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How City Vs Real Became The New Biggest Rivalry In European Football, Leaving El Clasico And Manchester Derby In Shadows

Highlights:

  • Real Madrid and Manchester City form the new biggest rivalry in Europe.
  • 4.3 goals per game is the average when Los Blancos and City face each other.
  • They faced each other in 2nd leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals

Champions League: Real Madrid faced Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals with Los Blancos managing to get the better of City in a penalty shootout 4-3 and advancing to the semifinals.

Real Madrid will now face Bayern Munich on the 29h April.

Both City and Real Madrid have made their mark on the UCL so much so that football fans cannot think of this competition, for the past half a decade, without mentioning Real Madrid against Manchester City. Such is the nature of football that these matches with big names on the scoreboard bring to the field and so have these two teams.

In the last 5 years, these teams have been drawn four times for two-legged knockout ties.

Fans from around the globe look forward to Real Madrid Vs Manchester City and rightfully so. The game is laced with goals and keeps everyone on the edge of their seats. On average, 4.3 gaols are scored every game when they face each other showcasing of some of the finest talents in modern football, on the pitch and the sideline.

Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid manager said, “They have always been spectacular games. Tomorrow will be the same, a spectacular game and very entertaining,” on the eve of their latest meeting in Manchester.

Feeding off of the “old versus new” storyline there have been historical and ownership differences between the two clubs. Los Blancos are the traditional powerhouse of European football while City is regarded as the modern-day giants rising in recent times as the serious contenders for any Title may it be UCL or PL.

Real Madrid was founded in 1902 and is linked to the Spanish monarchy in the early 20th century, as a nation-state team. City, though older, founded in 1880 has been maligned for its UAE ownership, benefitting from ‘oil money’ and does not have as rich a history as Real Madrid who has won everything there is to win.

Real Madrid and Manchester City do not play against each other that often, especially since they both come from different leagues in Europe i.e. LaLiga and Premier League, but when they face each other the stakes are very high.

The rivalry has come as either of the teams lacks much competition at home, in Spain, El Clasico against Barca have turned into what can only be described as a “normal” match while in England, City’s recent success has raised them above their rivals Manchester United who have been struggling in the league for quite some time leaving the Manchester Derby not as thrilling as it used to be.

The two managers are also the ones who have been credited the most for upping the ante and making the matches the new biggest rivalry in European Football. When Pep Guardiola was managing Barcelona, Real Madrid vs Barcelona was at its peak, Carlo Ancelotti managed Real Madrid for a small stint at this time.

It is safe to say the two have evolved facing each other, learning from their mistakes and cancelling each other’s tactics over the years.

Round of 16, Year 2020

Real Madrid took advantage of City’s line-up which lacked a striker and took a 1-0 advantage from Isco’s goal, however, Pep changed his plan and brought on Raheem Sterling off the bench and asked him to play forward which helped Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus score goals in the second half and clench win for City.

In the second leg, which was played at Etihad with no audience due to COVID-19 restrictions, Manchester City won that match 2-1 again with Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scoring in 1st and 2nd half respectively, securing City’s place in the quarterfinals.

Semi-finals, Year 2022

Under Carlo Ancelotti, Los Blancos saw a reform as players like Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo got more playtime. The first leg of the semi-finals was studded with goals as City won the game with a final score of 4-3 with Kevin De Bruyne scoring a goal in the 3rd minute of the game.

Manchester City, in the second leg, went to Santiago Bernabéu with a 1-goal advantage, however, Manchester City’s dream of making it to the finals was swept away by Karim Benzema’s 95th-minute penalty goal as Real Madrid won the match 3-1 after the final whistle making the aggregate score 6-5.

Real Madrid’s manager said, “It is the history of this club”.

Pep Guardiola, City’s manager, said what he did after the 3-3 draw last week in Madrid, “It’s the Bernabeu, my friend. This game in the first one, two or three seasons, we would have lost 4-1 or 5-1. We were not stable emotionally. In these games, one of the key points is being stable emotionally. It’s fundamental.”

