In the build-up to Real Madrid’s do-or-die Champions League semi-final clash vs Manchester City tonight, Real Madrid’s official account put out a nice montage of big Champions League semi-final goals in the past at the Bernabeu. I loved it, and wanted to add to the hype by providing brief context in every goal in that video because they all brought back good memories and sparked some nostalgia.
Every single one of these goals led to Real Madrid winning the trophy later:
Karim Benzema vs Bayern Munich (x2), 2018
Real Madrid drew 2 - 2 at home vs Bayern Munich in the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals, which was enough to take them through to the final 4 - 3 on aggregate. With Real up by a goal on aggregate, Marcelo’s perfect cross found Karim Benzema who took advantage of poor defending from David Alaba at the far post. Later, the Frenchman took advantage of a mistake from goalkeeper Sven Ulreich for his second.
Raul Gonzalez vs Barcelona, 2002
Real Madrid beat Barcelona 0 - 2 at the Camp Nou in the first leg, and opened the scoring through a Raul Gonzalez lazer from outside the box in the second leg, which saw them advance 3 - 1 on aggregate. Just before the goal, Zidane and Raul combined brilliantly to dispossess Xavi of the ball.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Atletico Madrid (x3), 2017
In the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals, Real Madrid blitzed Diego Simeone’s men with an emphatic 3 - 0 scoreline behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick. It was one of the greatest individual performances in Real Madrid history. The team later advanced to the final, 4 - 2 on aggregate.
Nicolas Anelka and Michel Salgado vs Bayern Munich, 2000
Real Madrid were underdogs against Bayern in 2000, but that never matters for this club. Nicolas Anelka — who had a poor season leading up to this — woke up from his slumber and scored an early goal, while Salgado forced an own goal later. Real Madrid won the game 2 - 0 and advanced to the final on aggregate.
Gareth Bale vs Manchester City, 2016
Over two legs, Real Madrid just needed one goal to advance past City in 2016 and march to the final. This was credited as an own goal, but Gareth Bale is the one who will be behind the highlight package after his shot from a tight angle found the back of the net.
Karim Benzema vs Bayern Munich, 2014
Ah, the Decima year! Fabulous build-up from Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao, and King Karim is at the far post to finish it off. Real Madrid advanced 5 - 0 on aggregate.
Fernando Morientes and Christian Karembeu vs Borussia Dortmund, 1998
Real Madrid drew 0 - 0 away from home in the first leg before coming back to the Bernabeu to defeat the Germans 2 - 0 behind goals from Morientes and Karembeu. It’s fun to revisit this one if you have time, just to see Roberto Carlos and Fernando Redondo do incredible things.
If you’re interested in a quick deep dive on Real Madrid history with me, a while ago, I put together a compilation of my favourite Real Madrid memories since 1999 here.