Liverpool take on Real Madrid on Saturday night in a replay of the 2018 Champions League final that marked the beginning of the end of the Spanish era of dominance.
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Real Madrid’s celebrations had barely gone into the background when Cristiano Ronaldo assured that he would have the center of attention.
Unusual for Ronaldo, 2018 Champions League The final was a game that failed to be the big news. The 3-1 win in Kyiv is rightly remembered for Gareth Bale’s iconic bicycle kick and Loris Karius’ night to forget.
The Reds were already looking for the underdogs, with Los Blancos chasing an unprecedented third European Cup in the turn. And that was before Karius gifted Karim Benzema with a first goal and then failed to make a routine save from Bale in the closing stages.
Add Sergio Ramos’ infamous challenge to Mohamed Salah and Ronaldo was little more than an extra in a movie going on around him. All that changed just a few minutes after the final whistle in Ukraine However, the national stadium, when he put the wheels in motion for a departure from Madrid.
“It was very nice to play for real Madrid. In the next few days I will communicate my decision to the fans”, he told Spanish television as soon as he lifted the Champions League.
Naturally, in what should have been a night of celebration and bragging for the usually reserved Florentino Pérez, the Madrid president was forced to address speculation about the future of his star asset… and he didn’t take it well.
“Don’t ask me these things on a day like today,” Pérez snapped in the mixed zone. Everyone has the right to speak, but the most important thing here is the club, and we are all celebrating a Champions League.
“I don’t get into the personal things of a player. He has been happy, he is happy and he will continue to be happy. It’s not that he stays, it’s that he has a contract. Madrid is the most important thing, an institution with 13 European Cups”.
The win in Kyiv turned out to be the final act for that Madrid team, one that had become a history and record maker under Zinedine Zidane. And although Ronaldo tried to clarify his comments, the genie was firmly out of the bottle.
“I’m not saying I’m leaving, we’ll see in the next few days,” Ronaldo later admitted. “They took something out of context that I shouldn’t have said. I didn’t know it would be so strong. I prefer not to talk and enjoy this beautiful moment to the fullest.
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“I didn’t mean to say that, but I’m not sorry either. These are situations that have been going on for a long time and one endures, but sometimes control is lost. Money doesn’t fix things, I have that, that’s not a problem for me.
“I can’t guarantee that I’ll stay at Real Madrid, but this isn’t the time to talk, Madrid has made history, but I’m not going to hide either. It’s hard to be in a better place than Madrid, the best club.” in the world, but life isn’t just about glory.
Less than a week after confetti rained down on Kyiv, Madrid’s era of dominance was coming to an end. Zidane resigned five days after the final and, by the time the next season began, Ronaldo had kept his promise to him and left for juventus. Four years later Madrid has options to win Liverpool in a Champions League final again, but with no chance of Ronaldo stealing the show.