Having squeaked through to the last four of the Champions League, Real Madrid’s chances of breaking the holders’ curse just got bigger and there are reasons to believe Los Blancos really can set a precedent this season.
It’s a daunting task to defend the trophy with the big ears. It’s so ominous in fact that since it switched format from pure knockout football, into the Champions League we know and love today way back in 1992/93, not one side has managed it.
Despite the weight of history this long-running hoodoo can be lifted, which is great news for those who wish to back the Galacticos who are third favourites in the betting at 3/1, ahead of the all-important semi-final draw.
They have Carlo Ancelotti at the helm
The sophisticated Italian tactician is now synonymous with silverware wherever he has laid his hat in management.
In particular, he has cracked the enigma code in Europe’s top competition, firstly landing two titles as AC Milan coach and latterly quenching a 12-year long thirst by bringing the Champions League trophy back to the Bernabeu.
Ancelotti is also chasing personal history. Should the former Chelsea boss lift the cup, he will become the first manager to have done so on four separate occasions.
They are blessed with phenomenal players
OK, so even Pep Guardiola’s imperious Barcelona side couldn’t quite get over the line twice, but this is a squad containing the world’s official best and most expensive player for starters.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the fantasy player and Gareth Bale his understudy, but there are plenty of others who would make a world XI in many people’s eyes, not least Sergio Ramos at the back and Luka Modric in midfield.
The derby win over Atletico will galavanise the squad
The importance of Javier Hernandez’s last-gasp goal against bitter rivals Atletico cannot be underestimated, not least for the glaringly obvious.
However, at this late stage of the competition psychological boosts are like energy drinks to a marathon runner in the closing stages.
That 1-0 was the first win in seven attempts against their canny Madrid rivals and having buried that gnawing hatchet, the belief they can successfully defend their crown will have been strengthened as a direct consequence.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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