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The semi-final statistic that further underlines Real Madrid’s Champions League dominance

Los Blancos have become a regular fixture in the last four of the competition, where they will face Manchester City or Bayern Munich.

Los Blancos have become a regular fixture in the last four of the competition, where they will face Manchester City or Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid have reached the Champions League semi-finals, which will come as a surprise to absolutely nobody. Los Blancos have now made it to the last four in 11 of the last 13 seasons after comfortably seeing off Chelsea, following up a 2-0 win at Santiago Bernabéu with a victory by the same scoreline at Stamford Bridge. Only in 2018-19, when they were stung by an Ajax comeback in the Spanish capital, and in 2019-20, against Manchester City during the pandemic, have they failed to feature in the penultimate stage of the competition.

Real Madrid: Champions League masters

That statistic goes some way to further underline the club’s dominance in the competition, as if the sheer number of trophies weren’t enough. If we compare Madrid’s record with the continent’s other biggest clubs, only six have featured in more European Cup/Champions League semi-finals in their entire history as Los Blancos have in the last 13 seasons: Bayern Munich (20), Barcelona (16), Milan (14), Juventus (12), Manchester United (12) and Liverpool (12).

Real Madrid’s previous 10 semi-finals have resulted in five Champions League title and five eliminations; not once have Madrid lost in the final since the competition was rebranded in 1992 (they lost three European Cup finals before then). The run started in 2010-11, when José Mourinho was in charge.

Mourinho restores Real Madrid as a Champions League force

Los Merengues had struggled in the years prior to the Portuguese’s arrival, having failed to reach the last four in seven years. Mourinho led them to the semis in each of his three seasons in charge but lost out to Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. The defeats to the German clubs were particularly hard to take, with Kaká, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos all missing penalties in a shootout defeat to the Bavarians, while Madrid came up just a goal short of pulling off a remarkable comeback against BVB after a 4-1 first-leg loss.

The long-awaited Décima secured by Ancelotti

Glory would eventually come, however, in Lisbon in 2014. With Carlo Ancelotti now in charge, Sergio Ramos’ last-ditch header forced extra-time against rivals Atlético Madrid, who were blown away 4-1 in the final 30 minutes. The long sought-after Décima (10th European Cup/Champions League title) had finally been secured.

Sergio Ramos equalises for Real Marid in the 2014 Champions League Final.
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Sergio Ramos equalises for Real Marid in the 2014 Champions League Final.Michael ReganDiarioAS

In 2015, Juventus eliminated Los Blancos in the semis thanks to a goal from former Madrid striker Álvaro Morata but that would seen be forgotten as Zinedine Zidane led the club to three trophies in successive years between 2016 and 2018.

Zidane’s Champions League hat-trick

After defeating Manchester City in the 2016 semi-finals, Atleti again lay in wait in the final in Milan. Ramos and Yannick Carrasco traded goals in either half and the match went to penalties, decided by Colchoneros right-back Juanfran hitting the post from the spot.

Diego Simeone’s men could quite easily have ended up with their hands on the trophy but there was to be little doubt about the outcome of the 2017 final against Juventus. Madrid dismantled the Italian giants in Cardiff, despite Mario Mandzukic cancelling out Ronaldo’s opening goal. Further strikes from Casemiro, Ronaldo again and Marco Asensio ensured a resounding 4-1 win for the Spaniards.

And Los Merengues secured a hat-trick of victories 12 months later in Kyiv, with Gareth Bale the hero and Liverpool’s Lorius Karius very much the villain. The Reds goalkeeper gifted Karim Benzema and the Welsh winger Madrid’s first two goals, although the German was powerless to stop Bale’s magnificent overhead kick which sealed a 3-1 win and will go down in history as one of the competition’s best ever goals. Both Ronaldo and Zidane signed off in style, leaving the club soon after.

Vinícius scores the only goal in 2022 final between Real Madrid and Liverpool.
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Vinícius scores the only goal in 2022 final between Real Madrid and Liverpool. GONZALO FUENTESDiarioAS

Two-year drought

With Zidane gone, Madrid’s dominance of the competition slipped in 2019 and continued a year later, with the Frenchman back at the helm. He did lead the club back to the semi-finals in 2021 but saw his men beaten by a physically superior Chelsea side, who went on to lift the trophy.

Ancelotti and Champions League success return

The best was arguably yet to come, however. Ancelotti returned for his second spell in charge and masterminded a quite incredible journey to the 2022 final, which included legendary comebacks against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in each of the knockout rounds before the final, which Madrid won against Liverpool in Paris thanks to Vinícius Júnior’s solitary strike.

That was Real Madrid’s 14th victory in the Champions League and, with a place in the semi-finals now secured, would anyone bet against a 15th in Istanbul in June?


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