According to Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano, Carlo Ancelotti’s team “deserved to lose against PSG, Chelsea, Liverpool, and us” and that Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph last year was “a little bit lucky.”
Vinicius Jr.’s second-half goal helped Los Blancos defeat Liverpool 1-0 at the Stade de France in May, winning their 14th European Cup. The team had a wild ride through the competition, surviving some tight elimination games and completing three comeback victories in the last-16 and semifinals.
Karim Benzema, who has 15 goals to his credit, took Madrid to the championship and saved them from elimination against the majority of the teams mentioned by Soriano, who claims Real can count themselves fortunate to have won it.
Madrid defeated Soriano’s City team 6-5 in the semifinals; the LaLiga team scored twice in the second leg’s extra time to tie the game and then win it in overtime on a Benzema penalty.
Even though City lost to Chelsea in the 2021 championship game, they have long yearned to have the elusive trophy in their hands. However, according to Soriano, they do not ‘obsess’ on obtaining it.
‘Whoever wins the league is the best team in the league,’ Soriano said on the Dr. Football podcast, as reported by the Mirror. ‘We say internally, “the league is our bread and butter. This is what we do for a living: the league”.
‘The Champions League is a trophy that we want, but we know that it is subject to a bit of luck and we are not obsessed.
‘People talk today about the success that Madrid have had in recent years, and I think it would be fair to say that they were a bit lucky. Perhaps I could say that they deserved to lose against PSG, against Chelsea, against us or against Liverpool.’
Even the strongest teams in the world could lose out on Europe’s top award, he continued, as Madrid had much superior teams in years past without taking home the title.
‘People don’t remember that in the 80s and 90s [Real] had a fantastic team, one of the best in history, with [Emilio] Butragueno and La Quinta [Butragueno plus Sanchis, Rafael Martín Vazquez, Michel and Miguel Pardeza], and they could not win it,’ Soriano added.
‘Milan eliminated them every year. So they were somewhat lucky now, but they were also very unlucky for years.’
He added of City’s ongoing quest to win the Champions League: ‘We are patient, it is not an obsession, we will win it at the right time.’
In the first knockout round of the competition last season, Madrid nearly lost. Mauricio Pochettino’s team won the first leg 1-0 thanks to a goal from Kylian Mbappe, and the Frenchman made it 2-0 on aggregate in the second leg before Karim Benzema’s 17-minute hat-trick surprised the Parisiens.
In the following round, they faced Premier League team Chelsea, whom they defeated 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. However, in a tense second leg, Chelsea jumped out to a 3-0 lead to put itself in position to advance to the semifinals. However, Rodryo and Benzema once more scored to seal a 5-4 aggregate victory.
The next team to try to stop Madrid was Man City, and they got off to a fantastic start by defeating them in a thrilling 4-3 victory in the first leg at the Etihad.
Riyad Mahrez’s late goal in the second leg gave them a chance to beat Liverpool in the final, but Rodrygo scored twice and Benzema converted a penalty kick in overtime to break City’s hearts.
And in the final, Liverpool was all that stood between them and their 14th Champions League trophy, which they duly won when Vinicius Jr. stepped up to score a goal in the second half to cap off a 1-0 victory, in large part because of a series of amazing saves by Thibaut Courtois.