They could land a historic 10th major European crown against Atletico Madrid on Saturday, but since Zinedine Zidane inspired the ninth in 2002 it's been all downhill for Los Blancos. Nick Ames picks apart the failed Champions League campaigns since...
2002/03 (Semi-finals vs Juventus)
Score: Real Madrid 2-1 Juventus; Juventus 3-1 Real Madrid (Juventus win 4-3 on aggregate)
La Liga position: 1st
Any other business? La Liga looked a little different back then – making up the rest of the top four were Real Sociedad, Deportivo La Coruna and Celta Vigo
This re-run of the 1998 final was still a fairly regulation clash of heavyweights in the early 2000s, Marcello Lippi’s Juventus still oozing pre-Calciopoli invincibility and defending champions Real seeing little reason to worry that a 10th title would be long in coming. That sense was heightened midway through the first half at the Bernabeu when Ronaldo (obligatory “we mean the old one, kids”) slid the ball home after a flowing move. Things were turned on their head just before the break when, seconds after the recalled Fernando Morientes – who hadn’t completed 90 minutes since the previous season’s Champions League final – had missed a sitter, David Trezeguet scored a vital away goal for Juve. Although Roberto Carlos drilled in a second-half winner, things were in the balance as a date in Turin approached.
Not for long. Juventus were brilliant in the second leg, with Alessandro Del Piero and Pavel Nedved each operating at the very top of his game. Trezeguet opened the scoring early on from the former’s knockdown, before Del Piero killed a high ball dead in the box, twisted this way and that, and made it two. In perhaps the tie’s crucial moment, Figo hit a tame second-half penalty at Gianluigi Buffon. Nedved subsequently ran clear to score a third and, although Zinedine Zidane made things interesting at the end, Vicente del Bosque’s side saw their crown slip. It was just a shame that Juventus and AC Milan proceeded to serve up 120 minutes of dirge in their all-Italian final.