Rüdiger’s revenge, a player “with balls” to score Real Madrid’s decisive penalty

Antonio Rüdiger He had a debt with himself, with Manchester City, with Carlo Ancelotti. Last season, in this same Champions League tie that now the Real Madrid has overcome with the maximum of agonies, the German central defender put together a superb match in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabéu, drying up Erling Haaland, then completely unleashed as a scorer. But in the second leg…

Eder Militaosanctioned for the first leg, was already available for the Etihad match 11 months ago and Ancelotti opted for him, relegating Rüdiger to the bench That match, as we know, ended with a resounding 4-0 that led City to the final, which they would end up winning against Inter Milan. Depression for Real Madrid and the German center back’s monumental anger at his coach, who felt (rightly) that he had earned the credit for playing that game again.

Undisputed starter this season

The situation, a year later, is very different. Injured for almost the entire season both Military as Alaba, Rüdiger He has acquired the status of undisputed starter in the white defense. And not only because of the lack of competition, but because his performances have accredited him as one of Real Madrid’s best footballers in this most demanding course for him.

Against Manchester City, he once again had to deal with Haaland, both on the way out and back. There is no greater challenge in the world for a central defender than the one presented by the Norwegian striker. And yet, Rüdiger fulfilled both in Madrid and in Manchester, minimizing the best striker on the planet, the one who scores goals against all teams except against Real Madrid.

The penalty takers

So, when the decisive moment arrived, that of penalties, Carlo Ancelotti and his son and assistant, Davide, they set their eyes on him. Well, actually they didn’t at first glance. Davide He prepared the list of pitchers and it was clear that two of those chosen had to be Modric (the only one that failed) and Bellingham, two specialists. From there, he added to the list the good foot of Lucas Vazquez and the hierarchy and poise of Nacho y Valverde.

The Uruguayan, however, rejected the order. Own Ancelottiin an improvised mixed zone with some anger when seeing that Guardiola had beaten him to the press room (protocol dictates that the visiting coach speaks first), he explained that Valverde He told him that he was “very tired” after 120 minutes and that he did not feel with the confidence and energy necessary to take the last penalty of the shootout.

“A player with balls”

It was then that the Real Madrid coaching staff turned their gaze towards Rüdiger. There were other candidates who, a priori, could provide more security in technical execution, such as Brahim o Camavinga. “Antonio is a player with balls,” he argued. Davide in the mixed zone of the Etihad, in an unusual appearance before the media by Carlo’s son.

The decisive condition of the fifth penalty assigned to Rüdiger was fulfilled. Modric Madrid’s first missed, but later they missed Bernard Silva y Kovacic for City. If the German scored, Real Madrid would be in the semi-finals. And he did it with the confidence and poise of the most experienced of pitchers. Rematch completed.

2024-04-18 10:01:13
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