Dashed dreams of La Decima: Real Madrid's 11 years of hurt in Europe

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2003/04 (Quarter-finals vs Monaco)

Score: Real Madrid 4-2 Monaco; Monaco 3-1 Real Madrid (5-5 on aggregate; Monaco win on away goals)
La Liga position: 4th
Any other business? A trophyless season was ensured when a David Villa-inspired Real Zaragoza beat Real 3-2 in the Copa del Rey final
A Zidane-inspired Real had edged out Bayern Munich in the last 16, and it was reasonable to expect more of the same when Didier Deschamps’ Monaco came to town. Real, now managed by Carlos Queiroz, went a goal down at the Bernabeu when Sebastien Squillaci (another lesson for the youngsters: he was one of Europe’s more reliable central defenders back then) bundled home just before the break. Ivan Helguera, assisted by a ponytailed David Beckham, scored a scrambled effort of his own – opening the floodgates for more goals from Zidane, Luis Figo and Ronaldo. At the time, nobody realised how important a late diving header from Morientes, finding his bearings in Monaco’s colours, would be.
That’s because they hadn’t bargained on a remarkable comeback from the hosts at the Stade Louis II. Raul clipped Real into a 5-2 aggregate lead 36 minutes in, Ludovic Giuly’s bobbling volley – after Morientes had headed back a deep Patrice Evra cross – only appearing to make matters slightly interesting. Another Evra delivery then saw Morientes, playing like a man possessed, leap to convert a superb header, and suddenly Monaco had 42 minutes to find a winner. Giuly delivered with a backheeled finish in the 66th minute, sparking a level of rapture hitherto unknown in the principality.