Yesterday, my wildest (and most terrifying) hopes and dreams for another Madrid derby Champions League final came true: Real Madrid beat Manchester City 1-0 in an incredibly uninspired semifinal at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu to advance to the final against cross-town rival Atlético de Madrid.
Is this real? Am I still sitting in a dreamlike stupor?
There’s something truly spectacular about the prospect of Real Madrid winning ~la undécima~ under Zinedine Zidane this year. It feels like just yesterday that we were drawing Sporting Gijón 0-0 in the opening fixture of La Liga, that we were getting absolutely throttled by Barcelona under the direction of now Newcastle great Rafa Benítez. I blamed Florentino Pérez for our perpetual state of crisis (not off the hook yet, Flo), and sat wallowing in my saddest tears when Atleti beat us by a 1-0 scoreline in the derby madrileño this past February, less than 24 hours after my birthday of all moments.
I think back to that fateful final day two years ago and still feel chills run down my spine when images of Sergio Ramos’ minuto 93 header blast through my brainspace. My dad – a diehard colchonero – angrily stormed away while tears of joy streamed down my face.
We’re taking this thing to extra time.
Garethcito, Marcelo, Cristiano ripping off his jersey in all his mediocre penalty kick glory past a totally exhausted and depleted Juanfran. I loved every damn second of it. While the world got behind Cholo and his colchoneros – making me and my nine-time European champion squad public enemy no. 1 – I sat in a drunken stupor witnessing the miraculous madness taking place before my very eyes. 4-1.
Cómo no te voy a querer si fuiste campeón de Europa por décima vez?
Now, in a season that seemed destined for disaster since day one, we have a chance to compete against Atleti and take the Spanish world tour to Milan. And while many look at the semifinal displays and see a team that can’t possibly lose in this Atleti side, I see a squad that will not let its rivals from the Manzanares walk away victorious in European play in my equipo madrileño. If the league is what you’re after – go for it – but la undécima is nuestra.
Cómo no te voy a querer si fuiste campeón de Europa por undecima vez?
I think I speak for many a madridista when I say that I’m both exhilarated and emotionally overwhelmed and not fully aware of the truth of the matter at hand: we’re really doing this thing. We’re really going up against Atleti round two.