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Early Champions League exit won’t undermine Real Madrid’s memorable season

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Overcoming Manchester City will be a tough task

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Real Madrid v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

In a few days, Real Madrid will be packing up and getting on a flight to England to prepare for their Champions League match against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, bringing with them a 1-2 deficit.

Unfortunately, given the scoreline and the absence of captain Sergio Ramos, Zinedine Zidane’s team doesn’t find themselves in the best of spots heading into their round-of-16 match at the Etihad Stadium.

But, whatever the outcome at the end of those 90 minutes on August 7, it is important not to undermine what has already become a history-making season for the club.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic halted sport across the globe, the 2019/20 season was already full of ups and downs for Real.

Their preseason campaign in the International Champions League didn’t spark any optimism after losing to Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid. What followed was a slow start to their LaLiga campaign dropping points in their second and third games, a tough exit in the Copa del Rey and then European problems against Paris Saint Germain and City came.

The positives, however, show a different type of Madrid. One full of grit, fierce competitiveness, and a determined, no-nonsense, winning mentality. The 2-0 win over Barcelona, Super Copa de España campaign and the last eleven games post-pandemic shared these characteristics.

At the end of it all, the team captured their 34th La Liga title, something they hadn’t achieved since 2017, and showed the type of squad that they are. So let’s not take the accomplishment for granted.

Losing the first-leg against City definitely doesn’t put Real Madrid in the drivers seat. But, given their performances since coming back from the break you never know what can happen. And that’s the beauty of football.

On the English side of things, Guardiola’s side have had strong appearances themselves since returning to the pitch. Like Zidane’s team though, they will also be missing a key player as Sergio Agüero has yet to recover from a knee injury.

Ramos and Agüero aside, both teams have an immense amount of depth in their squads and have ended their league campaigns with strong performances. This game is going to be intense and whether or not Real Madrid’s season continues afterwards, it’s still been one to remember.