Madridistas — when it rains it pours. After two straight defeats to Barcelona in the Copa and Liga, a young Ajax side came to the Santiago Bernabéu and ended Real’s European reign of 1,010 days. It may seem like whiplash, but this day was coming. We feel sadness, anger, and confusion — but we must take this time to reflect, and yes, thank those who formed part of the third golden age in Club history.
I have been following the Club for 19 years. I remember the Vicente Del Bosque era followed by the transient seasons with six straight Champions League round-of-16 exits. La Décima was a decade-long pipe dream until Sergio’s monumental header in the 92:48 mark of the Lisbon Final. Cristiano’s heroic hat-trick against Wolfsburg, Karim’s dribble dash past Atlético, and Gareth’s bicycle kick in the Kiev Final are all moments that expanded our rich history of winning. All told, 25 players under the leadership of Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane contributed to four Champions League titles.
Over the past several months after the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, resentment grew exponentially from Madridistas towards the same players who won so much prior. While healthy scrutiny is expected, outright personal attacks are unbecoming, especially if they come from within our own universe. “Hell Week” was a total team failure to be sure, but we must not forget that most of these players are the same ones who brought us 14 titles within the past five seasons.
We are the toughest supporter-base in the sport because winning is what matters most. However, it was disconcerting to see fellow Madridistas whistle during the game, wave white handkerchiefs, and blast their harsh opinions of the team on television outside the gates. Even though this would not occur, a standing ovation would have been best to recognize what these players accomplished as well as debunk the false narrative that we do not appreciate our own.
These players carved their legacies into the Tour Bernabéu and are Club legends forever. As time passes, future generations will see videos of these players on the walls as I did when I saw the videos of the first Galáctico dynasty from the 1950s during my first visit to the Bernabéu in June 2000. Of course, Real Madrid’s board, led by Don Florentino, will immediately begin assessing the needs of the squad for next season and beyond.
Who knows what the future holds, but right now we should thank Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Nacho Fernandez, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Isco, Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema, and Gareth Bale for everything they have done for us, especially Marcelo and Sergio Ramos who played for 12 and 15 years respectively at Real Madrid.
As Harvey Dent in the film ‘The Dark Knight’ said: “The night is darkest just before the dawn. I promise you the dawn is coming.” We will rise again Madridistas. A big hug to all who traveled great distances to support the team in person against Ajax, especially Daniel Hidalgo from Peña 7 Blanco América in Costa Rica. Keep the faith in our Club, dear friends. ¡Hala Madrid y nada más!
- Christian Paredes (@Xian_D_Paredes) is a Founding Member and former Chairman (2012-2016) for La Peña Madridista Sur de California (@RmSurCalifornia)