
No. 3) Kaiserslautern 5-0 Real Madrid: Fritz Walter Stadion 1981 UEFA Cup
Following a 3-1 win at the Santiago Bernabéu in the first leg, with goals from Cunningham, Hernandez and Juanito, 'Los Blancos' were odds on favourites to advance to the semi-final stage of the competition. Their evening was rocked by two early goals from Funkel to put the German side back in contention and three second second half goals from the side who now wallow in the third division in Germany was enough to seal a historic European defeat for the Spanish giants.
No. 2) AD Alcorcon 4-0 Real Madrid: Santo Domingo: Copa del Rey 2009/10
The term 'Alcorconzao' is now commonplace parlance in Spanish footballing vernacular with the text 'azo' being added liberally to any smaller club who overcomes a bigger rival. The term was spawned one November night when Manuel Pelegrini's men made the short trip south to the Madrid suburbs in the first leg of a two legged Copa del Rey tie in the Round of 32.
2,997 fans were present to witness one of the darkest nights in Real Madrid's recent history as the, then 2B (third tier of Spanish football) side put four goals past Jerzy Dudek in a Real Madrid team which included the likes of Benzema, Guti, Raúl and Albiol. The return leg saw Madrid record a 1-0 win a week later at the Bernabéu but the damage had been done and Alcorcorn secured their place in Spanish football folklore history.
No. 1) Real Madrid 1-2 FC Sheriff: Santiago Bernabéu: Champions League 2021/22
With a squad value 67 times that of the side from Tiraspol, the Moldovan champions were expected to simply 'make up the numbers' in a Champions League group D that featured previous winners Real Madrid, Inter Milan and experienced European veterans Shakhtar Donetsk. Maybe the writing was on the wall when FC Sheriff overcame the Ukraine side with a 2-0 win in the first match-day but no-one would have expected the shock-waves that Sebastien Thill's late winner at the Santiago Bernabéu would generate.