2009/10 (Round of 16 vs Lyon)
Score: Lyon 1-0 Real Madrid; Real Madrid 1-1 Lyon (Lyon win 2-1 on aggregate)
La Liga position: 2nd
Any other business? Real finished three points behind Barca in the league, and Pellegrini was sacked when the availability of a certain Jose Mourinho became apparent.
The beleaguered Ramos’s inevitable exit gave Manuel Pellegrini, who had moulded a delightful Villarreal side, his few months in the sun. Cristiano Ronaldo had been the biggest pre-season arrival, though, joined by Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso. New personnel, same frustrations however. Lyon, a team whose star was soon to wane, looked beatable but dominated matters at the Stade Gerland. Jean Makoun put them in front with a sublime long-rang goal shortly after the interval and, all things considered, the impression was that Real hadn’t come out too badly with a one-goal deficit.
Real’s eventual elimination was one of their more dramatic. Ronaldo put them in front early on, running through the inside-left channel to slot past Hugo Lloris, and they banged on the door after that; Higuain struck the post when clear and was superbly denied by the Lyon keeper shortly afterwards. As the second half wore, things began to ebb slightly – the realisation perhaps dawning that the tie remained very much in the balance. The visitors scented blood for the first time: a rapid-fire piece of interplay in the Real penalty area ended at the feet of Miralem Pjanic who, with 15 minutes to play, scored a goal that was worth two. It was an outcome that had seemed unthinkable an hour or so previously.