Zinedine Zidane said the Champions League is “in Real Madrid’s DNA” after his side hung to deny Bayern Munich and move within their fourth final in five years. Real earned the opportunity to win their third Champions League in a line after Karim Benzema’s double strike and desperate last-minute defending gave them a 2-2 draw on the night and a 4-3 victory over both legs of the semi-final. Real have already seen bitter rivals Barcelona win the Spanish league this year, but Zidane said Europe’s premier competition always brings the very best out of his club, who’ve won it 12 times.
“It’s in the DNA of the club. We never stop fighting as much as the very last second, just while the Bayern players did tonight.”
Zidane said Benzema had significantly more than earned his chance to start the match following the French striker was only a replacement in the first leg in Munich.
“He deserved to score, he spent some time working hard and he hasn’t given anything less than his all.
“His game is definitely the same and he is always essential for us. It was essential for him he scored tonight as well.”
When Joshua Kimmich gave Bayern an early on lead and James Rodriguez levelled with 27 minutes remaining, Real looked in danger of surrendering their 2-1 advantage from the first leg.
By the conclusion, Real’s fans were begging for the full-time whistle and if it’s to be Liverpool in the final in Kiev, Jurgen Klopp’s men can take heart.
Zidane, however, insists the grit his team have shown to overcome Paris Saint-Germain, Juve, and now Bayern, shouldn’t be underestimated.
“In football, you have to suffer,” Zidane said. “You can’t be in the final without suffering, it’s better yet, more beautiful when you win like that.
“Madrid never gives up. It’s the same in adversity, we rely on what we do and we get things done by believing in ourselves and fighting.”
Real, and Zidane, are now on the brink of a third consecutive Champions League triumph, and 13th overall in Europe’s premier tournament.
If it be Liverpool or Roma they face in Kiev, Los Blancos will be strong favourites to lift the title.
“We’re only in the final,” Zidane said. “You can be happy, you need to be, it’s not normal to stay the final for the third consecutive time.
“Nevertheless now that individuals are, what we have to do is attempt to win. We will fight to guard our title.”