Real Madrid have managed to make it through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League following a 6-2 aggregate win over Liverpool.
The first leg at Anfield ended up 5-2 in favour of Carlo Ancelotti’s side and they followed that up with a 1-0 win in the second leg at Santiago Bernabeu, with Karim Benzema scoring the winner on the night.
It was a very open game, as was expected, with Liverpool needing to defeat Real Madrid by at least three goals. But both goalkeepers were on top form on the night and the 1-0 scoreline does not tell the entire story.
It will be interesting to see who Real Madrid end up drawing in the last 8, but Ancelotti’s side have to be considered as one of the favourites to win the competition from here. They just look like a different side under the bright lights of the Champions League.
On the other hand, the winless run of Virgil van Dijk against Real Madrid continued on the night. And the Liverpool hero was full of praise for Los Blancos after the game. As reported by the club’s official website, he said:
"I think you play against a team who never get fazed a little bit. Even when you put them under pressure, even if [they] have difficult moments, they try to stay calm and obviously they have the players, if you look at Modric, Benzema – they’re difference-makers and especially when they’re under pressure."
Real Madrid have certainly proven themselves to be a team that does not crumble under the pressure. In fact, they thrive under it.
They showed that time after time in their run to the Champions League last season. On numerous occasions, it looked like they were going to be knocked out of the tournament and yet, they ended up winning it all.
They have won the competition on 14 occasions. Twice as many as AC Milan, who are the second most successful team in the history of the competition, with 7 wins to their name. As a result, performing in pressure moments has become second nature to Real Madrid at this point. And that is one of the biggest reasons why they must be considered favourites to win it all again, despite of their questionable form in domestic competition and lack of squad depth.