Real Madrid scrapped their way into a third consecutive Champions League final on Tuesday and coach Zinedine Zidane said he would not have wanted it any other way.
After their last-gasp win over Juventus in the quarterfinals, Real were left hanging on against Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu as Karim Benzema’s double secured a 2-2 draw and 4-3 win on aggregate.
When Joshua Kimmich gave Bayern an early 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 end, Real’s fans were begging for the fulltime whistle. The final will be played in Kiev, Ukraine on May 26.
Zidane, however, insists the grit his team have shown to overcome Paris Saint-Germain, Juve, and now Bayern, should not be underestimated.
“In football, you have to suffer,” Zidane said. “You cannot be in the final without suffering; it’s even better, more beautiful when you win like that.
“Madrid never gives up. It is the same in adversity, we believe in 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.
‘Pitso brought excitement at Downs’
Daniel Mudau has hailed Pitso Mosimane for turning Mamelodi Sundowns into a dominant force in South African football since taking over the reins in 2012.
Pitso led the club to their third Premiership trophy under his mentorship, on Sunday and has also the CAF Champions League.
The Brazilians on Sunday beat Ajax Cape Town 3-1 to clinch a record eighth Premiership title.
Mudau said: “We are the champions for the eighth time and only Sundowns can do that.
“We are saying to Pitso, you know what, you have brought us success and happiness to be the best team in South Africa.
“I do not know what to say talking about the beautiful football that the club is playing under him and the winning mentality he has installed in the players.
“I also want to thank the supporters for being behind the team through the good and bad days.”