THERE’S MORE NARRATIVES TO FOLLOW THAN SIMPLY WHO DID OR DIDN’T MAKE IT OUT OF THE GROUP STAGE. AS OLI COATES WRITES, HISTORY IS WAITING TO BE MADE…
Real Madrid may not be in top form this season, and that’s hardly a surprise after losing Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer. The Portuguese scored 105 goals in
101 Champions League appearances for Los Blancos, helping them to four titles in five years. Last season’s triumph completed a hat-trick for the Bernabeu outfit, making them the first team to win the Champions League three times in a row in its current format.
The last team to win the European Cup in its former guise in three successive seasons was Bayern Munich, who did so between 1974 and 1976 with the likes of Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller in the side. Ajax accomplished the feat in the three seasons prior to that, inspired by the legendary Johan Cruyff. This is the kind of company Real are already keeping with their current run, but they’re also going up against themselves in their quest to rewrite the record books.
Los Blancos won the first five iterations of the European Cup, with Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas among the names to lift the trophy between 1956 and 1960. Real Madrid are the only team to have won Europe’s premier club competition more than three times in a row. Whether the current crop of stars — which includes Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric — can make it four in a row, remains to be seen.