Los Blancos won the UEFA Champions League that season, defeating Liverpool 1-0.

Semi-finals, Year 2023

Learning from his mistakes of 2022, Pep Guardiola headed to Santiago Bernabéu with solid tactics and was content with a 1-1 draw. However, Real Madrid was not so lucky as they marched into Etihad.

Real Madrid conceded 2 goals in the first half both from Bernardo Silva. But Pep’s side was not done yet and Real Madrid’s misery was to go on. In the second half 2 more goals were scored by Manchester City coming from Manuel Akanji (76th minute) and Julián Álvarez (91st minute). Real Madrid’s hope to win another UEFA Champions League was shot down as they stared at the scoreboard 4-0 after the final whistle.

Ancelotti, after the humiliating show at Etihad, said, “We played without courage, without personality.”

Manchester City went on to win the UEFA Champions League defeating Inter Milan 1-0.

Quarterfinals, Year 2024

In the last 3 encounters between Manchester City and Real Madrid, the former has won twice while both teams won 1 UCL title each. In the current season of UCL they met again in the quarterfinals and Ancelotti was in no mood to taste defeat yet again and get thrown out of the UCL title race let alone from their new biggest rivals in Europe.

In the first leg, Manchester City marched to Santiago Bernabéu with exuding confidence having defeated Real Madrid the year prior and things were looking good as City took an early lead with Bernardo Silva’s goal in the 2nd minute of the play. Things, however, turned against City as Ruben Dias gave Real Madrid an equaliser by scoring an Own Goal in the 12th minute.

Los Blancos took advantage of the goof up and Rodrygo scored in the 14th minute giving a goal advantage.

As the second half started, City were behind by 1-goal, however, Phil Foden came to City’s rescue and scored a banger of a goal in the 66th minute. 5 minutes later Joško Gvardiol brought City back into the lead.

It was Federico Valverde in the 79th minute that levelled the scoreboard at 3-3 which stayed that way until the final whistle was blown by the referee.

UEFA A Licensed Coach David Garcia, while speaking to a leading newspaper, termed it as a teaser into the future of football. One that’ll require players who can score goals in less space and time.

Garcia said, “I believe that both teams and individual players will have to improve their ability to score from farther distances.

This will mean that teams cannot simply sit in with eight or nine players in the penalty area because they will have to step out to defend long shots.

“This is only logical. The teams have got better at defending spaces. Not to mention, how well prepared players are to cover larger spaces in a shorter time.

“All of this leads to teams defending the ‘golden zone’, the area of high percentage Expected Goals in the penalty area, more heavily”.

“The more they step out to defend, the more spaces there will be in the penalty area which means different scoring options. A cat-and-mouse game,” said Garcia.

Yesterday, Real Madrid visited Etihad after a great show at home hoping to level the UCL winning count against City with 2-2 and that they did.

After the game ended in a tie despite extra time with the score of 1-1, the game went to penalties. Every fan around the globe was on the edge of their seats, biting their nails and not moving a hair on their body.

Julián Álvarez scored the first penalty kick while Lika Modric failed to find the back of the net and fans thought it was the end of it. However, both Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic failed to get the ball past Lunin while Jude Bellingham and Lucas Vazquez scoring their respective penalty kicks.

Phil Foden and Ederson found the back of the net making 3/5 penalty kicks and Nacho from Real Madrid delivered on his penalty kick. It was all on Antonio Rudiger’s shoulders and he did not disappoint. Finding the back of the net Real Madrid ended City’s chances of winning the UEFA Champions League 2024. Real Madrid will now face Bayern Munich on the 29th of April at Allianz Arena hoping to keep the momentum going and take advantage of their soaring confidence, having defeated their new biggest rivals in European Football.

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Swastika Dubey
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